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.


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.