I may have an unpopular viewpoint on this. But multiple offer markets tend to bring out some practices that may complicate transactions and create a lot of chaos.
Offer deadline dates. There are pros and cons to this. People at least know how long they have to show the property or when they need to write and submit. However, the agent usually has no idea how many offers there will ultimately be, and is often inundated with them. What is wrong with accepting offers as they come in, and just presenting them to the seller? Agents and buyers know that there are multiple offers out there and are apt to write a strong one right from the get-go.
Specific lender Pre-approval requirements. I understand that on a bank owned property but don't see the need for it on regular sales. Pre-approval letters need to mean something, and if the offer is good and the listing agent has questions, then by all means call the lender and verify. That's a good practice any time. If the buyer has chosen a lender, they are often reluctant to give someone they don't know all of their personal financial information. Is the seller making this mandate?
As-Is language in the counter offers. All contracts in California are as-is. Putting this language into a counter doesn't mean that the buyer will stick it out with an over-asking price offer on a house with lots of expensive damage that wasn't visible or disclosed. Sometimes listing agents act surprised when a request for repair is forthcoming. It is still the buyer's right to ask, and the seller's right to say no. But will those back-up buyers want to match this highest and best offer when they learn about expensive property deficiencies?
Risky Business. This type of market brings out other risky elements, such as no contingency offers. This is rarely a good idea and the California Residential Purchase Agreement is filled with language advising buyers to keep them in place. Yet seller's agents often issue counters to buyers with such requirements.
The sellers are exhausted. They are pretty over-whelmed by the multiple-offer review process. Many express the emotions of stress, anxiety and indecision. Then even feel guilt at all of the nice folks they have to turn away.Some of them are dealing with the pressures of writing offers to find a replacement home and are dealing with multiples offers on the buy side as well.
A multiple offer market is hard, but as agents on either side of the equation, there are things we can do to minimize the chaos. I suggest we try our best to do so, for everyone's benefit.