What Exactly Is A “Coming Soon” Listing?

While it’s not a new thing, there have certainly been a lot more “coming soon” riders on for sale signs in yards over the past couple of years than in prior years.  This has created some questions among home buyers, particularly when they ask their buyer’s agent about seeing a listing are told it is not available to be shown yet, then later see the rider on the for sale sign change from “coming soon” to “sale pending”.  So, what’s the deal with “coming soon” listings?

The good and the bad of coming soon listings:

The Good – Many good listing agents use “coming soon” as a way of generating interest in their client’s (the seller) home in advance of it hitting the market, perhaps while the seller is completing repairs or tweaks suggested by the listing agent or the agent is finalizing marketing materials.  Typically, this is done for a short period, perhaps a week or two, and then the agent makes it known to everyone the date the listing will be available for viewing which, when done on a properly priced listing in a market with reasonable demand, results in multiple showings the first day or two the listing is available for viewing, which is good for the seller and often results in a quick sale at, or near, the list price.

The Bad – While it’s rare, there are some listing agents that use “coming soon” as a way of trying to keep the listing to themselves.  They use it to attempt to force potential home buyers to contact them for info and to avoid having to cooperate with another agent on the sale, thereby saving both sides of the commission for themselves.  As I said, this is rare as most agents out there take their fiduciary responsibility to the seller seriously and practice their craft in an honest and ethical manner, however, it only takes a few to spoil it for all.

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“Coming Soon” Listings – Good For Sellers Or Just Listing Agents and Buyers?

It’s hard to drive through a neighborhood today and not see a “coming soon” rider on a for sale sign  in front of a house.  With the St Louis real estate market still favoring sellers in many markets due to a  low supply of homes for sale, it’s not surprising that  coming soon listings create somewhat of a fervor among would-be buyers and their agents.  However, it is not uncommon for a buyer to wait patiently for a coming soon listing to hit the market, only to find that that at the same time it comes on the market “live” in the MLS, it immediately goes to a pending sale status leaving the would be buyer out on the cold.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Assuming the seller was under the impression that, by listing their home with a REALTOR® they would get maximum exposure for their listing, through the MLS as well as the thousands of websites that receive MLS info through syndication, IDX feeds and the like, and therefore obtain the highest price the market would bear for their home (which is what you would expect from maximum exposure to the market) then the seller was short-changed.  By presenting an offer to a seller before the listing was ever taken “live” and given all the exposure the MLS has to offer, then the seller has no way of knowing that they received the highest price and/or best terms the market would bear.  All the seller knows, is that from the few people that happened to call on the coming soon sign, or that the listing agent told about the property, this was the best offer. 

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