Lately, there’s been a lot of buzz (and anger) about Zillow’s new “Coming Soon listings,” which are properties listed on the Zillow website but not yet on the MLS. They’re basically pocket listings with a wider audience.
You may have seen brokerage signs next to homes in your neighborhood that say, “coming soon,” only to wonder why and when?
In a nutshell, these types of listings are a form of pre-marketing for the listing agent and the seller, who are able to gauge interest from prospective buyers before the home actually hits the market.
This allows them to determine if their asking price makes sense before the property is actually listed for sale on the local MLS. It also supposedly gives the seller time to make repairs and spruce up the property before unloading it.
After all, you don’t want your property to sit on the market forever…that typically results in a price cut.
Additionally, those conducting a home search on Zillow will see Coming Soon listings at the very top of the page, above all other listings. In other words, extra exposure for those too lazy to look at all the homes available in their desired search area.
At the moment, this feature is only available to Zillow Premier Agents or brokerages and MLS’s that have a direct feed to Zillow. So yes, it costs money.
The Dark Side of Coming Soon Listings
While it all sounds great, there’s a potential problem with Coming Soon listings, mainly if the seller is in the dark about the true reason it’s coming soon and not presently listed.
Why? Well, the listing agent can basically throw it up on Zillow as a Coming Soon listing, and then wait for a buyer without representation, all the while using your home as bait.
Then they can double-end the deal, meaning grab the commission on both sides of the transaction by representing both buyer and seller. The trouble starts when another agent representing a potential buyer inquiries about the property.
The listing agent can just brush off the interest and say they’re testing the market and not quite sure what the seller wants to do. No showings at the moment…
In that sense, the seller might not actually get to see all the qualified offers out there, and could actually lose money in the process.
At the same time, the listing agent can get free leads from all the prospective buyers without agents and do nothing to actually sell your property.
End of the day, you shouldn’t want your listing to be limited in any way. The more eyeballs and potential buyers, the higher the offer. Who cares if everyone and their mother knows your home is for sale?
It won’t be your home in the near future if all goes well, so who cares, right? Granted there is a line, and sometimes I feel as if open houses are much more about the listing agent than the seller, but at least you know all qualified buyers are getting a fair shake.