Question of the week:

My realtor refuses to put in a bid. What gives?

We have all noticed homes that have been sitting on the market for months. This particular one for a year. I love the house but it is priced outside of my budget. My realtor is refusing to put a bid 50k under asking. Why would this be? I can not afford full asking so I understand the possibility of not getting it. Why would an agent be against trying? Too much effort?

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Nick's Response

I’ll add to what u/Siblingsinthecity correctly mentioned and say that your Realtor (assuming you’re being represented under a Signed Buyer Representation Agreement, OREA form 300) has a duty to follow your lawful instructions.


In this case, assuming that there are no facts missing, this would mean that your Realtor should go ahead and draft and submit an offer at your price and terms. Given that the home has been on the market for a year (suggesting it is overpriced) and the benchmark price for detached homes last month was $708,500, an offer $50K under asking doesn’t seem out of line.


My recommendation is to ask your Realtor why they don’t want to submit an offer at your price and terms. If the reason is that they think the Seller or their Realtor will be insulted, I don’t think that those are sufficient not to proceed.


Two documents that you may find helpful are the RECO Information Guideand the CREA REALTOR Code of Ethics. Section 3 of the code mentions duty to follow lawful instruction and act as a fiduciary for a client. The information guide is a great overall explanation of working with a Realtor under present rules.

One last comment that I’ll add is that sometimes I do tell clients that their offer as a Buyer (or expectation as a Seller) is unrealistic to the current market, and have even been very blunt to clients that I have a strong relationship with (and who have a personality that appreciates directness). From what you’ve described, your expectations don’t seem to be wildly out of line with the market so I’ll venture that it’s not the same case here.


u/Fantastic_Drive513, please let us know how it turns out. It’s particularly interesting because it’s local.


Source: I’m a Realtor here in Ottawa.

3 Times when you can get a lowball offer accepted.


When the property has been listed for a long time – This varies depending upon the location, type of home and whether it’s a balanced, buyer’s or seller’s market. Generally speaking, if a home has been on the market for double the average number of days for that part of the city or home type, you can reasonably expect to negotiate for more. 


When the home isn’t one in a million, it’s one OF a million – At any given time in Orleans, there are probably 50-100 three-bedroom townhomes for sale. If one of them has been on the market for longer than the average, it’s because it IS average and not standing out. You’ll likely have more leverage with a Seller of one of these homes. On the flip side, that’s why it’s so crucial as a Seller to prepare your home to stand out among the crowd.


When the Seller is motivated by outside reasons – I don’t believe it’s right for a Buyer to take advantage of a distressed Seller (see my post about Wholesalers), but there are times where a savvy Buyer can have a little extra leverage on price when they can work with a Seller who needs to move by a certain date (relocations, for example) or simply wants to move on (divorce or separation). 

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