A new marketing initiative by Compass will allow agents to post listings days before they appear on the market — even as conversation around so-called ‘sneak peek’ listings heat up.
Compass Coming Soon, which rolled out in all but New York and Washington D.C. last week, is a tactic for Compass agents to get a head start on marketing before properties are listed on multiple listing services and real estate portals like Zillow and realtor.com. The marketing feature will be available in New York and Washington D.C. later this week.
Unlike the more secretive whisper or pocket listings for properties outside the MLS, Compass Coming Soon shows buyers properties that will eventually appear on the open market — but first pre-markets them to an agent’s base of clients.
“By harnessing the power of pre-marketing, [the listing] actually shows up twice in everyone’s alerts: once when it hits Compass.com, and again when it hits the open market, doubling potential exposure,” Compass CEO Robert Reffkin told agents in an email obtained by The Real Deal. According to Reffkin, agents were already sharing their listings ahead of time on social media — and so they launched a way for them to do it through the Compass site.
“We are excited to extend the same Coming Soon offering to clients that brokerages across the industry, such as Redfin, have been providing for some time,” a Compass spokesperson told Inman in an email.
But while Zillow and Redfin have long offered agents the chance to promote upcoming listings, the real estate industry has ramped up scrutiny of whisper listings and similar marketing ploys. In March, the Real Estate Board Of New York (REBNY), the city’s powerful trade group, attempted to pass rules that would curb more exclusive whisper listings. The group dropped the proposal following significant pushback from major brokerages.
REBNY currently has a co-brokerage agreement requiring all members who post listings publicly to share them with other brokerages and websites. Sources told the Real Deal that the trade group would defend this agreement vigorously.
While some argued that sneak-peek listings still give brokerages a way to control inventory and direct clients away from others, they are not the same as whisper listings in that they are accessible to anyone who goes on the brokerage’s site.
Indeed, early or exclusive listings are extremely common, particularly among high-end clients who expect to know about a property before it hits the market. Some of the properties currently listed in Compass’ off-market category include a $3.95 million mountain villa in Aspen and a $5.3 million home in the Hamptons.