Update 7/10/2013 Just got PreMLS.com and have launched in 6 cities in the US.
The legend has it that once upon a time there was one book per real estate office that had each real estate home for sale. Likely updated MONTHLY! Then the data moved to computers, but only for agents to see, and then the data went online where the agent OR the buyer could check it WEEKLY for new homes.
Then consumers demanded faster, so Realtors got fancy and delivered DAILY email alerts for new listings. That was earth shaking. But that wasn’t good enough. Sites like FranklyMLS.com started offering nearly INSTANT ALERTS for new listings. Beating out other buyers.
But now the time has come. To be even faster. Even more Instant-er!
Are we talking mere seconds? No. How about going Back to the Future and knowing what will be on the MLS BEFORE IT HAPPENS!! And in a large quantity! Possibly 10-20% of the marketplace one day.
How is that possible?
Consumers demanded it, so Frankly made it, and the Agent community embraced it.
A FREE agent-only Facebook forum for Coming Soon homes! Over 1,000 agents and dozens of brokerage firms have joined in the last few weeks alone. 100s of homes (literally) have been added to the forum. I thank all the agents that have helped grow it to the size it is today and will be in the future.
Is this idea new? Kind of. But not. Going back to the prehistoric times of the book in the office, another Coming Soon was commonplace. At the traditional Tuesday meeting, all the agents would go around the room and verbally share what that agent has coming soon. Sometimes this is referred to as a POCKET LISTING (that phrase has 10 definitions depending on who you talk to, also called Private or Exclusive Listings see L&F talk about it sometimes being bad here, this new service is NOT the bad type).
This new coming soon forum is a virtual version of the office stand up and announce system, but across 50 brokerage firms and 1,000 agents (hopefully more after this).
Before some of you Freak out! Let me preempt the common agent misunderstandings:
1) It is against MRIS (the local MLS gatekeeper) rules to advertise coming soon homes.
Reply: Nobody has yet to show me exactly where this rule is. It doesn’t exist as far as I can see. If it did, then the decades long process of standing up in the office and announcing what you have would be “illegal.” Or those “coming soon” signs sold at the local associations would be like selling Marijuana pipes and claiming it doesn’t increase pot smoking.
Oh, and MRIS hosted a Coming Soon forum last week, so there goes that argument! D’oh!
2) One pissed agent posted: “A listing agent representing the seller in this market is doing the client no favor what so ever [sic] to sell it before putting it into the MLS period.” Actual quote!! This guy was pissed. I love the “period.”
Reply: First of all, this agent works for a company that does the stand up announcement of coming soon listings and was not seen performing ear muffs or running out of the office when agents were verbally sharing homes coming up. Secondly, this person didn’t read the rules and suggested use. The PreMLS postings (unlike the MLS that requires a home be immediately available) does not mean you have to sell it before it hits the MLS. Heck you don’t even need to allow showings before it hits the MLS! Some might say “well then what good is that.” Easy to answer by one replier to the above commenter that stated “Sellers love the idea of generating pre-market excitement about their listings”. In this marketplace homes sell in 2-3 days. That is crazy! Do you think 100% of buyers get to see it? No way! It is hard to even schedule a showing that fast (for some firms, not us). So why not let 1,000 agents get a heads up that a hot home will come up in X days. Put everyone on notice to not go out of town, or whatever.
Or others might welcome showings before it is on the MLS. Why? In this market?! Well, many reasons.
a) Not every home sells immediately in a bidding war, the average is still like 30 days.
b) The listing agent can use the looming MLS listing like some use the 1st open house with a “we want X or we will post it tomorrow on the MLS.”
c) Some don’t want their home swarmed or pillaged by strangers. Have you seen this video? If a buyer wants to offer cash and full list, or heck $25k to not list it… the seller might just like that. It is all negotiable, and having a great agent to navigate that, matters.
CONSUMER QUESTIONS (all in all every consumer I have spoken to loves it)
1) Why isn’t this public?
If the home was ready for the public, it would be on the MLS and the MLS doesn’t have a “Coming Soon” system (it does have Temp Off, which your buyer agent should know about! but we are not allowed to show those on FranklyMLS or any site). And sellers don’t want to be bombarded by potentially unqualified buyers before they are even ready- that’s why i said sellers would want the info shared only with Realtors.
Some agents do already post coming soons on Craigslist or with a “Coming Soon” sign in the yard (A warning, is the agent putting the CS sign in order to try and get a double commission? Just make sure all of their actions are being done for their client’s best interest, and not for the agent). Bottom line is, if the agent and seller wanted it public, they would, but they usually aren’t, so in this forum they feel comfortable sharing the heads up to other agents, so it is thriving.
2) As a buyer how can I learn about the homes?
Ask your agent!! Have them Facebook friend me over at www.Facebook.com/FrankLLosa and ask me to add them to the NoVa group, DC group or MD (Montgomery County). And of course (come on, I have spent 100-200 hours on this, I can do one little plug) if you don’t have an agent, nope, we are not too busy for you. See Video to prove it, and reach out.
3) As a seller how can I make sure my home is added?
Ask your agent to put you on there!! I also recommend posting the home immediately upon signing the Listing Agreement. Just the basic details such as “Coming Soon Arlington Condo 22201 in Clarendon 1021, 2 bdr, low $600s, photos to come later.” or more details if you want. In the comments photos and exact price can be added later (it moves it to the top).
We ask that it not be a one way street. While an agents doesn’t have to put ALL of their Premls listings on there (because each home and seller is different), I don’t want agents just using the forum for their buyers and not sharing their listings. Otherwise the group will never grow and the goal is to get 10-20% of ALL MLS homes to be listed here first. This is a hard feat. Other tidbit: the forum isn’t for Rentals, Want ads, or already listed homes and Open Houses.
I know some don’t get it or appreciate this, but this was done to initially help our Frankly clients. Help them not settle for that wrong house when the perfect house might be hitting in 2 weeks. I obsess about helping our clients, but I believe this will help everyone.
Love to hear your comments! Nothing worse than somebody walking up to me during cherry picking (true story) and saying “I have read all your blog posts before I bought, they were great,” to which I reply “not great enough, if you didn’t hire me”, and after the awkward silence, I laughed “No problem, but next time you like a read, at least add your comments, or retweet, nobody likes a quiet post!”
Update 10am: We have our first official sale! 100% premarket. We have had reports of tons of premarket showings, but I hadn’t heard of a sale until today! If you aren’t on here… you are missing out!
Written by Frank Borges LLosa Esq. and not some ghost writer.
Principal Broker Frankly Real Estate Inc MD DC VA
Attorney only in NJ
Favorite photo yet of my sons Tayo 6 mo (next week) and Hartly 3 years last week.
Ps. Upcoming post on how the registered portion of FranklyMLS is no longer open to those with another non-Frankly agent (see video).
P.p.s. Please report typos.