Lately, you may have seen real estate lawn signs with a “Coming Soon” rider, indicating the property isn’t for sale yet, but it soon will be. While most Realtors use this sign appropriately, some do not. If you’re thinking of selling your house and your agent suggests using such a sign, here’s what you need to know.
If your Realtor is using the sign to build interest in the property before it is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), that’s fine. If a real estate agent is trying to double-end the sale without allowing your property to get full market exposure, that’s not okay. Double-ending a sale is when a Realtor represents the buyer and seller in a given transaction. I have no problem with double-ending a sale, but I do have a problem when an agent uses it to his or her own benefit rather than for the benefit of clients.
If you’re selling your house and your Realtor suggests a Coming Soon sign, here are some things to consider.
Good Reasons for a Coming Soon Sign
If you, as the seller, aren’t quite ready to list the house but you want to start building excitement about the upcoming offering, that’s fine. Maybe you need to finish up some repairs or you want to move out before the house is shown. Maybe it’s a divorce situation and a few lingering legal issues need to be resolved before the house can be listed. Maybe the property is part of a trust or estate and there’s paperwork to complete before the house can be sold. Once these issues are resolved, the house is listed and your Realtor makes the property available for all prospective buyers to see. The agent does NOT withhold information from other agents about the property in hopes of finding his or her own buyers with the express purpose of representing both ends of the sale.
If your agent uses the Coming Soon sign to stall while he or she comes up with prospective buyers, find a new agent. In fact, look for a Realtor. What’s the difference between an agent and a Realtor? An agent simply has to pass the test and pay the fee to get licensed. They are legally bound to doing what’s best for the client—in this case, the seller. A Realtor signs a far more in-depth code of ethics, demonstrating a more serious commitment to this ethical obligation.
Bad Reasons for a Coming Soon Sign
Any time prospective buyers are eliminated from the pool of buyers, the seller is damaged. Buyers represented by another real estate office who never saw the property may have been willing to pay a higher price (or perhaps pay a higher interest rate if seller financing was involved). Or, they may have been willing to have a shorter/longer escrow, more in line with seller preferences, or simply be the buyers who would love the house the way the sellers did.
As long as your Realtor is transparent about the pros and cons of using a Coming Soon sign, you’re in good shape. As a rule, it’s best for the seller to have their property listed on the MLS so all buyers can compete for it. However, if a quick sale is preferable to a higher sales price, and the seller benefits from the transaction, then it’s all good.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.