Not every MLS market allows for “coming soon” listings. Various articles have been written about the benefits and pitfalls of these listings and we also discussed them extensively a few years ago at Clareity’s MLS Executive Workshop. But this article is not about passing some kind of judgement about them. In some markets MLSs have implemented a “coming soon” or similar listing status and additional MLSs are evaluating doing the same today, including some of our clients. Clareity has encountered some MLS rule sets that describe the conditions for these types of listings in great depth – but also others that do not adequately describe those conditions. So, this article lists out some of the best of what we have seen for either creating “coming soon” rules or re-evaluating those rules.
Define Your Terms
No matter what you call these listings, be sure to clearly define your term.
Here’s one such definition of a “Coming Soon Listing” from the MLSListings website: “There is a valid listing contract between the seller and the listing broker, but the listing is not ready for market. The listing is in the MLS, but not on market. Coming Soon is not an online exclusion or a draft of the listing.”
Here’s another example from North Carolina Regional MLS: “Listings where the marketing date is utilized or where the seller has not authorized display until a later date must nevertheless be entered within the time frame above but the status would be “Coming Soon”.
Some MLSs are even more explicit that the listing cannot be marketed, shown, or sold while in this status or it is a violation. Obviously, there are some carve-outs to describe, because the listing is being marketed to other agents in the MLS, for starters. Be explicit about what is allowed and what is not while a listing is in this status in the MLS.
Some MLSs state that a primary listing photo must be input within 48 or 72 hours of a listing being entered into the system – even (explicitly) a “coming soon” listing. Other MLSs explicitly state that no photo is needed until the listing status changes to another status.
After a period of time (e.g. 21 or 30 days) or a “marketing begins date” / “start showing date” (whichever comes first or last), does the listing status automatically change (say, to “withdrawn” or “active” status)? Every MLS we have seen so far only allows newly entered listings to be put into the “coming soon” status – one cannot go back to this status from any other. One exception we have seen is where MLS staff can move the listing back to “coming soon” from “withdrawn” after it was automatically moved to “withdrawn”. MLSs allow users to move the listing from “coming soon” to “active” at any time, and this may change the “marketing begins date” (if extant) to the date the status was changed.
We’ve seen some advanced rules regarding status flow that bears mentioning. An example, for consideration, is as follows: “A listing broker may not re-list a property in COMING SOON status unless the listing has been in EXPIRED or WITHDRAWN status for over 90 days; or unless the property is listed with a new brokerage firm; or the property has been sold or rented.”
Regardless of your statuses and rules and any automated or manual processes you intend to have happen, the status flow needs to be determined, spelled out in the MLS rules and regulations, and the business rules must be reflected in the MLS system.
Listing Distribution / Use
Syndication is always disabled for these listings, and they are not included in the IDX feed, as those constitute marketing uses that are counter to the definition of the listing status. Some MLSs include them in the VOW feed and/or broker back office feeds – while others don’t.
Other MLS Functions
There are a wide variety of system ramifications that need to be decided upon and implemented in the MLS software:
- Under what conditions does DOM (ADOM, CDOM, etc.) accrue, or not accrue?
- Can these listings be included in prospecting results and client-collaboration portal searches and results?
- Will reports include specific language (e.g. “No showings.”)
- Are these listings included in a Hotsheet? In their own section? What about price changes?
- Is the email function disabled for these listings?
- Is the print function disabled for these listings?
- How are these listings used in terms of statistics (market statistics, production statistics, etc.)?
- One of our MLS clients has a variation on “coming soon” where only others in their firm can see the listing, and it is also available in their own back-office feeds but not in others’.
Whether or not to implement “coming soon” listings is a decision to be made market by market to meet the needs of participants. If your MLS implements them, having clear policies and procedures surrounding them is a good thing, both in terms of communicating with subscribers and ensuring that the programmers implementing your listing input and other MLS functions are reflecting MLS organizational decisions.
The subject of “coming soon” listings in the MLS was first discussed extensively at Clareity’s MLS Executive Workshop. Registration for the next Workshop has just re-opened.
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