On December 1, 2023, Ontario real estate officially entered an exciting new phase: Open Bidding. How many times have we longed for this? How often have buyers and sellers wished that offering on a house could be free from subterfuge? Enough! We said. Give us transparency. Open bidding was very exciting until… well until the details were released.

Generally, if a home has multiple buyers offering simultaneously, each buyer must bid on the house without knowing what other offers are. It is called blind bidding, and it leads to broken hearts and fears of overpaying. Before December 1, 2023, real estate agents were not allowed to share the contents of competing offers due to privacy laws. However, the government changed the rules so that agents may now share competing offers in certain circumstances.

So, why hasn’t open bidding changed real estate as we know it? Why has no one even heard of this potentially massive change? Because open bidding is optional and at the seller’s discretion. Disclosing the contents of competing offers is not in a seller’s best interest. Blind bidding, in theory, prompts buyers to offer more money to win the offer. Therefore, although we’ve had the option of open bidding for three months, I haven’t heard of a single offer situation that did open bidding.

Open bidding would be a great way to level the playing field in the Toronto market. However, it can’t be at the seller’s discretion and must be universally applied.