Can Real Estate Agents Disclose Offers?

Understanding the dynamics of real estate transactions can be complex, especially when it comes to the disclosure of offers. In South Australia, the rules and practices surrounding this aspect can significantly impact both buyers and sellers. This article delves into whether real estate agents can disclose offers, the legal framework, ethical considerations, and practical implications for those involved in the property market. The answer to this question is generally no—real estate agents cannot disclose offers unless they have been officially rejected by the vendor.

Understanding the Rules and Regulations

Legal Framework

The ability of real estate agents to disclose offers is governed by specific legislation in South Australia. The Real Estate and Business Agents Act outlines the legal requirements and restrictions placed on agents in this regard. According to this Act, agents must adhere to strict guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in the property market. Specifically, agents are prohibited from disclosing offers unless the offers have been officially rejected by the vendor.

Agency Guidelines

The Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) provides additional guidelines for real estate agents. These guidelines help agents navigate the complexities of offer disclosures while maintaining ethical standards. The REISA Code of Conduct stipulates that agents must act in the best interest of their clients, which includes careful consideration of when and how to disclose offers. Agents are only permitted to disclose offers that have been formally rejected by the vendor.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Disclosing Offers

Pros of Disclosure


Disclosing offers can promote transparency in the real estate market. When buyers know the offers on the table, it can create a more open and honest negotiation process. Transparency can build trust between buyers, sellers, and agents, leading to smoother transactions. However, this transparency is only allowed after offers have been rejected by the vendor.

Competitive Bidding

One of the main advantages of disclosing rejected offers is that it can encourage competitive bidding among buyers. When buyers are aware of the prices that have been rejected, they may be more inclined to increase their bids, potentially driving up the final sale price. This competitive environment can benefit sellers by maximizing their returns.

Cons of Disclosure

Privacy Concerns

Disclosing offers can raise privacy concerns for both buyers and sellers. Buyers may not want their offers to be made public, fearing that it could compromise their negotiation position. Similarly, sellers might be concerned about the exposure of their financial expectations and strategy.

Market Manipulation

There is a risk of market manipulation when offers are disclosed. Unscrupulous agents or buyers might use disclosed offers to manipulate the market, creating an unfair advantage or misleading other parties involved in the transaction. Ensuring ethical conduct is paramount to prevent such scenarios.

Real Estate Agents’ Ethical Considerations

Ethical Guidelines

Code of Conduct

The REISA Code of Conduct provides a framework for ethical practices in the real estate industry. It emphasizes the importance of honesty, integrity, and transparency in all dealings. Agents are required to disclose relevant information to their clients while protecting their interests. However, this disclosure is limited to offers that have been officially rejected by the vendor.

Agent Responsibilities

Real estate agents have a responsibility to act in the best interest of their clients. This includes making informed decisions about when and how to disclose offers. Agents must balance the need for transparency with the obligation to maintain confidentiality and protect their clients’ competitive advantage.

Practical Scenarios in South Australia

Case Studies

Seller’s Perspective

Consider a scenario where a seller receives multiple offers on their property. Disclosing these offers can create a competitive environment, potentially leading to higher bids. However, the seller must weigh the benefits of transparency against the risk of alienating potential buyers who may be uncomfortable with public bidding. It’s important to note that only offers that have been officially rejected can be disclosed.

Buyer’s Perspective

From a buyer’s perspective, knowing the offers on the table can be advantageous. It allows them to gauge the competition and adjust their bids accordingly. However, buyers must be prepared for the possibility of entering a bidding war, which can drive up the final purchase price. Again, this information is only available if the offers have been rejected by the vendor.

Best Practices for Sellers and Buyers

For Sellers

Negotiation Strategies

Sellers should work closely with their agents to develop effective negotiation strategies. This includes deciding whether to disclose rejected offers and how to present them to potential buyers. A well-thought-out strategy can enhance the seller’s position and maximize the property’s value.

Agent Selection

Choosing the right real estate agent is crucial. Sellers should look for agents who adhere to ethical practices and have a track record of successful transactions. A reputable agent will provide valuable guidance on the implications of disclosing rejected offers and help navigate the complexities of the market.

For Buyers

Bidding Strategies

Buyers need to develop smart bidding strategies to stay competitive in a market where offers may be disclosed. This includes setting a budget, understanding market trends, and being prepared to adjust bids in response to competing offers.

Due Diligence

Conducting thorough due diligence is essential for buyers. They should research the property, understand its market value, and assess the implications of disclosed offers. Working with a knowledgeable agent can provide valuable insights and support throughout the buying process.


In conclusion, whether real estate agents can disclose offers is a nuanced issue with significant implications for buyers and sellers in South Australia. The general rule is that agents cannot disclose offers unless they have been officially rejected by the vendor. Understanding the legal framework, ethical considerations, and practical scenarios is crucial for making informed decisions. By working with reputable agents and adopting effective strategies, both buyers and sellers can navigate the complexities of the real estate market with confidence.


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