Multiple offers – What goes on behind the scene.

What goes on behind the scene during multiple offers is a lot like synchronized swimming. Everything appears smooth but beneath the surface, there is a lot of frenzied activity.

Whenever there have been multiple showings, the listing agent has to make a list of all those who are interested so s/he can keep them in the loop, i.e. inform them when an offer has been made and what the irrevocable period  is, so that their clients can decide if they wish to compete.

In my most recent multiple offer situation, there were 31 showings over a five day period. I looked up the contact info for all the agents who’d been through, and sent each an email, to ask if they wanted to be kept in the loop. 24 said yes, so I knew I was going to be busy.

Over the course of that weekend, if I got a question from an agent that I thought might be important to other agents, I shared the answer with all of them. I also let all of them know what needed to go in the offer (in this case, it was an estate) in terms of special clauses, and also what the timelines were for presentation and review by my clients.

When the first offer came in Monday morning, I sent  emails to all those agents who had asked to be informed as well as those who hadn’t gotten back to me, just in case their clients were interested too.

Murphy’s Law applies to real estate just as much as any other endeavour. The second offer  didn’t show up in my inbox.  I only found out there was one when the agent who’d sent it contacted me to ask if I had received it. When I tried to access the Royal LePage email account he’d sent it to, it didn’t recognize my password. I was on hold with IT in Toronto for about a half hour on my land-line, trying to fix that problem, with my cellphone firmly attached like a limpet to my other ear, fielding a steady stream of inquiries from other agents.

I was finally able to get the access problem fixed, but still couldn’t find the offer right away (it had been caught in a spam filter.) Then when I attempted to print it off  only one half of one side of the page would print, as if a line had been drawn down the centre. So I had to forward the email to the staff at Royal LePage and ask them to scan the documents and send them back to me, so I could open them; all the while, communicating with the agent to let him know that yes, thanks I had his offer, and I was in the process of printing it off.

When the second offer came in, I once again notified all the agents. I also sent individual agents emails or called them to see if they still wanted to be kept informed and if they didn’t want to be, I took them off the list.

A third offer arrived almost simultaneously with a fourth: once again, I sent around a round of notifications. Then a fifth, sixth, and seventh offer arrived. Meanwhile, I was updating my clients and trying to firm up a time when we could meet.

When I sent around the next batch of notifications, I let the agents know the schedule. Later that night, I received an improved offer and sent another notification around to everyone then too.

Because I had so many offers to keep track of, I prepared a table that contained each agent and buyer’s name, the amount of the offer, the deposit, any conditions that applied, and the closing date. The following day when I met with my clients (the executors), we went through each offer carefully, in the same order I’d received them, and then set aside the best offer to deal with later.

Every declined offer was marked as declined and signed and dated with the time I had discussed it with the executors so I could prove the offer had been presented. We then signed up the accepted offer and supporting documents, made copies for everyone, and I came back to the office to notify the successful and unsuccessful agents of the outcome. I sent each one whose client wasn’t successful a scanned copy of the cover sheet that indicated their offer had been presented and when.  (That alone took almost two hours.)

There were some pretty disappointed people that day and  I am mindful of the fact that it doesn’t feel good to be the unsuccessful buyer. I made a point of calling every agent personally to convey the news and thank them for their interest, and let them know how much I appreciated their hard work on behalf of their clients.

Each unaccepted offer has to be scanned and uploaded into Faltour, our Royal LePage database, in case someone wants to confirm the number of offers. There’s always a concern that someone may claim they have multiple offers when they don’t, so I agree with that step, it’s simply time consuming to do. If an offer arrived in five parts, it had to be rescanned as one document, which again can take time. The Faltour system wasn’t happy with me that day — it kept rejecting the uploads and giving me weird error messages. Once again, I had to ask the staff to try on their end before we could make it work.

The sale also has to be entered into the MLS system with information concerning the selling agent (that’s the agent who brought the successful buyer), the firm price and date, and the closing date.

The accepted offer then also has to be loaded into Faltour. Individual components (Agreement, Schedules, Confirmation of Cooperation) have to be scanned and uploaded separately. Faltour also wants to know the MLS listing number, legal description, conditions/details, name of the lawyers, names of buyer/seller, selling agent and a whole pile of other details; once again, that takes time.

At the end of the multiple offer process, I would guess that I had put in close to 40 hours just  between Friday and Tuesday, stick-handling inquiries, responding to requests for showings, and engaging in the process I’ve described. I certainly didn’t move far from my laptop or phone; I ate over the computer, and kept my cellphone handy at all times.

As one of the executors said, and this was just from seeing the updates I’d sent around to her from time to time, she had no idea there was so much work involved!

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