New MLS “Coming Soon” Status Exciting & Problematic
12 months ago, RMLS came up with their “Coming Soon” status, with the idea that it would tackle the challenge of buyers and agents missing out on houses that were being listed because they were selling so fast! Houses were being sold at such a rapid pace that unless a buyer or agent was actively on the computer that day, they might miss it.
But now with the newly introduced feature of their “Coming Soon” status that is only available for Realtors, Realtors will be able to see what is coming on the market for up to 3 weeks in advance. This means that even if properties aren’t on the market yet, your agent would know to keep an eye out for it.
Sounds great! In theory…
Universally, all realtors were excited about the concept! We found it a benefit to our sellers because once the home was activated on RMLS, there could be many showings on the house the first day (for example 15+ showings on the first day rather than them being spread out for an entire week). This surge of activity could create a sense of real urgency, demand, and could lead to multiple offers.
But what most Realtors were unaware of was that the “Coming Soon” status would come with a book of rules created by the Board of RMLS that dictates when the agents and sellers can introduce their home.
Here are some of those rules:
- While the property is listed as “Coming Soon”, both the selling and listing agents cannot show the home to anyone while the home is in that status. RMLS will penalize an agent up to $1,000 if they show a home prior to it being active.
- The agents are no longer allowed to advertise or send out any preliminary marketing on the home prior to it being fully active on RMLS.
- Office exclusive listings, a tool commonly used for the seller who would prefer to have their home for sale confidentially, is still allowed, however RMLS will now track it and penalize agents and their sellers by waiting 30 days before they can place it actively on RMLS.
So Why is this Problematic?
Ultimately, I see these new rules to be in direct conflict of our industry code of ethics that clearly states that we have a fiduciary responsibility to do what’s best for our client.
From my experience, every seller has their own unique needs and requests that pertain to selling their own property. Rarely is the path of selling ever predictable or set in stone!
Oftentimes my clients change their minds midway through the process by being hyper confidential in the beginning to accelerate or delay the selling process as they make this monumental decision. Sometimes they like the idea of showing a house privately. They may begin the process casually, but then the next weekend, they buy a home and they’re immediately motivated to list their home in the RMLS. The new rule requires that they wait 30 days.
Many sellers are drawn to the exclusive nature of selling confidentially because they can test a premium price and if the buyer is interested, they will likely have to pay that premium, as the seller still has the option to list it in RMLS and the purchaser would have to compete to buy the home. Sellers enjoy that negotiation leverage and the buyer is often appreciative of the opportunity to buy the house without competition. If the effort is unsuccessful, the seller and the agent are beneficiaries of gaining preliminary market feedback and can adjust their price or make cosmetic updates accordingly prior to going public on the RMLS.
The MLS Position:
In the summary provided by RMLS explaining why these rules were created, they state that the changes are necessary in due part to agents not placing new listings in the MLS with the intention to potentially represent both the buyer and the seller while earning a larger commission. Additionally, they want to make sure that sellers and their Realtors have the benefit of knowing all their potential buyers, which could create a bidding war. It also states that, “the RMLS core purpose is cooperation and compensation” to ensure that all agents have the fair opportunity to sell the house.
While I am excited about the benefits to buyers and sellers with the new “Coming Soon” status, I do not agree with the new rules. These new restrictions are truly for the benefit of the Realtor majority, not necessarily for the individual homeowner. If a seller wants to show their home, they should have the right to do so as they wish, and if an agent is marketing a home prior to it hitting the market to benefit both the seller and/or his or her self, this is truly free enterprise.
On a final note, the vast majority of all homes go straight into the RMLS, so this truly impacts a limited number of scenarios. These newly implemented rules are in large part to benefit the populous of Realtors, so that all agents have an equal opportunity to sell your home.