Everything You Need to Know About the Openn Offers Pilot Project on REALTOR.ca

Inevitably, during your career in real estate, you’ve likely had clients ask you, “How many other offers are there? What are other people offering?”

With a new pilot program set to launch this summer, consumers will get a glimpse into the offer process—seeing offers tracked in near real-time on REALTOR.ca.

Openn Offers, a ground-breaking offer management software provided by property technology company Openn Negotiation, has been selected to be integrated into REALTOR.ca.

“From what we’ve already seen in the Australian market, consumers and real estate professionals have both benefitted greatly from enhanced transparency in the buying and selling process. We’re excited to bring Openn Offers to Canada and showcase what a REALTOR.ca integration can provide REALTORS® and the marketplace,” says Duncan Anderson, executive director of Openn and president of Openn North America.

Canadians continue to trust and rely on REALTORS® as part of their real estate journeys and REALTOR® driven research tools like Canada’s No. 1 real estate platform, REALTOR.ca. This pilot is intended to enhance what we’ve already built.

What information will be displayed?

You may have seen news stories about how Openn Offers works in Australia or the United States, but our pilot program will be truly unique. Real estate is regulated at the provincial level in Canada, which means rules and regulations differ across the country. This also means we’re not taking a one-size-fits-all approach with Openn Offers; the platform will be tailored to meet the needs of REALTORS®, REALTOR.ca and Canadian consumers.

We know you may be asking, “am I even allowed to disclose offer details?”

Openn Offers has back-end controls in the system to allow the display of information suitable for different regulatory environments across the country. Some jurisdictions are permitted to disclose more than others. CREA and Openn will ensure we’ve done our due diligence to make sure you’re never revealing more than is allowed in your area.

How will this impact REALTORS®?

Together, Openn Offers and REALTOR.ca solve the perceived lack of transparency in the sales process and pricing while keeping REALTORS® at the heart of the transaction. Let us explain.

The seller will work with their REALTOR® to determine what offer details will display on their listing on REALTOR.ca (this will also depend on local regulatory requirements) using the Openn Offers platform. The buyer will still submit their offer through their REALTOR®. Then, the selling agent will input the offer into the Openn Offers platform, making important data points relevant to the consumer visible on REALTOR.ca in near real-time.

Keep in mind, this tool will be provided as an option; once the platform has been rolled out in your region, it’s ultimately up to you and your clients to decide on a strategy that works best.

Is this an auction site like eBay?

No. This doesn’t replace the current offer and acceptance method of buying and selling real estate in Canada; it just automates the process. Unlike auctions, any written offer can still be subject to conditions with an agreed-upon due diligence period or a back and forth on price between interested buyers and the seller. The Openn Offers platform enables transparency and equality for consumers while providing agents with a highly efficient solution to manage multiple simultaneous offers. The Openn Offers platform provides buyers with the opportunity to see how much competition exists and possibly where their price stands in the negotiation. For sellers, it builds confidence that they are getting the most they can from current market conditions.

And since this is a management platform for the offer and acceptance method of buying and selling properties currently used in Canada (not an auction site), anyone making an offer will still need to complete and sign a fully binding contract facilitated by a REALTOR®. In addition, every prospective buyer will need to have their identity checked and verified. This means buyers and sellers will have confidence that each offer indicator flag on the offer table is linked to a legally binding contract.

The offer process is not the cause of high real estate prices in Canada; rather, there is simply more demand than available housing supply in the market. Last year, CREA commissioned a study from an independent think tank, Smart Prosperity Institute, to explore how a ban on ‘blind bidding’ would impact real estate prices. The report finds that although it’s possible the blind bidding process can cause higher prices, the evidence to support that claim is limited..

Why is CREA putting offer details on REALTOR.ca?

We believe Canadians should be able to choose how they sell their home. We also feel a transparent display of transaction information combined with consumer trust in REALTOR.ca will deepen the consumer/REALTOR® relationship and further entrench the REALTOR® at the centre of the transaction.

“Integrating Openn Offers with REALTOR.ca ensures REALTORS® stay at the helm of all offers and transactions. Its value lies in giving clients a window into the process they otherwise wouldn’t have had and removing some apprehension of the unknown. The Openn Offers platform provides more choice within your marketing strategies and allows you to involve clients in those choices to make them feel more comfortable.” says CREA Chair, Jill Oudil.

This pilot helps further demonstrate REALTORS®’ commitment to protecting public and client interests through a fair and informed real estate market while also ensuring transactions are conducted in a way that strikes a balance between the interests of buyers and sellers. Ultimately, this tool will help keep REALTORS® at the heart of the real estate transaction, regardless of type or offer process.

The pilot is scheduled to appear in select markets across Canada this summer. Interested in learning more? Leave a comment below or contact CREA’s Member Experience Team.