Seattle – April 1, 2013 – Seattle real estate broker findwell announced a new tournament-style bidding format for home buyers today called Bidding Madness. Homes listed for sale with a findwell agent will now benefit from this new style of bidding by allowing buyers to compete in an open, bracket-based competition for homes, pitting two buyers against one another in each round until a winner is chosen. Home buyers benefit from a more open bidding process that gives more parties a chance at the house, and home sellers benefit from increased competition and a greater confidence that they home is going to the right buyer.
Anyone trying to purchase a home in the Seattle market right now will recognize the struggles of finding a home for sale. Inventory remains at decade-long lows with very little for sale. When a good home hits the market, having to compete with 5-10 other bidders is the norm, rather than the exception. “Being a buyer in this market was super frustrating,” said findwell CEO Kevin Lisota. “We wanted to introduce a process that would revolutionize the way homes are bought and sold, maximizing competition for the seller and giving more buyers a fair shake.”
Setting up the bidding bracket
When bidding for a findwell home, the listing agent will receive all bids, count them up and then setup a bidding bracket of eight buyers with three rounds of competition. In cases where there are more than eight bidders, six offers will be chosen based on the highest initial offer price. The remaining two bidders will be considered “at-large” entrants and will not be chosen based on price. One at-large entrant will be chosen by the seller and the other by the listing agent, both selecting a buyer who didn’t bid the most but who still feels like a great fit for the home. Bidders will be seeded in the tournament based on the order in which their offers were received.
Bidding will proceed in three single-elimination rounds. The first round pits buyers against one another in a test of home ownership knowledge and skill, with winners advancing to the Final Four. The Final Four bidders compete on their design sense and future plans for the home, leaving two contestants for the Championship Round. The Championship Round is the in-person competition, with both bidders attending a social event hosted by the sellers and their neighbors. The winning bidder will be decided by silent vote from the sellers and their neighbors.
ROUND 1 (Elite 8) – Are you really homeowner material?
Round 1 bidders will be asked to demonstrate their home ownership prowess through a series of skill tests. Buyers will demonstrate their ability to hang a picture, paint along a straight edge, and plunge an extremely stopped-up toilet. Overtime competition consists of diagnosing “what is making that beeping noise?”
“I’ve had renters who didn’t know how to clean out the lint filter on the dryer,” said Lisota. “Those folks probably should remain as renters, and they’ll quickly get knocked out in Round 1.”
ROUND 2 (Final Four) – What will you do to my house?
The Final Four competition will require bidders to produce photos of the inside of their current residence and the inside of their car(s) in an attempt to match slobs with slobs and neat-freaks with other obsessive-compulsive personalities. Buyer’s will then be given a 64-color set of crayons and asked to color sketches of a few rooms in the house to their own tastes.
“I love the black sinks and toilets in my bathrooms,” said findwell seller Joanne Nightingale. “They really speak to my design aesthetic, and I never have to worry about cleaning them. I’m looking for a buyer who appreciates the same.”
ROUND 3 (Championship Round) – What will the neighbors really think of you?
The final two bidders will be invited to an evening social event with the sellers and their neighbors at the home they are trying to buy. Both buyers will be present at the same time and will be required to have awkward and forced conversations with the seller and the neighbors. The evening will culminate with a 2 minute pitch from each buyer on why they REALLY love the house.
“The letter we got from our potential buyers was really sweet,” said findwell seller Jack McGrath, “then I met one of the sellers and he was pretty much a douchebag. I would have found that out a lot sooner with this new tourney system.”
Competitive real estate bids are generally done as a “blind auction” with buyers having little or no information about other bid amounts and sellers having no idea who they are actually selling to. This tourney system is designed to maximize competition and truly figure out who is the best buyer.
“Getting the highest and best offer for a home is most likely in a openly competitive atmosphere where people’s pride is put under the spotlight,” said renowned real estate economist Han Stumphries. “Plus people frickin’ love filling out a tournament bracket. If it works for the NCAA, I can’t see why it wouldn’t juice up the real estate market.”