When it comes to real estate, one of the most pivotal milestones in the life of a transaction is the offer—and yet many of the tools that exist today overlook it. Instead, most software focuses on client management, document storage, e-signature capabilities, or back office administration, skipping over the offer altogether.
As a result, agents do their best to use incumbent software in a way it wasn’t optimized for. Given the lack of solutions on the market, agents attempt to piece together different systems into a makeshift offer management solution—or worse, they turn to spreadsheets and Google forms. In fact, according to a recent T3 Sixty survey, the vast majority of brokerages stated their agents use either Excel or other spreadsheet tools as their offer management solution or nothing at all.
Today, agents spend anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes drafting and reviewing each offer they submit—copying and pasting data from various systems, mapping document fields, and skimming through the contract to ensure they haven’t missed a checkbox. On the listing side, agents turn to spreadsheets once more—tediously reentering every piece of data—so they can analyze and present offers to their clients. All of this leads to substantial inefficiencies and far less productive agents. Fortunately, this is where an offer management system shines.
Simply put, an offer management system focuses on just that—the offer. It is a tool to help real estate agents draft, receive, and manage offers. Whether you’re writing offers or receiving them, an offer management system makes the process of doing so more efficient. But it doesn’t end there. A comprehensive offer management system also streamlines the signing, submitting, comparing, accepting or rejecting of offers, and more.
The concept of offer management is relatively new, and often gets confused with its close counterpart: transaction management. Rightly so, as these terms are often used interchangeably in real estate to refer to anything from document management to back office tools.
In reality, transaction management can be defined as a system to streamline the entirety of the transaction process from client to close. In contrast, offer management focuses solely on the offer process from drafting or receiving to execution, rather than the entire transaction. It might help to think of offer management as a subset of transaction management.
At the core of the transaction is the offer. The other activities that occur during the lifetime of a transaction revolve around it—feeding into the offer or being informed by it. A CRM feeds an offer by providing agents with a pipeline of potential clients to work with. Compliance and accounting systems are informed by the offer ensuring contracts are completed accurately and agents are paid.
The problem is that many software solutions that exist today, including transaction management platforms, approach real estate in a chronological fashion. When in reality, transactions function more like the interconnected system that’s described above, not linearly. In doing so, these softwares focus on all the other activities going on around the offer without giving much thought to the offer itself.
A robust offer management system goes far beyond a simple forms library, digital signature, and document storage. Instead, an offer management system should include all of this and more. Some of the most important features of an offer management system include:
Now that we’ve cleared up what offer management is—and what it isn’t—let’s dive into why it’s so important. If you’re evaluating your brokerage’s current tech stack, here’s 5 reasons you need an offer management system in your arsenal.
As your brokerage grows, there comes a point at which your one person operations team doesn’t cut it anymore. Sure, they’re a powerhouse employee but one person can only handle so much, not to mention putting all your eggs in one basket is a risky endeavor. As a result, you begin to hire more support staff to meet the growing demand of your agents. But the problem many rapidly-growing brokerages run into is that hiring more people, oftentimes into salaried positions, isn’t scalable.
One solution to the scalability problem is outsourcing. You could look to fill these roles internationally or outsource to specialized companies, but still, these are costly alternatives. Many times we don’t realize—or maybe realize too late—that the majority of the tasks these roles are responsible for can be automated with technology.
With the right offer management system, you can take your one person operations team and multiply their efforts so they can get more done in the same amount of time. With a tool like Jointly, your operations become more scalable as you grow. Administrative tasks are automated so your operations can manage more transactions at once.
These days compliance is on everyone's mind. As a broker, ensuring your agents complete contracts accurately, adhere to real estate laws, and uphold their fiduciary duty to their clients is imperative. Afterall, the responsibility—and the backlash if something goes wrong—falls to you.
Although there are back office tools to help you remain compliant, the truth is, they don’t provide you with the oversight you need to nip problems in the bud before things veer too off course. Without this oversight, you can only react to issues, not proactively prevent them.
Back office software doesn't tell you if your agents presented every offer to their client. It doesn’t ensure your agents completed every contract without missing a checkbox or initial. Instead, you do your best as a broker to promote compliance and cross your fingers that everything works out—until it doesn’t.
Back office tools only tell you what went wrong after it happened, whereas offer management tells you what’s going wrong as it happens, when you still have a chance to change course in the right direction.
In T3 Sixty’s recent survey, nearly half of brokerages agreed that an offer management solution is very or extremely important in helping manage compliance issues. Turns out, these brokerages are right. At first glance, it may not seem like the appropriate tool for the job, but an offer management system provides you with the oversight you need to ensure all offers are presented, contracts are complete, and agents are following best practices and maintaining the Code of Ethics.
When agents are considering which brokerage to hang their license with, they’re likely looking at a few things. First, what commission split can they get? Second, what kind of reputation does the brokerage have? And lastly, what kind of support will they have in the form of training, tools, and mentorship?
Every brokerage is competing on these three things, so how can you ensure your brokerage stands out from the rest? Sure, you can compete on money by offering a higher commission split or providing a financial incentive, but that won’t do your bottom line much good in the long run. Reputation comes down to having successful agents on board—agents that are absolutely crushing it in their markets.
So what it really boils down to is: how can you attract the best agents without giving up a significant share of your revenue? The short answer: the right technology. Aside from commission and reputation, top agents are looking for a brokerage that has the tools they need to be the best, most efficient agent they can be. This is where an offer management system can be highly effective.
One of the biggest pain points highly-productive agents face is not having enough time to do it all. They have clients to communicate with, offers to write, listing to prepare, and not enough time in the day to get it all done. Offer management software can help alleviate this pain for your agents by automating the tedious tasks, streamlining the offer process, and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.
New agents don’t turn into great agents overnight. Although newly licensed agents go through hundreds of hours of real estate classes, a class on real estate principles doesn’t quite prepare them for their first real contract. Most great agents learn from experience. For new agents, mistakes are bound to be made, especially in those early days.
For a brokerage, training new agents is costly—both in terms of money and time. It’s also necessary if you want to continue to grow your brokerage and maintain a reputation of top tier agents. Fortunately, an offer management system can help you reduce the cost of training while building a group of world class agents.
How so? With an offer management platform like Jointly, agents are guided through the offer drafting process with a Turbo-Tax like interface. When an offer is started, the required forms are gathered based on MLS data, ensuring agents don’t overlook any pertinent forms that could make them look inexperienced or careless to the listing agent, not to mention their client. As an agent fills out a contract, Jointly double checks their work by making sure all required fields are completed and no checkbox is missed.
When leveraged the right way, data can be a powerful tool. Accurate and timely data can help you and your agents make more effective and informed decisions. But many times, brokerages don’t have the right process or systems in place to properly use this data to their advantage.
Imagine what it might be like to know:
Although this type of data is input into incumbent systems, it isn’t stored in a database that a brokerage can leverage in order to drive value for themselves and their agents.
With an offer management system, you can capture this data as it’s entered, store it, and leverage it for real-time market insights. So the next time one of your agents goes to write an offer on a property, they can see how other agent’s offers fared on nearby properties, allowing them to draft a more competitive and effective offer. Or, if they’re representing a seller, have a better understanding of which offer is best for their client.
In addition to this, an offer management system can also be used as a tool to drive the contract to close workflow. With Jointly, key data points and dates are captured, centralized, and stored as they’re entered into a contract. This data can then be utilized to automate reminders, next step emails, and more.
For instance, after a contract is executed, an email is sent to the buyer instructing them to deliver the (a) earnest money and (b) option money to the (c) title company at their (d) office address with attention to the (e) escrow agent by a (f) specific date. Instead of an agent or transaction coordinator finding and retyping out all of these data points in an email, the stored data (a-f) is leveraged to automatically generate and send these email instructions.
Other data points like the option expiration, financing contingency deadline, and closing date can all be synced with an agent’s calendar so they can proactively stay on top of critical deadlines without having to manually set these reminders themselves. Without an offer management system in place, these types of manual tasks fall to your agents or administrative resources, resulting in inefficiency and room for error.
Despite offer management being relatively new to the real estate scene, the majority of brokerages believe offer management is here to stay, according to T3 Sixty’s 2021 Offer Management Survey. We’d have to say we agree.
It’s clear that an offer management system can go a long way in setting your brokerage up for success, and we believe Jointly is the right tool for the job. See first-hand how Jointly’s all-in-one offer management platform can help your brokerage excel by scheduling a live demo today.