Delivering the Truth: Coming Soon & MLS Data Accuracy
Have you ever worked with a buyer for over two months, showing them over a dozen properties?
If so, you understand the excitement that happens when a listing agent places a new property meeting your buyer’s criteria in the MLS. You quickly schedule a showing. Your buyers want you to make an offer immediately so they don’t lose this new property. You talk to them about offering over the list price, since you expect fierce competition for such a quality property just coming onto the MLS.
While this process unfolds, you have a sense that you have been here before. As you drop everything to focus on quickly preparing an offer over the list price, you stumble across a Facebook post advertising the same property a few weeks ago as “Coming Soon.” Then you find the posts about an open house. Your frustration grows. It’s clear that this property has been on the market for some time, but as you stare at the listing in the MLS it shows one day on market.
What is really going on here?
Do your clients really have to offer over the list price for a property that has been marketed for some time but is still available? You now question yourself as to what type of advice to provide your buyer.
How do you explain to them the inaccuracy of Days on Market currently showing in the MLS?
The MLS Rules Protect Both Sides of the Transaction
Many agents that focus on the listing side of the business complain about the rules and regulations surrounding mandatory submission of a listing into the MLS. Some don’t like how any marketing activities count towards the Days on Market (DOM) calculation. They argue that the MLS exists to help owners sell their properties, and that it would do its job better if only the days the property was listed inside the MLS were counted as DOM.
CRMLS represents more than just listing agents. CRMLS is a broker cooperative that exists to create an efficient and fair marketplace. Brokers representing both buyers and sellers can clearly communicate and cooperate with one another in representing their clients.
For this cooperation to work, the rules and regulations need to be fair and beneficial to both sides of the transaction.
The rules and systems cannot only help sellers. Buyer agents have every right to expect accurate information and truthful representations about the historical marketing activities of every property listed in the MLS. This includes knowing about the time that any individual property saw marketing activity prior to being entered into the MLS. On the other side of the transaction, listing agents preparing comparative market analysis so as to make accurate recommendations to their sellers require truthful information about the market – including Days on Market.
The Informed Seller Decides How to Market Their Property
A listing agent that markets a property as “Coming Soon” does not violate any CRMLS rule. CRMLS believes that the seller makes the decisions on how to market property after receiving fully informed recommendations from a qualified listing broker. The seller’s decision may include some period of time to prepare the property for the marketplace and/or some level of marketing prior to entry into the MLS.
However, while CRMLS contains no rules limiting the ability of the listing broker and their seller to market the property, CRMLS has rules to ensure that whatever marketing does occur is properly and truthfully reflected in the MLS.
The MLS as the Source of Truth
No matter how you work as a real estate professional, the MLS needs to function as a “source of truth” for you to do your job:
- Every buyer representative has the right to know of any pre-MLS marketing activities.
- Other listing agents who make recommendations and provide opinions to potential sellers should also have full information about the actual period of time a property took to be marketed and sold.
- The appraisal community, too, heavily relies upon the accuracy of the information in the MLS database to provide accurate appraisals based upon marketing time and other factors.
The accuracy of information in the MLS is what makes the market work.
While “Coming Soon” marketing stirs a lot of debate, that debate should not be interpreted as a lack of support for providing truthful information in the MLS. All subscribers and participants using the MLS database should fully support and cooperate with the ideal that each MLS listing contain a truthful representation of the marketing history for that property. CRMLS will continue to support this goal by delivering truthful and accurate information to the tens of thousands of users who rely on us every day.
To assist you in that endeavor, we have recently prepared some additional materials explaining this process, the rules surrounding it, and how CRMLS seeks to deliver you the truth. Visit https://kb.crmls.org/knowledgebase/coming-soon-faqs/ or read the document embedded here to learn more.
EDIT 8/28/2019: Please note that the Coming Soon FAQs listed below only apply to CRMLS Matrix users. Additional information is forthcoming for San Diego Paragon users.
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The CRMLS Citation and Warning Notices have been revised to an easier-to-read format. The new format now includes:
- A new Corrective Action field, making it easier to understand what is required to correct the violation
- An identifiable deadline for required corrective action, making it easier to find
- Additional Compliance Resource links that provide more information
CRMLS Citation & Suspension Notice
CRMLS Warning Notice