Coming Soon. Your Seller’s Know about it, you should too.

Despite the headline, the Berkshire Eagle recently published a fairly balanced article about Zillow’s new ‘Coming Soon’ feature.  While the headline read “Zillow a Haven for Early-Bird Sales”, the stories within showed how that isn’t really happening.  Realtors need to have a conversation with their seller’s about this emerging trend, especially when seller’s think that there is only an upside!

Back in June, Sue and I both wrote articles on this emerging practice.. 

While you have a duty to do what is best for your seller client, please arm yourself with factual information on the reality of selling a home without full market exposure.  In some cases this strategy can work, but in many cases it backfires and can undermine your business in the process.  In the short term, agents might pick up a few buyer sales that do not have to be co-brokered through the MLS.  The downside is long term…  The diminishment of a system (MLS) established to offer and accept compensation.  Maybe your sale nets you both sides of a comng soon transaction, but be aware that down the road, all of the co-brokerage sales could also disappear to this practice.  

Consider finally that you need to understand the industry dynamics and changes.  Zillow is capturing consumers at every turn – buyer interest was easy to get, with lots of data and information we wouldn’t provide (tax records, sales history, map locations of listings, etc…  

How does Zillow advertise their value to Buyers?  By showing how THEY are the SOURCE of the data -not you, not the MLS.  “Not only does Zillow have for sale listings, but we also show you for sale by owner (FSBO) homes, foreclosures, new construction, and rentals. We have more than a million listings you won’t find on an MLS.  Consumers can browse hidden inventory.  Be first in line to see U.S. homes not yet on the market, including Zillow’s Coming Soon listings, pre-foreclosures and homes with a Make Me Move® price. This information is found only on Zillow, for free.  Get a starting point on a home’s true value with Zillow’s proprietary Zestimate home value. Zillow also offers Rent Zestimates and Foreclosure Estimates to help you figure out what it’s worth.”

Now, they are targeting sellers.  Clearly you can post this “hidden inventory”, but so can consumers.  Please read the materials, including the Eagle article, do a little research and forearm yourself with factual, relevant information to provide.  Please note that posting a coming soon listing is not unethical or illegal… if used in the right manner and explained clearly to all.Agents must ALWAYS obtain their broker’s permission to engage in a coming soon listing because certain legal / paperwork processes should be followed.