Real Estate Listing Previews: When It Might Be Too Soon for the “Coming Soon”

We’ve all seen it. A real estate agent, eager to promote a new listing, proudly announces on social media that the listing is “coming soon.” When used appropriately, good “coming soon” announcements can be effective. Potential buyers are intrigued at the possibility of beating a listing to the market. Like a movie teaser trailer, a “coming soon” announcement can plant the seed of curiosity that might blossom into an offer.

However, preview listings also present hazards for real estate agents and their clients. In addition to running afoul of state and local laws and regulations and the rules governing realtors, a preview listing might not be in the client’s best interest. An agent, overzealous for a full commission, might push the preview listing a bit too hard to quickly snatch an unrepresented buyer and cut another agent out of the deal. When this thwarts the client’s opportunity to fetch a higher sales price through a fully marketed listing, the preview listing serves only the agent’s needs — not the client’s.

Striking a balance between the interests of the agent and client might be delicate in this context, but the rules governing preview listings are not so complicated:

  1. Owner authorization is required. Under Louisiana law, agents cannot market a property without first obtaining written authorization:

No broker or licensee sponsored by said broker shall in any way advertise property belonging to other persons as being for sale or rent or place a sign on any such property offering the property for sale or rent without first obtaining the written authorization to do so by all owners of the property or their authorized attorney in fact.

This effectively requires the agent to have a signed listing agreement before marketing the preview listing. In addition, as with all real estate advertisements, the preview listing must be done in the name under which the agent’s broker does business and under the broker’s supervision.

  1. Realtors must post listings on the MLS in a timely manner. The rules governing realtors often require listings to be posted on the multiple listing service within a certain time after the client signs a listing agreement or the listing otherwise becomes “effective.” Under New Orleans rules, for instance, listings must be posted within 72 hours of the effective date of the listing. 
  1. The agent’s interests must not be put above the client’s. Agents owe a fiduciary duty to put their clients’ interests first. If the “coming soon” announcement is used to “hook” a dual agency — and a higher commission for the agent — at the expense of the client, the agent has breached his or her fiduciary duty.

In short, “coming soon” listing announcements are a good tool when used appropriately. Agents should take care to follow the rules of their local realtor associations — and the law — to avoid violating obligations to their clients.

At Athena, we always put our clients’ interests first — it’s in our culture. To learn more about Athena, call or email us. We’d love to hear from you.

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