MLS & Associations

New MLS listing status aimed at ‘quandary’ of ‘Coming Soon’ listings

San Antonio Realtors can indicate that listing agreement is signed, but house not ready to show

The multiple listing service of the San Antonio Board of Realtors is the latest to launch a new listing status that will allow its members to add their listings to the MLS before officially putting them on the market.

The status is called “Scheduled Activation” and is similar to the “Coming Soon” status that other MLSs have either rolled out or will roll out soon, including the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS, Rockville, Maryland-based Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. (MRIS) and Silicon Valley-based MLSListings Inc.

The new listing status was created in order to foster more cooperation among its more than 8,000 members and to adapt to consumers’ changing needs, the San Antonio Board said.

Angela Shields, SABOR’s president and CEO, said the move was “a bold decision” driven by the membership at large.

“Like most MLSs across the country, we are recognizing that the way that our agents and our brokers are working within real estate has changed and we needed to do something for our brokers to have our MLS more match the way that they are doing their business,” Shields said.

The MLS requires that agents enter a property into the MLS within 72 hours of getting a listing agreement signed and that was putting agents in a “quandary” when their listings weren’t yet ready to show, she said.

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“(The new status) was an attempt to give them a little more time, to accommodate their needs … so they would have more opportunity to get the listings and the data into the MLS,” Shields said.

As in other markets, as the San Antonio market became more competitive, some agents had also begun to market their listings before putting them in the MLS (sometimes called premarketing or pre-MLS listings) or weren’t putting them into the MLS at all (sometimes called pocket listings or off-MLS listings).

“By allowing it to go into the database, it’s allowing all information to be available to everyone in advance,” Shields said.

“It’s more inclusive … instead of the agents having to rely on their own means to share the information prior,” she added.

SABOR worked with its MLS platform vendor, dynaConnections, to design the new listing status and it went live last month. Agents must still enter a listing into the MLS within 72 hours, but they now have the option to enter it as a “Scheduled” listing or an active listing. If the listing is scheduled, agents must submit a seller’s authorization form and an activation date. On that date, the status will automatically roll over to “New.”

Listings can be in scheduled status for up to 14 days. Days on market do not accrue until activation.

Scheduled listings have their own separate search function and do not appear as results in a standard listing search, SABOR said. The only listing information available to members other than the listing agent is the listing’s address, who the listing broker is, and the activation date.

Listing agents would be able to add photos and any documents having to do with the listing, but those would not be viewable to other members until the activation date.

This is why the association chose to call the new listing status “Scheduled Activation” rather than “Coming Soon,” Shields said  — to “more accurately reflect what we were actually doing.”

Scheduled listings are not syndicated to third-party sites or agent or broker Internet data exchange (IDX) sites until they become active. Buyer’s agents would be able to share the information they have about the listings with clients, but there is no function built into the MLS to email that information. If they were looking for more details on a particular listing, they would have to call the listing agent, Shields said.

Whether a scheduled listing is available for showings or has a “Coming Soon” yard sign out front is up to the listing agent, she said. The same is true if the agent wants to post information about the listing on Facebook or email out that information to registered users on his or her website.

“We personally would not restrict anyone from marketing their listings. That’s going to be a broker’s decision,” Shields said.

The only caveat is that scheduled listings should not be advertised as active, she said.