Coming Soon – The Ethical Quandary

Over the last few years, there has been a surge in the use of “Coming Soon” advertising for homes. The increase can be traced to Zillow’s introduction of a feature by the same name, but has expanded to the common use by real estate agents of sign riders promoting homes “Coming Soon” to the market. It seems like a straightforward idea, but recently, the National Association of Realtors came out with a strong warning about the practice:

“A broker’s decision to market a seller’s property as ‘coming soon’ must always be made based on the client’s informed determination of what best serves the client’s interests… failing to disclose the pros and cons of a limited marketing plan such as ‘coming soon’ advertising, can violate state real estate license laws and regulations…”

I like the “Coming Soon” advertising because if people are driving around looking at houses, I want them to know we have one coming on the market and they might want to wait a few days before making an offer on another property. So why is there opposition to a seemingly simple strategy? Well, everything a broker does has to be for the benefit of the seller, not the broker. Here are a couple of the concerns:
• It can be seen as restrictive in terms of Fair Housing Laws.
• If the home is sold before being exposed to the entire market, the seller is missing the chance for a competitive situation and therefore cannot be confident of getting the highest price.
• The broker or agent can be seen as trying to represent both sides of the transaction – increasing his or her income at the expense of the seller receiving offers from the open marketplace.

I believe that the “Coming Soon“ strategy can be beneficial, but needs to be used carefully. While there are definitely stories of abuse, brokerages watch this closely. If an agent has a pattern of representing both sides on homes that never hit the market, the agent and brokerage are at risk of being sued and losing their license.

With this in mind, it has always been and will continue to be our policy that if a home is marketed as “Coming Soon,” offers are not considered until the home is on the MLS. It’s the only way to put the sellers’ best interests first.

rew_voakpacificlogoScott Voak, MBA – Broker

Managing Partner
CalBRE #: 01436430

16710 Bernardo Center Dr., San Diego, CA 92128

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