The three real estate boards in the BC Lower Mainland -- the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), and Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) -- have approved a change regarding the disclosure of multiple offers.

Beginning July 17, the listing realtor in those regions of BC will be required to complete a Disclosure of Multiple Offers Presented (DMOP) form before they present any offer in a situation where there are multiple offers.

The three real estate boards have not publicly announced the change, but have sent out updates to their members, one of which was obtained by STOREYS. Public announcements are expected in the coming days.

According to the member update, the new DMOP form will list all of the competing offers received, the dates of the offer, and the names of the submitting brokerages.

The listing realtor and the seller will both be required to sign the form after a decision has been made on all offers, before the listing realtor then provides the form to any buyer who submits an offer and their agent. The listing realtor must do this "no later than one calendar day after the seller has decided on all the presented offers," the member update says.

The DMOP form will be available in the WEBForms portal on Thursday, July 13, before the new rule comes into effect on Monday, July 17.

Currently, situations involving multiple offers are guided primarily on good faith.

"How it works today is buyers are basically flying blind," says Vancouver-based realtor Hasan Juma of Oakwyn Realty. "A buyer's agent will call the listing agent to find out how many offers have been submitted, and they're taking the listing agent's word for it."

Disputes regarding multiple offers are handled between the agents -- and sometimes a brokerage's managing broker -- but oftentimes buyers who lose out on a property just move on, adds Kevin O'Toole, Managing Broker for Sotheby's International Realty in Vancouver.

REBGV says that situations involving multiple offers are increasing as a result of limited supply, and that "buyers are getting frustrated with the home buying and selling process." The aim of the new rule, then, is to "increase buyers' confidence in the process by demonstrating that their offers are always being presented and considered by the seller."

"This new form will provide verifiable evidence to the home buying public that every offer is fairly presented and considered in the process," said REBGV CEO Jeff King in the member update. "This will help alleviate potential misconceptions or misunderstandings that we have all seen show up in social and mainstream media during heated markets cycles like we saw in the pandemic."

"It's really not a huge deal, from a practical point of view, for any agents, but it does provide transparency to the buyer," adds O'Toole. "Realistically, I don't think it's a big deal, and they're trying to improve transparency in multiple offer situations, and I think it's a good thing."

REBGV also notes that the committee that developed the change "recognized the importance of maintaining a seller's right to privacy within the negotiation process." As such, listing realtors are not required to disclose the offer price, conditions, or reason why the offer was accepted or rejected.

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"This change is the result of considerable research and discussion by a committee of brokers and Realtors over the past few years," REBGV said. "The intent behind this rule is to allow for greater transparency in multiple offer situations and to give buyers whose offers were not accepted comfort that listing realtors and their clients review and consider all offers."

As to what happens if realtors fail to fill out the form or fail to properly disclose offers, Juma says that consequences and penalties have yet to be revealed, but that he wouldn't be surprised if the boards introduced a formal process detailing how to settle disputes regarding disclosure discrepancies.

According to the member update, more information and details will be released in the coming weeks.