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Real estate association putting a stop to longterm 'off-market' listings, 'coming soon' signs

A new policy by the National Association of Realtors hopes to give buyers all the options.

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The practice of putting up "coming soon" signs might not appear controversial, but when a buyer asks their real estate agent to look up that property and they can't find it until it's too late, things can get tricky. 

"And they call and say, 'hey Kelly, I'm excited about this place, let's go see it,'" said Kelly Moye, the spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors. "And I say, 'well I can't find, it I'll wait until it comes on the market.' Then I see it come on and it's under contract already." 

Moye said this happens all the time. 

She said real estate companies or agents will sometimes only market through signs, social media, or on their own office website, and never put it on the public multiple listing service until there's a deal underway.

"So as a Realtor, you're hoping 'maybe I can get my own client to buy it, maybe I'll make more money if I do it this way,'" Moye said. "I mean realistically it's not looking out for your client. It's looking out for yourself."

The National Association of Realtors wanted this practice to stop, and it voted in a policy at its membership meeting on Monday to force agents affiliated with the MLS to post their properties there if they are already marketing them publicly elsewhere. 

"It's not that they cannot do a 'coming soon' cause they still can," said Greg Zadel, the NAR chair of the MLS Committee. "The difference is now you need to let the rest of the MLS participants know about it so that all the buyers and sellers know about it." 

Realtors have one business day after putting up a 'coming soon' sign to also post the home on the MLS.

"We might see slightly more properties hit the market which is good," Zadel said.

People against the policy have argued it prevents sellers from testing the market or maintaining privacy.

But Moye said "it's just making it more fair."

The policy goes into effect in the new year and local multiple listing services will each come up with their own penalties for agents who don't comply. 

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