Most consumers probably are not aware of this, but our local MLS just went through a fairly large upgrade. The implementation left a lot to be desired, with the CEO of MLS Listings issuing a public apology for the blunders.
One of the new features of the upgraded system is a new status for listings: “Coming Soon.” The Coming Soon feature was created to help stem the tide of off-market real estate listings, which has been increasingly common in recent years. By listing a home as “Coming Soon,” the listing will only be available to MLS subscribers (that is, Real estate agents, appraisers, etc.). The listing will not be visible to consumers via Zillow, Trulia, and other “syndicated” web sites, and the system will not even allow a Coming Soon listing to be emailed out by a subscriber.
When a home is listed as Coming Soon, it may remain with this status for only 30 days. At the end of 30 days, if the listing is not marked as “sold” or moved to “Active” status, the MLS will automatically withdraw the listing. During the “Coming Soon” period, the days-on-market for the listing will not accrue, and if it is moved to Active status, it will come on the market as a brand-new, just-listed home.
Why would a real estate agent choose to use this new Coming Soon status, rather than listing a home immediately onto the MLS for all the public to see? I am in a situation like this right now: I just signed a new listing agreement, and the owner is happy to sell it right now – without doing all the work of preparing the home for sale. It’s a hot market, and if there’s a buyer out there who wants his home as-is, so much the better!
With a Coming Soon listing, we can put the word out – quietly – to the broker community that the home is for sale. If anyone has a buyer for it, we can make a private appointment to show the home. This gives the seller a chance to get some feedback on the price before hitting the market. We can pre-market the property on the down-low as the owner spends the next couple of months getting it ready for sale on the open market. But if he can get the price he wants without completing all the work, he’d be pleased as punch.
In this case, as the owner won’t have the home ready for another couple of months, the Coming Soon feature won’t work for him. And it won’t work for anyone until they are absolutely sure that they’ll be listing the home within the next 30 days – which seems to be a significant limitation of the Coming Soon feature. Delays frequently come up when preparing a home for sale, and a significantly longer period – say, 90 days – would seem to be more useful for real-world use.
Consequently, I won’t be using the Coming Soon feature for this listing – not until I’m 100% certain we’re within 30 days of being ready for market. In the meanwhile, I’ll be out actively marketing the property, looking for the perfect buyer for the home. That’s OK; I actively market every listing I get, pulling out all the stops to find a new owner for the home, wherever and whoever they may be.