Behind The Scenes with Multiple Offers

Everyone is talking about multiple offers, but what actually happens on offer night? What’s the process like? How long does it take? How does it work? What should you expect?

From the moment you see the home, to the moment you get the news from your agent that you’ve won or lost, here’s a peek behind the scenes of an offer night from the perspective of the buyer:

Offer registration

This is the first step taken by your agent on a multiple offer night. Every buyer’s agent must first register their offer with the listing agent’s office before the deadline. For example: “offers will be presented on March 3rd, at 7pm. Please register by 5pm”.

During the day on offer day, buyer agents will begin registering offers through the listing office. This consists of calling the listing office to “register” that they’ll be one of the presenting agents that evening. As the 5pm deadline approaches, the number of registered offers increases.

Now, despite there being a 5pm deadline, you should expect that additional offers will continue to be registered right up until 7pm when presentations are scheduled to begin. The total number of offers registered will provide valuable insight into how the night is going to unfold. The more offers, the longer it’ll take to get through them all, but also the higher the eventual sale price is likely to be.

Presentation time

As 7pm approaches, your agent will be given the presentation order. Commonly, the order of registration will be the order of presentation. For “in person presentations” each presentation will take about 5-10 minutes.

Presentation location

This varies. Some listing agents will host the presentations at their office. Others will opt to host the presentations in the house itself. For buyers, your agent should be in contact with the listing agent to confirm the time and location of the presentations so that they can prepare to be on time.

In person vs. emailed offers

Each agent will then present their offer to the seller and the listing agent. This consists of your agent meeting the listing agent and the sellers in a boardroom or in the home, and discussing the terms of the offer with them. Every agent goes about this a little differently. It’s important as an agent to have strong presentation skills, and to be able to instil the seller’s confidence in your offer. This is most effectively done by presenting in person, face to face.

It’s also not uncommon for the seller to request that all offers are emailed instead of being presented in person. In which case, the buyer’s agents will email their offer to the listing agent and discuss the details over the phone.

Whether the buyer agent emails it in or presents their offer in person, consistent communication with the listing agent is absolutely imperative to success.

“Rounds” of negotiation

Every listing agent will have a slightly different way of handling multiple offers. That said, it typically goes like this:

  • All offers are presented to the seller in the order they were registered
  • The seller reviews them all with their agent
  • Once all offers have been presented and reviewed, the seller will give all of the buyers an opportunity to improve their initial offer and come back again to do it all over again.

This is often referred to as the “first round”.

All offers are essentially “sent back” to improve. Why? Because it’s almost inevitable that some of the offers will be similar. In order to “separate the pack”, they’re all given an opportunity to improve. Once they’ve been improved, the “second round” of presentations takes place. At this stage, it’s common for some of the offers to drop out of the race.

At the end of the night, what started out as 10 or 15 offers will most likely be down to 2 or 3. These things can go for multiple rounds and take several hours.

You would be surprised at how common it is for the final few offers in competition to be almost exactly similar to one another. This makes accepting one over the other almost impossible for the seller. This is why the buyer agent’s ability to communicate and push for the close will make a difference in their buyer’s success.

The winner’s circle

At the end of the night, usually several hours and multiple rounds after the presentations started, there will be an accepted offer. Once this happens, the presentations are officially completed, the seller will sign the acceptance paperwork and the deal is done!

Do all multiple offer nights result in a firm sale?

No. Occasionally, the seller may decide that none of the offers were able to come to a price or to terms that are acceptable to the seller and so the home will not be sold firm on offer night. Also, although increasingly rare these days, the offer night might result in a conditional sale instead of a firm sale.

There you have it! We hope you can use this to feel a little more prepared going into your offer night. If you haven’t already hired an agent, whether you’re planning to sell or to buy, reach out! We’re here for you and we will make sure your offer night is a huge success. Copy and paste “let’s roll” into the contact form to get started and we’ll be in touch soon.