Do estate agents always have someone else who is interested?

Three weeks ago I went to look at a property, which has been reduced substantially. When I met the estate agent, she told me that they already had an offer in for €5,000 more than the original price. Then I spoke to her colleague later in the week, and he informed me that they had an offer for €5,000 less than the new price.

Today I spoke to another estate agent about a different property. The first thing he told me was that they had received an offer, but they haven’t received a deposit, so I better act fast.

Do these offers actually exist, or is this part of their negotiation strategy?

Probably not. However it depends on the Estate Agent.

That sounds like gamesmanship to me. Very similar to an experience I had last year where all interested parties amazingly vanished after I left them with an offer and went on about my business.

The best thing is to make your own offer if you’re serious, and leave it with them.

With houses you’ll know if there is interest, as there’s a bit of a buzz about it here or elsewhere. But unless you see constant footfall in and out of the place or chatter about it I would err on the side of prudence. The last thing you want is to be the only one in an artificial bidding war.

I had the same disappearing interesting parties experience when I was an under bidder last year.

EA calls and says the other bidder(s) had second thoughts and Im very lucky as I had the next highest bid. With the disapearance of the other bidders I revised my bid down since I didnt know whether I was being played by the EA and the negotiation seemed a bit wierd with the other bidders falling away. My revised bid was refused and that house is still on some 5-6 months later.

Agree with Conor. Decide on your own offer/max etc and then stick to it.

There are plenty of “phantom” bidders but no point 2nd guessing the EAs - cos you really don’t know when they’re telling the truth. I made that mistake once and missed out on a house I could have upped my bid on but I thought the EA was playing me. From now on I take what they say as the truth and go with my own limits.

Classic question on this forum. Is Mr P.Hantom real ? Sometimes. There will always be a bid close to the asking though. Look back there are many, many posts.

The good news is that when the new NPSRA regulations are signed into law you can look for proof of a second bidder.
When is the commencement order?

Really? What form does that take - obviously they can’t provide any information on the person as that would contravene data protection so I wonder how they show you there is another bidder.

In practice I do not know how it works, however the recent article in the irish times indicated that this would happen,

When I sold my house, we accepted an offer from the buyer. This was the only offer we’d seen or heard of for weeks. We agreed the price and waited (legals etc) for the buy-side work to be done.

We were waiting about two weeks when the Buyer’s solicitor rang my solicitor to ask that the estate agent stop hassling the buyer. Apparently estate agent was telling buyer to hurry up, otherwise the seller (i.e Me) had another potential buyer which we intended to sell to. We didn’t. We didn’t even know that more than one person was taking the house seriously. It was pure E.A. nonsense. Found it amusing however as it was a case of P.Hantom in my own house, and I didn’t even realise it (Spooky)

I’ve told this story on the Pin before but there are also times when a legitimate bid is ignored.

I know of a case where a buyer had their bid turned down and subsequently found out (because the seller was a friend of a friend) that the property was sold at a lower price many months later. It turned out the EA was trying to get three properties in a chain lined up and didn’t want a higher bid coming in and spoiling his juicy commission on all three.

Perhaps the answer to this and the Mr P.Hantom problem is to back up your bid with a note through the vendors door.

Interesting. I naively imagined the EA had to pass on all bids, no matter how much. But I can imagine an EA not passing on low bids, which would piss me off as a seller, as I’d like to know of all interested parties.

Can’t see the harm really in putting a note in the door, esp. if offering a low price which the EA may ignore and not pass on. Seller could then tell EA to ring you up and see what your best offer is.

The first one strikes me as a phantom bid, since the colleagues differed on the ‘bid’ received, despite it being less than a week apart.

The second could be real. Received an offer is vague. Could have been a crazy low offer or a reasonable one.

As mentioned already, perhaps treat all others bids as real, but do not let that influence the bid you make. Simply note it and only offer your max.


My own exeriance has been varied.

1st time, I think I was the victim of a phantom bid. EA rang back a week later saying the other bidder pulled out and the house is mine.

2nd time, the house was sold to the other higher bidder, obviously real.

As others have said, all you can do is stick to a price. You know the EA will bid you up to it anyway, phantom bidders or not.

Another approach might be to let it go sale agreed and then stick in a higher offer??!

Interesting, its the first actual incidence of Phantom bids I’ve come across on the site, despite many many threads talking about them.

The problem is the feeling that you can’t trust any EA is so strong, that I always assume they are lying. I told an EA I had cash and asked whether there were any offers on the property. His reaction was funny -his eyes lit up, and then it was if he was struggling because he didn’t have a story prepared, he said no. Two hours later, a phone call telling me an offer had come in, but had been rejected. It just so happened that the offer was exactly where I thought I might bid, and I told him so. His response was to tell me to hurry up and get a bid in.

I assumed he was lying, and decided to wait the situation out. I might have gone an extra 10k. But, it sold a few weeks later, with no further involvement from me.

So, the moral of the story is, as an earlier poster said, just decide what you’re prepared to pay, and stick to that. In retrospect, I should have just put in an offer at my initial price, and not made any assumption about the EA.

I was looking at a commercial property last year and the EA immediately told me that there was an offer on the property of X and nothing under that would be entertained. Grand so, I said, good luck with that.

Six months later, the property is still there. I’m tempted to ring up again and ask him how his offer is doing.

I wonder do we hype up EA’s more than they deserve.

Very often they are young guys a few years out of college who dont really know what they are at. Trying to work out ‘what is going on inside the mind of the EA’ may be giving them more credit than they deserve.

I thought the exact same thing. Anyone ever tried it?

One problem may be in ascertaining the current sale agreed price.
i.e. You ring EA trying to make offer. He says it’s sale agreed. You ask how much? EA says amount higher than really agreed. You bid more.

Trick here is to not get sucked in. Unless you really really want to offer that much, leave well enough alone.

I would have moral issues with that tactic, tbh.