As real estate professionals, it’s our job to provide the best service for our clients. When a helpful tactic meant to stir up business actually harms instead of helps, it’s important to do what is best for the community instead of winning the big bucks for your clients.
Let’s take a lesson from Ohio. As the housing market continues to move at an unprecedented pace, beginning August 1, sellers will no longer be able to list homes on the MLS as “Coming Soon,” like they could in the past.
Even though the “Coming Soon” title was first created over five years ago to help drum up business for sellers, real estate agents have been using this type of listing service more frequently in this unconventional market. The concept of listing a home early on the MLS and not marking it as active is not necessarily anything new. People have been doing this for a long time even before labeling it “Coming Soon.” The reason behind it is still the same: getting buyers interested in the home before it comes on, making it more likely that there will be multiple offers on the table at once, leading to better and higher offers.
However, this tactic has come with unintended consequences. Real estate agents can have a property listed as “Coming Soon” for up to two weeks on search engines, allowing for high exposure and a larger chance that someone will try and buy the house before anyone else can. In fact, many agents who make appointments for their buyers on the day it becomes active in the system are being told it’s already sold.
Having a home selling before buyers can even take a look inside makes it even more difficult for buyers to feel like now is the right time to buy a home. When they can’t even get into the homes that they are interested in, buyers end up not trusting that their agents are telling them the truth about the home, and real estate agents don’t trust the agent who is selling the house. Buyer’s agents can’t perform a good service for their clients when they feel like homes are selling out from underneath their clients.
As of last Monday, Zillow reported more than 700 home listings classified as “Coming Soon” in Ohio. Thankfully, agents and brokers voted to remove the advance listings after learning that homes were being sold before the public could look at them. Spoken about in the covenants of real estate, the industry has a duty of honesty and fairness to the public. Voting out the cutthroat tactic of listing a home as “Coming Soon” because it doesn’t align with industry values, is a step in the right direction.
For years, agents enjoyed “Coming Soon” advance listings as a perk for both buyers and sellers as a way to drum up early interest before a home was ready, and it gave prospective buyers a chance to prepare and think on a house before they decided to submit a bid. However, there is no such luxury anymore as it has turned out to be a way to take advantage of those who are not willing to go behind others’ backs and place a high bid early.
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