Be careful with “Coming Soon” listings

There’s been a trend around the country to promote houses just before they hit the full market. You may have seen the signs, “Coming Soon!” on a yard sign or seen it talked about on social media. We’ve seen it around the Oklahoma City metro area, and just a couple around Shawnee.

Where this practice has been prevalent is where the inventory of available properties is very tight—a firm seller’s market. Just so you know, I reported last week that Shawnee’s housing stats for July showed us we’re still pretty solidly in seller’s market territory, with 4.6 months of inventory (6 months is considered a “balanced” market).

So real estate agents who promote “Coming Soon” listings have found a great way to build interest in a property before it’s ready to hit the multiple listing service, all the websites, open houses, and all the many things REALTORS® do to find the best buyer.

A legitimate “Coming Soon” listing is truly off-market, when the seller is maybe making some repairs, decluttering, moving out excess pieces of furniture, or maybe simply waiting for the professional photography/videography to be produced. It should absolutely be unavailable for showing or purchase during that period.

As a home seller, you want the highest price and best terms for the sale of your home, right?

If during a “Coming Soon” period, you trickle out a few invitations to view the property and receive what you think is an acceptable offer BEFORE you’ve even seen what the entire marketplace will produce, the prevailing thought would be your property did not reach its full marketing potential.

What’s been discovered is some agents have used this as a way to circumvent the MLS while they market the property to a select group of people. Sometimes they’ve pressure a buyer to use the listing broker for the transaction, which not only breaches our ethical duties to clients but may violate real estate license and consumer protection laws. It certainly would in Oklahoma.

My litmus test for REALTORS® would be:

  • Is this in the seller’s best interest? (See Article 3 of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics)
  • Has the seller given consent?
  • Have you laid out the terms in the listing agreement? (In Oklahoma, we must secure the seller’s permission and have a definite expiration date for any advertising.)
  • Will you accept an offer during this off-market period?
  • Would you compel the seller to accept an offer from you or another agent in your company?

This is a great marketing tool to tease the market and pique the interest of homebuyers in the market. My advice to home sellers is to have it spelled out in your listing agreement. Plan for a launch date and stick to it so you allow your home to be exposed to the entire marketplace.

I’d love to continue the conversation offline. Feel free to call/text/email and we’ll connect!