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Zoom is your best kept secret to handling multiple offers

Seller clients will always be thrilled to watch multiple offers roll in, and an exceptional number of sellers are finding themselves in multiple-offer situations in the current low-inventory, high-demand market sparked by the pandemic. Another pandemic-inspired phenomenon? Zoom meetings. One broker has combined those two culture-shifters to create a method for using Zoom in multiple-offer real estate transactions.  

While happy sellers and multiple offers are also great for listing agents’ commissions, multiple-offer situations mean a lot of extra work for the listing agent: creating spreadsheets with offer details, fielding calls from buyers’ agents, and, of course, informing the losing bidders that their offers weren’t chosen.

As a way to improve this process, Barbara Brindle, the broker of record at RE/MAX Hallmark York Group Realty, based in Ontario, Canada, has come up with a novel way to use Zoom to organize and streamline a multiple-offer transaction, and she’s eager to teach other real estate professionals how to use her strategy. 

Brindle’s idea, like so many things these days, was a product of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we migrated things over online as a result of COVID, I got exposed to some advanced features using Zoom through that, which inspired me to look at other ways to use Zoom in our business,” Brindle said. “So, I moderated dozens of multiple offers for about three months, and I came up with all the things that might go wrong … and then I developed this program as a result of the beta testing.” 

Here’s how Brindle’s method works: The sellers are put into a private room, and the buyers (or their representatives) are allowed in one by one. If there are fewer than four offers, Brindle plans for a “forensic presentation,” in which each buyer is allowed ot present their full offer online. For four or more offers, each  buyer gets five minutes to present the highlights of their offer. The sellers can ask questions about the buyers, their finances and any details about the offer. This way, the sellers get to meet every cooperating agent, and buyers’ agents don’t have to wonder if the seller was presented with their client’s offer. She offered as an example a recent $3.5 million sale she was involved in. The property received five bids, which means four of them lost out.

“All four of them that were not successful called me the next day to ask me if I could train them on using the technology,” Brindle said. “They’re like, ‘Even though we didn’t win, we loved the process, because we felt the transparency. Our buyers felt heard and validated, and we knew that the seller heard our offer because we got to show it to them. And we love the feedback feeling of trust that it builds. We want to make sure that we do this when we’re listing agents going forward.’ So, I trained them.”

Brindle says real estate brokerages that don’t take advantage of emerging technology are at risk of falling behind, and warns that the longer a brokerage waits to adopt new technologies, the harder it is to catch up. 

“It adds so much value to the brokerage, because we’re helping our salespeople stay relevant,” Brindle said. “We’re helping give them an edge with technology, give them something new that no one else is doing. From a brokers’ perspective, it’s helped us a lot, as well, from a retention standpoint, and also from a recruiting standpoint, because we’re on the cutting edge.”   

Brindle began teaching others in the real estate field in 1998. She worked at the Ontario Real Estate Association and was an instructor with National Association of Realtors. The comprehensive course Brindle created to teach agents how to use Zoom in multiple-offer situations is called How to run and manage multiple offers using Zoom, and is available at www.learnwithus.ca, a site that offers free education for anyone who wants it.

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