It’s fair to say the real estate industry has yet to agree on a single, fixed definition for what a ‘coming soon’ listing actually is.
Sometimes referred to as a pre-MLS listing, ‘coming soon’ listings essentially involve a property being advertised to a select group of agents for a limited period, before being listed on the open market.
This method of marketing is still relatively new and generated a significant amount of industry attention and debate when first launched. ‘Coming soon’ listings became mistakenly mixed up with pocket listings (two forms of promoting a home that are quite different).
So what form does a ‘coming soon’ listing take?
At its most basic, it involves planting a simple lawn sign in the front yard of a property. But an increasingly popular strategy involves creating online listings.
This more nuanced approach to marketing involves advertising a property to carefully selected online communities, and it’s a trend that’s growing in momentum. Today, a significant number of MLSs’ now use coming soon features to market a property before listing on the MLS.
Here are some of the specific benefits that this approach involves.
1) Generates A Buzz
The world’s biggest brands are experts in marketing the release of their latest products to generate demand. When Porsche announces the imminent unveiling of a new model, interested buyers are invited to join a waiting list, building anticipation and desire.
A ‘coming soon’ listing is designed to work in much the same way. Its purpose is to generate a buzz among buyers, helping to line up potential offers from the ensuing hype and attention.
In any given market, buyers will often pay a premium to be one of the first to own a new and exciting product. When selling a high-end property, a ‘coming soon’ listing can also bring about this same effect – potential buyers are often prepared to pay more to secure a home before anybody else.
2) Gauges Buyer Interest
A ‘coming soon’ listing is also a great way of dipping your toes in the water to test the initial reaction from buyers. Rather than immediately marketing a house on the MLS, it allows sellers to assess general interest levels in a specific price range or location.
Based on the overall reaction, a price can then be carefully adjusted accordingly. But to gauge specific interest levels, sellers naturally need to let potential buyers inside the house.
3) Sells The Property Faster
A ‘coming soon’ listing can also result in a much quicker sale. In an article featured in Realty Today, Amanda McMillan, agent team leader at Chicago-based @properties, reports that listing a property as ‘coming soon’ has helped generate significant buyer attention prior to it being listed on the MLS. Once on the MLS, McMillan has found that interested buyers often race to get a first viewing and can end up buying the home.
This kind of anecdotal evidence is also backed up by hard data. A study of Chicago homes reported by Inman compared a selection of pre-MLS listings with properties listed immediately on the MLS. The study found that on average, the pre-MLS properties spent 14 days less on the local MLS before going under contract.
4) Less Likely To Go Stale On The Market
The longer a property spends listed on the MLS, the greater the risk it becomes of going stale. Potential buyers may skip over the listing, or perceive the property as being less desirable by virtue of the fact it’s been sitting there so long.
But ‘coming soon’ listings can bring a level of momentum that offsets this risk.
By the time a property reaches the MLS, it may well have interested buyers lining up for viewings. This can quickly spark wider interest from other potential buyers – ensuring that a property doesn’t have the chance to become stale in the first place.
The Downside of Using ‘Coming Soon’
Before considering whether a ‘coming soon’ listing is right for you, it’s important to consider the potential downsides. One of the most significant issues? The signs themselves.
By putting out a sign too early, you could end up frustrating interested buyers who love your property, but can’t actually view it with their agent.
Having a sign in your front yard is also an open invitation for anyone and everyone to come knocking for a viewing.
That said, it’s important to think long-term. Going on the MLS could ultimately lead to you receiving way more hassle from less serious buyers.
In the end, if a highly qualified, motivated buyer working with a top agent wants to make you an offer, you might be smart to accept it rather than risk receiving a lower price.
Rules And Regulations
To list a property as ‘coming soon’, agents must adhere to a number of regulations.
For instance, after the listing contract has been executed, many MLSs require listings to be submitted to the MLS within a specified, usually brief, time frame. Some may permit listed properties to be advertised as ‘coming soon’ while being kept out of general distribution on the MLS, as long as such advertising is not targeted to the general public.
If the listing agent intends not to post a property in the MLS within the required time period, they must get a form of ‘Exclude from the MLS’ signed by the seller.
Crucially, a listing agent must be absolutely transparent about the nature of the listing. Legally, they cannot make it seem to other agents that a property isn’t available for showing and then show it to their own buyers.
The Lawn Sign Versus The Digital ‘Pre-MLS’ Listing
In the digital age, the limitations of the traditional lawn sign have become magnified. Aside from the local neighbors and passers-by being aware, the level of exposure is limited. But it’s also impossible to control who sees the sign. Potentially, a seller could end up receiving a lot of unwanted attention.
In contrast, an online listing has the ability not only to reach a wider audience, but crucially – a more targeted audience. Rather than a scattergun approach to marketing your home, an online listing can be distributed within selected online communities populated by the most qualified buyers.
Pre-MLS For High-End Or Luxury Homes
There are some pretty significant benefits of having a pre-MLS listing on TAN. And if you’re selling a valuable or luxury property, these benefits become even more pronounced.
First of all, your property can acquire an extra feeling of exclusivity among a niche group of highly motivated buyers, building desire before going to the wider market.
There’s also the opportunity to receive feedback from the top agents. This can prove invaluable when you’re trying to market your home effectively and at the right price. Although it naturally requires you letting those agents and their clients inside the property.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that between 30%-50% of MLS agents don’t sell a single home in a given year. And another 40% of agents sell maybe just 1 or 2 homes. When you take these kind of figures into account, you have to question whether it’s worth marketing to MLS agents at all.
Marketing Your Property with a Pre-MLS Listing
The potential benefits of marketing a high-end property with a pre-MLS listing are significant.
By allowing a top agent to show and sell your home in this way, you may get a higher priced sale from a buyer than if your property sits idly on the MLS.
You’ll also be gaining broad and valuable exposure by posting your property to the top 10% of agents who sell over 90% of the properties in their region.
Are you thinking of listing your home as a pre-MLS listing? Talk to a TAN member in your area.