You may call them coming-soon listings, pocket listings, or something else, but many in the real estate industry call them a problem. To address the growing use of coming-soon listings—and growing discontent with the practice—NAR in May 2020 adopted the Clear Cooperation Policy, which helps ensure all consumers have access to the same housing opportunities.
But how does the Clear Cooperation Policy work? And what if an MLS has added a “coming soon” or similar status? Find out below.
Note: Check with your local MLS to see if it has adopted additional rules related to coming-soon listings.
What does the Clear Cooperation Policy say?
The policy states that within one business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Business days exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
What is considered public marketing?
Public marketing means any time the listing information is provided outside the listing brokerage. It can include fliers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital marketing (email), and multi-brokerage listing sharing networks.
Can a seller or listing broker opt out of the policy’s obligations?
Does the Clear Cooperation Policy prohibit office exclusives?
No. Direct promotion of the listing between license holders affiliated with the sponsoring broker—and one-to-one promotion between these license holders and their clients—is not considered public marketing.
Common examples include divorce situations and celebrity clients. The listing broker is allowed to market a property among the license holders affiliated with his or her listing brokerage. However, if an office exclusive is displayed or advertised to the general public, the listing agent is then required to comply with the policy.
COMING SOON STATUS
If an MLS has established a “coming soon” status that shares listing data with all MLS participants, does that comply with the cooperation requirements of the policy?
Yes. Listing the property as “coming soon” will comply with the Clear Cooperation Policy. Be sure to check that your MLS has such a status.
Can a broker decide whether a listing can be marked as “coming soon” in the MLS?
No. The decision to list a property as “coming soon” should be the seller’s. Otherwise, a listing broker may be at risk of violating the Code of Ethics, breaching fiduciary duties outlined in TREC rule 531.1, and possibly violating fair housing laws. TREC advertising rules may also apply. “Coming soon” status is not intended to give the listing broker a competitive advantage and cannot be used to circumvent the Clear Cooperation Policy.
Can a broker list property in the MLS as “coming soon” without a listing agreement?
No. The MLS rules require a broker to have a signed listing agreement or certification before submitting a property to the MLS, even if it’s not ready to show.
Can a listing broker show a “coming soon” home to one agent but not others?
Yes, but only if the seller directs the listing broker to allow the showing. Otherwise, a property listed as “coming soon” should not be open to showings. Also, be careful to avoid any practices that violate—or may appear to violate—fair housing rules, such as restricting individuals belonging to protected classes from viewing the property.
Can a “coming soon” property go under contract before going active in the MLS?
Yes. If the sellers wish to sell the property before the listing goes active, it is their right to do so. However, MLS rules may still require that the sale be reported to the MLS.
What if the Seller does not want their property listed on MLS?
If a listing agent began actively marketing a property as a “pocket listing’ on sites like Facebook, prior to making it available under any status in the MLS, and after a number of days of doing this adds it to the MLS as active & withdraws the listing on the same day (thus, it’s no longer active in less than 24 hrs), but subsequently continues markets it to the public on Facebook groups as a ‘pocket listing’, does making it “active” in the MLS for less than 24 hours satisfy the Clear Cooperation requirement?
The Clear Cooperation Policy is one of the worst policies NAR has adopted in recent years. We espouse ourselves as professionals, yet our own parent organization doesn’t have faith enough in us professionals to market and sell our client’s properties in the best manor possible. Not every every property needs to be listed on the MLS. Sometimes the best way to sell a property is to market it outside of those confines. The choice should be that of the Client not our industry’s trade association. Ultimately this is a disservice to our clients and a slap in the face to… Read more »
Help me understand how this policy hurts a client trying to sell the property. The client wants to sell the property for the highest possible amount and usually in the shortest amount of time. By marketing it in MLS, greater amounts of views will allow the market price to be achieved and the time on market reduced. The only incentive that is achieved with a pocket listing is for the agent or office to capture both sides of the transaction, even at the cost of getting the client the results they could achieve.
There are several reasons the CLIENT may not want their home listed on MLS nor any public-facing website. Just because you may not have had clients in this situation or can’t think of reasons why a client might go this route doesn’t mean those reasons don’t exist. Our industry has been taken over by big-tech and their data collection practices, this policy is a result of that.
If you’re referring to Big Z absorbing various platforms that realtors use, you are right.
I agree it is the decision of the seller to either accept or decline offers whether or not it’s a pocket listing in regards to Clear Cooperation policies. As the realtor in this mix, we can only advise the client and not force them to do something illegal in regards to Fair Housing laws. Personally I would disclose all that I know to the client about their choices lest I get my license revoked by TREC.
How long can you have coming soon sign before it goes live?