In an aggressive real estate market, being prepared and equipped benefits all sides of the deal. One independent brokerage in Texas hopes to help both buyers and sellers gain an early competitive edge with its “coming soon” listings.

  • Realty Austin now features coming soon listings as a search criteria option.
  • Coming soon could help buyers in a competitive market while allowing sellers quicker market-to-close time, the company says.
  • Realty Austin manages seven offices with 350 local Realtors.
Realty Austin

Jeff Burke, Director of Technology / Realty Austin

In an aggressive real estate market, being prepared and equipped benefits all sides of the deal. One independent brokerage in Texas hopes to help both buyers and sellers gain an early competitive edge with its “coming soon” listings.

As an Inman Top Innovator winner this year and Real Trends’ runner-up for best overall brokerage website in 2015, Realty Austin knows a thing or two about modernization.

Realty Austin’s Coming Soon feature is not a new tool for the independent real estate company. Two weeks ago, however, Realty Austin began pulling pre-listed homes directly from the MLS. Prior to that, Realty Austin offered pre-MLS Coming Soon listings on its website and incorporated them into an email marketing strategy for sellers.

Beyond allowing buyers the opportunity to explore early, Coming Soon helps listing agents analyze a home’s desirability before it goes active, providing marketing insight.

“Austin is an extremely competitive marketplace,” said Jeff Burke, director of technology at Realty Austin. “If a buyer really likes the appeal of a specific property, they can be prepared with a contract in hand as soon as the property becomes active in the MLS.”

Sound familiar?

Zillow released its Coming Soon feature back in 2014, allowing agents, brokers and MLS organizations to advertise up to 30 days before listing as active. The home search site allows a 30-day extension, after which point listings are taken down. Essentially, Zillow’s Coming Soon is a 60-day allowance for individual Premier agents (or brokers with a prior established relationship) to market early.

Not all Coming Soon listings are created equal, Burke explains. Now that Realty Austin is pulling listings from the MLS, certain standards must be followed. Zillow’s Coming Soon listings are not pulled directly from the MLS, and therefore are not regulated by the MLS.

Coming Soon listings in the MLS provide more accuracy in terms of timing and information on a property,” he said. “They are subject to certain rules and regulations that prevent a listing from just being placed on Zillow as ‘ lead bait’ to attract buyers as a source of leads for a buyer agent.”

Per MLS rules, Realty Austin’s Coming Soon listings are live for 14 days before switching to active for sale. If no changes are made after two weeks, the home is placed as temporarily off-market, which Burke says is particularly unfavorable for sellers.

After the 14 days, a home cannot be listed as Coming Soon again.

Austin’s ambitious market 

Austin buyers still face an increasingly competitive market. According to Realty Austin’s market statistics, the median price for single-family homes jumped 9.4 percent year-over-year to reach $289,990.

Inventory dropped 6 percent in the past year to slightly over 3,000 new listings, while sold properties increased 5.3 percent compared to August 2015, the brokerage says.

However, buyers aren’t the only group who gain from budding opportunities.

“Sellers benefit from marketing a Coming Soon in several ways. First, it allows them to see how the market reacts to the listing in terms of price consideration,” Burke said. “Is the home priced high, low, or just right?”

Time on the market is only calculated after a listing is made active, which Burke says helps listing agents demonstrate their pricing abilities to sell in the shortest period of time. 

Interestingly, market data shows the average home in Austin spends 42 days on the market, while Realty Austin claims an average of merely 28 days on its website.

Locking down a Coming Soon listing

Prospective buyers can search solely for Coming Soon listings pulled from the Austin MLS or include this category in their general search criteria. Realty Austin also features off-MLS pocket listings for buyers to peruse.

However, buyers who find their dream home listed as Coming Soon can’t schedule a showing and make an offer conventionally – at least not until the home becomes active.

Technically, sellers are not supposed to make a property available for showing while in Coming Soon status,” Burke explained. “A buyer can make an offer to purchase a property at anytime, but in this case, it would be site unseen.”

Realty Austin formed in 2004 and now operates seven offices throughout the Austin metro and had around $2 billion in sales last year.

Email Jennifer Riner

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