@ Michael---I don't know that one can know for certainty, but that doesn't mean it's not a high probability. EG I lifted weights this AM: I likely will get stronger.
When I went into those deals, professionally bonded with the parties and created a spirit of cooperation and open dialogue, skillfully agreed and counter-closed, interspersed the dialogue with anecdotes that humanized the buyers and got the sellers to see that the buyers weren't bad people for not seeing exactly eye to eye on price. Conversely, I was able to tell the seller's story to the buyer, getting deals done that couldn't be done, otherwise. Occasionally, a really sharp listing agent would ask to present the counter to the buyer. I was a TOP producer on the west side of Los Angeles, and did a lot of volume this way. Often at closings, the buyers and sellers would chat happily about each other's LIVES that the transaction was helping the next phase of. There's nothing better than deals that foster relationships. As a top 2% in the US mortgage loan officer since 1992 in middle TN, I use the same relationship based selling. It's fostered a LOT of friendships and recurring transactions as we share not only deals, but lives together.
It's completely elective and the choice of the lender.
When I was an agent in the 80s, I didn't present an offer unless I could present it in person. I wanted to tell the buyer's story, present them in the most human light possible. Of course, I was respectful, but, I was their advocate not only for the money, but as people. I got a LOT of deals done as I humanized the transaction.
Certain markets, like my Nashville area, get the estimated appraisal money up front.
If you haven't used the trap in awhile, it may have dried out, especially during winter time when things are so dry. It's the water in the trap to prevent sewer gases, so this makes sense.