Openn Offers is a technology platform that helps realtors manage and negotiate offers efficiently, while also maintaining compliance with local regulations and ensuring a fair process for buyers and sellers.
It also integrates with realtor.ca and the Canadian Real Estate Association’s web forms, helping agents publish information about received offers directly to their listing page on Realtor.ca.
In Australia, the company has about 5,000-6,000 agents certified to use Openn, 139,000 users and over $9 billion processed in property sales, it’s gaining more traction these days with Canadian realtors. Openn is active in three countries, “with a fourth being added imminently,” Sean Adomeit, Openn’s CEO, notes.
Full steam ahead in Canada
“We are very early in our Canadian journey, which presents Canadian realtors and brokerages with the opportunity to take the leadership position in their local marketplaces,” Adomeit says.
However, Openn has a growing community of “enthusiastic Canadian users, including enterprise-level commercial agreements signed with large brokerages, some of whom are developing their own complementary internal technology to further streamline their offer management process,” explains Adomeit. “This is a huge vote of confidence in what Openn brings to the market and, like all of our clients, we will be partnering with them to drive results.
What do Canadian realtors think?
Jason Finlayson, a realtor with Pemberton Holmes in Duncan, British Columbia, says he has been using Openn for the past year and that he’s always open to new ideas when it comes to real estate.
“If it makes a little bit of sense, I’m willing to give it a try,” he explains. “I could see there were going to be some benefits with this program. I was curious.”
“When the market was ultra hot and pretty much anything we listed was in multiple offers, I really wish it was in my hands at that point. Unfortunately, by the time I got my hands on it, multiple offers were far fewer. We don’t really see many of them today in my market. We’re sitting on Vancouver Island essentially in a balanced market between buyers and sellers.”
As a result, Finlayson finds he uses it less than it’s intended for (multiple offer situations that allow other buyer agents to see where they stand) and that he “hasn’t been able to let it loose and use it to its full potential.”
He says the Openn system can streamline and facilitate the whole process of multiple offers. At the seller’s discretion, a realtor can open up the transparency and publish the offer price, so parties involved know where they stand as buyers rather than blindly bidding up an offer.
“Now, for as long as that offer is open for acceptance it almost evolves into an auction,” says Finlayson. “The multiple aspect in the heated market is one aspect of using it.”
Helps determine market price
He also points out another use case for Openn is the other end of those hot markets: “In a steeply declining market where prices are going down quickly if you get an offer that’s, say, lower than your seller’s expectation, (you can) say ‘this might actually be the best offer in today’s market and there is a way that we can somewhat test that theory (by) asking the buyers to give us a week with the offer, and we’re going to publish the price.’
And if no one else shows up to the table after I’ve marketed it at that price, then we can reasonably assume that is the value of the property in today’s market.”
Jake Russel, a realtor with Royal LePage Downtown Realty, in Vernon, B.C., has been using Openn for about a year. He sees the value in it but says realtors in general are pretty slow to change.
“I think it’s a great tool to show some transparency to let everybody know that there’s an actual offer instead of verbally saying it,” he says. “You post it so that agents see it and the public sees it on realtor.ca … You don’t have to show price. It’s great for a seller because you’re getting people excited, maybe they want to jump into the negotiations … It potentially creates a buzz.”
Russel notes that realtors can also toggle the transparency options for price and conditions, depending on how they choose to treat the scenario. Though he hasn’t officially closed a deal with Openn just yet, he’s successfully used it on a few listings.
“It helped display that offers had been received but were not successful. On one particular listing, I revealed the last offer value, which generated a few more inquiries for my sellers.” (Russell explains the sellers had a short window to sell and pulled the listing off temporarily).
Automates communication and enhances negotiation ability
Adomeit points out the platform has many benefits for realtors: “Openn automates communication between agents, sellers and buyers, making it very easy for the realtor to keep everybody notified about important changes. For example, if a new offer is made, or an existing offer is improved, relevant buyers, sellers and agents are updated by the system in real-time.”
He explains that at the seller’s discretion, the listing agent can enable buyers and observers to see information about competing offers, including details about their price, which traditional offer-making processes or past legislation have prohibited.
Since the realtor can share these details, their ability to negotiate on behalf of their client is enhanced. “Sharing offer information with the market allows the true market value of a property to reveal itself more efficiently, so properties sell faster. In strong markets in Australia, Openn campaigns sell about 30 per cent faster than traditional campaigns, and when the market is slow the difference is even greater, which realtors obviously love,” Adomeit points out.
A way to win more business
On top of this, Adomeit says that realtors who use Openn become skilled at explaining its advantages to potential clients, which helps them win more business.
By enabling the “observer feature”, Openn allows realtors to build an audience around their campaigns. Observers see the work being done by the agent, so it’s a tool for realtor self-promotion and lead generation, too.
“A significant number of observers go on to sell their property with a broker using this system by virtue of the results they’ve seen it can achieve (speed, price, efficiency, transparency),” he explains.
“Peace of mind that the selling process is being conducted fairly”
Adomeit also says consumers get peace of mind that the selling process is being conducted fairly, which has been a long-time complaint aimed at the real estate industry.
“Every realtor has, at times, had to console a buyer who would have offered more for a house they loved, if only they’d known the price they needed to offer. The buyer is devastated, and the seller (often unknowingly) has missed out on achieving the best price for their home. For agents who use Openn, this doesn’t need to happen ever again.”
Mario Toneguzzi is a contributing writer for REM. He has more than 40 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald, covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer for several national publications and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list.