Coming Soon Listings
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Posted by: Maria Brogan
Many members have reached out to us regarding ‘Coming Soon’ properties and their growing popularity via Facebook ads, sign riders, and lawn signs featuring these properties. Are they allowed? What are the rules when using this type of marketing? What is the potential liability? Members must follow MLS rules for coming soon/pocket listings, but also should also be aware of NAR’s caution about following fiduciary law as well, and understand the impact on the industry as a whole.
Know The Rules – MLS PIN
A "coming soon" listing may mean different things to different people, but in general it applies to a property that will be coming to the market soon, but has yet to be entered into MLS PIN's database. It's important for you to know what the requirements are under the MLS PIN Rules and Regulations as it applies to listings of this nature.
When executing an exclusive listing agreement with a seller - regardless of possible language in the agreement indicating a future list date - you are required under MLS PIN's Rules to file that listing with MLS PIN within 24 business hours from the date the executed agreement is received by you. Filing happens in one of three ways:
The property is entered into the Pinergy system
A Non-MLS form is faxed/emailed to MLS PIN
A Delayed Listing form is faxed/emailed to MLS PIN
Options 2 and 3 above are similar in that the property is not entered into MLS PIN's database. However, there are some important differences between a Non-MLS listing and a Delayed listing you should understand.
The first difference relates to the entering of the property into the database. A Delayed listing is intended to be entered into MLS PIN's database at some future point, whereas the Non-MLS property is not intended to be entered. (Note: a seller and broker can always agree to cancel the Non-MLS and enter the property into MLS PIN's database.)
The second difference relates to the marketing of the property. The MLS PIN Rules and Regulations PROHIBIT the marketing of Delayed Listings, while permitting the marketing of Non-MLS listings. "Marketing" of the property in this context generally means:
advertising the property on third party sites, such as Zillow, etc.
sharing the property on social media pages
sharing the property within private groups
placing a sign on the property
These are all forms of marketing permissible with a Non-MLS listing but prohibited with a Delayed listing. Therefore, if you have a property you plan on marketing before it is entered into MLS PIN's database, you should be filing a Non-MLS form.
If you have questions related to these topics or anything related to the Rules and Regulations, you can contact MLS PIN’s Quality Assurance Department at 800-695-3000, option 6.
Are Your Clients Best Interests Being Served?
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has responded to the recent industry discussion surrounding “coming soon” listings by reminding members that, “The first important step in advising a seller-client on whether to advertise a property as ‘coming soon’ is to identify the client’s best interests, as defined by that client…Failing to act in the client’s best interest and failing to disclose the pros and cons of a limited marketing plan, such as ‘coming soon’ advertising, can violate state real estate license laws and regulations, MLS policies, and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Related Articles & Resources:
Pocket Listings and Coming Soon: What REALTORS® Need to Know
Video: The Sidebar - Pocket Listings
NAR's Report & Conclusions of the Joint Work Group on Cooperation Issues
NAR's Window to the Law: Off-MLS Listings
The primary purpose of the MLS is to foster cooperation and establish offers of compensation among participating brokers. Instead of promoting cooperation, the use of pocket or coming soon listings may discourage and may dampen that spirit of sharing listing information, as well provide no assurance of cooperative compensation should you find yourself involved in a transaction that includes a non-MLS listing.
Outside of the effect these listings could have on your seller, pocket listings also adversely affect information everyone relies on the MLS to provide. Please don’t forget that appraisers rely on the MLS data to create accurate appraisals. Many lenders will not allow non-MLS sales to be used as comparables because those properties were not adequately exposed to the market and, therefore are not an accurate representation of market-driven prices. Brokers and salespersons also heavily use the MLS database to help sellers determine list price and to help buyers determine what they should offer. Sales that aren’t included in the MLS lead to incomplete and inaccurate results.
Stay Compliant & Serve Your Clients
Despite the ongoing industry discussion about on this topic, remember these two things: you are still required to comply with the MLS’s listing entry rules and you have an obligation to act in the best interest of your clients. Keep these two things in the forefront of your mind and you can avoid running into trouble when confronting off-MLS or coming soon listings.
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