"COMING SOON!" Does It Mean SELLING Soon?
We've all seen the signs: COMING SOON! But what exactly does it mean and more importantly is it an effective way to sell property? Does advertising a new listing before it actively hits the market for sale hold any particular advantages to the Seller? The answer is that it depends.
The Coming Soon concept
The premise is simple: A home has been listed by the owner with a real estate company with a targeted 'start date' to begin the active marketing (typically MLS listing, buyer and agent showings, Open Houses, etc.) During the interim time between signing the listing agreement and beginning this active pursuit of Buyers, the listing company places a yard sign in front of the house with the message, "Coming Soon!" The hope is to attract the interest of potential Buyers who might be actively looking for homes in the area.
The 'old school' Coming Soon campaign
The efforts noted above alone can constitute a Coming Soon campaign. Nothing all that fancy or sophisticated, just a sign out front telling passersby that the home will be coming on the market. In addition, the listing agent may create and distribute fliers, network to other agents, or otherwise promote their Coming Soon listing in advance of it becoming an Active listing.
A new twist for a Coming Soon campaign
Recently, here in Northern Virginia, our local MLS service began to offer a new category in the MLS for "Coming Soon" listings. Now, an agent has the option (with the Seller's written permission) to place their new listing into Coming Soon status within the MLS, however, there are some restrictions:
* Coming Soon status can only be used prior to a listing becoming Active ("For Sale")
* There is a limit of 21 Days maximum for a home to be listed in Coming Soon status
* If the 21 Days expires and the listing is not updated to Active status, it will be removed
* If taken out of Coming Soon status for any reason, the listing may not return to that status
* While in Coming Soon, the listing is NOT shared outside of the MLS (on public websites)
* While in Coming Soon, the property is NOT available for showings by other Agents
Does a Coming Soon campaign work?
The effectiveness of any Coming Soon effort - - as well as other marketing efforts to sell a home - - depends on certain factors and variables. How strong is the demand for housing? Are homes selling relatively quickly? If so, a concerted Coming Soon campaign may reap benefits for a savvy Seller and their Agent by creating early 'built up' interest in the property.
Another consideration is the location of the property (think product placement in your local grocery store). Does the property have adequate 'drive by' traffic? Are there other homes nearby that are currently For Sale, particularly if you must drive by your home to get to those other homes? If so, then a Coming Soon sign in your yard at a minimum is some free advertising for you. Of course, you may actually slow down a potential Buyer who was considering that neighboring home, but now wants to see yours before they decide.
The flip side is that the market may not be strong and in fact may be glutted with available homes, potentially making a Coming Soon sign less meaningful due to the lack of urgency in the marketplace. And regarding location, having a sign out front of a home sited at the end of a street or otherwise difficult to see would diminish the 'free advertising' aspect of this approach.
A final thought regarding Coming Soon campaigns
We at The Art of Real Estate Team have used Coming Soon campaigns in the past for our clients with mixed results. Much of this is due to the market factors or property location as discussed above. Sometimes there are no calls during the Coming Soon phase and the home simply hits the Active market like any other listing. Other times, we receive calls of interest that have lead to showings and eventually contracts for our Seller clients. On one occasion, a Coming Soon sign in the front yard was noticed by a neighbor who called their friends who they knew were looking for a home in the area. The result? An initial showing, then a follow-up showing, both before the home was slated to go Active on the market. And a full price, all-cash contract was signed!
So, you can see that the experience will vary, but there is one constant that our Team believes in regarding Coming Soon efforts: A Seller should only accept a contract during a Coming Soon phase if that contract is strong and is likely better than what another 'ready, willing' and able' Buyer would offer. Otherwise, we advise our clients to gain the advantage of being fully marketed and actively offered for sale to the masses.
So, in our book, "Coming Soon" means "Sold" only if it's good for the Seller.
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