The Seattle area market has a quick cadance. Demand for homes outpaces supply, so often homes receive multiple offers. In response, the market has developed a system for collecting and creating a deadline for offers that buyers and sellers can plan around: the offer review date.
How it works
Offers are collected at a given date and time. They are compared and, if they contain an escalation clause, bid each other up in increments identified in the offer until the buyer’s pre-set limit is reached. Escalation clauses are only activated if there is a competing offer, so that’s why collecting offers on the same day is important to the seller.
The listing rhythm
A listing is published to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (nwmls). Listings are usually released during weekdays, with the highest volumes of new inventory typically appearing on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The date and time is set to submit offers to the listing agent. Usually the offer review date is 5 to 8 days after the listing hits the market. Once the deadline arrives, agents review any offers received.
If there are multiple offers, they are compared not just by the offer price, but also the terms and conditions and quality of the buyer’s pre-approval.
Offers are compared by these elements:
- Offer price
- Escalation increments + limit
- Loan Pre-approval
- Contingencies – which ones are intact or waived
- Closing date
The top offers are identified quickly and evaluated. It’s a good sign as a buyer if a seller’s agent asks follow-up questions or calls your lender to confirm your pre-approval qualifications.
Once all the details have been racked & stacked, the seller chooses the winning offer. If an escalation clause has been triggered, the front page of the purchase and sale agreement is updated to reflect the final purchase price and routed for signatures. Once the buyer and seller have signed and initialed all negotiated changes, the parties have mutual and a home is officially pending (or pending inspection).
What happens if no offers come in?
The listing transitions from an offer review date to reviewing offers upon receipt. Multiple offers are not guaranteed, and homes can miss their offer review date, even in a hot market. There are a number of reasons a home may have missed its offer review date.
A house went pending before the offer review date, why?
Buyers tired of getting outbid on offer review days have resorted to writing disruptive, “take it off the market” offers. When homes new to market with an offer review date go pending early, that’s probably what happened. These early offers try to entice a seller to take an offer before the offer review date and, at least in theory, without all the competition.