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What’s the deal with ‘Coming Soon’ signs?

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POSTED June 27, 2013 9:48 p.m.

Boys: And I start with just ‘boys’ to see if you both are men enough to put my letter in print.  Here goes my question for you...  I have seen over the last few years different real estate signs in front of homes that say “COMING SOON” and very often never see a real “FOR SALE” sign go up.  Honestly, I very seldom, if ever, thought much about the coming soon until my husband and I recently began searching for a home to buy.  We saw a coming soon sign in a neighborhood in which we have always wanted to live.  The coming soon sign was up for well over a month.  We called our Realtor about it and the return call went this way:  The listing agent says yes it’s coming. The Realtor did not have a price yet and was not sure exactly when the home would be on the open market. The other day I drove by the home and saw a young mother getting out of her car with her very new baby and go into the house.  Later that evening the inside lights were on so I surmised they bought the home and are now living in it.  What gives?  Are you Realtors now hogging the listings and not letting the general public have the opportunity to buy your listings from the good old boys club?   Did my Realtor not call?  Did my Realtor not do his or her job?  I dare you to print this and will love your answer if you do print. 
— Darling Dareya
Darling Dareya, The Real Estate Boys love a challenge and even more so when it’s a dare ya one.  We double dog dare you to read and write back to apologize because here we go.  Lloyd, take it away sir.
Thanks, Lar. This situation has been brewing for a number of years and still is not settled.  We Realtors are not real happy to see the “Coming Soon” signs any more than you buyers.  We get calls like yours, call the listing agent and get no information in return.  Then, like you, we see that in a month or so it’s sold.  Problem is there is nothing illegal about this practice.  It is legal for a Realtor to take a listing and not place it on our MLS for all Realtors to see if the sellers are okay with signing a listing agreement that allows one agent or office to sell the property.  Now, while this practice is legal we feel there are some pit falls for the seller and Realtor.  Lar, take it from here please.
Thanks, Lloyd.  Yeah, while it’s legal, the seller may not understand that they may, and I say MAY, not be getting the best price for their home in today’s very competitive market.  How nice it would be to know that you are getting the highest price possible by receiving five offers above and below the asking price verses one from the listing agent.  We are not accusing the listing agent of doing anything that’s not in the sellers’ best interest if he brings the only offer. All we are asking is, is that the best competitive offer possible?  If that listing office brings the only offer the seller will never know.  When I was on the City Council I learned if there is an appearance of a conflict then step down.  In our case here it would be a conflict not to place the home on the MLS.  Lloyd did I go too far there?
Well Lar, yes and no.  Hear me out now before you go into a dither.  This happens quite often, Lar. In fact, we’ve done it a few times recently.  Recall that you sold your son’s house without putting it on MLS.  Just for the sake of Larry here, it did sell to a buyer from another office and it was shown numerous times by a few different agents.  But the point being is that you never received competitive bids, did you?  Then also, in a few cases, we are aware that the listing agents are the owners of these homes where it says “coming soon.” They’re fixing them up while they have those signs up.  You can’t blame a seller trying to save a buck can you? 
A lot of what happens in our market place is due to the current market conditions. For example, recall in the middle of the last up market that the subdivisions were not accepting offers from investors.  And then before that they weren’t taking offers from buyers represented by Realtors, buyers had to deal with the subdivision’s Realtors.  Right or wrong Lar, we live in America and the owners of real property can sell their property on their own. 
Okay, Okay.  You’re right Lloyd.  But also recall when times got tough those subdivisions begged us Realtors to come and bring our investors to the subdivision and make an offer to purchase the homes they couldn’t sell.  Like you said above, though, it all depends on the market conditions, and I guess I have to agree with you.
Larry likes to have the last word as you all can see.  But I’m wrapping this one up.  Dear Darling Dareya, I hope you can understand while you and many Realtors may not like the practice of “COMING SOON” we all need to understand that life just isn’t fair all the time and that America’s business is business. 
— A little about us, Lloyd is a retired farmer of 27 years and a realtor for about 10 years.  Lloyd is an active member of the Central Valley Association of Realtors and sits on the CVAR Board of Directors.  Lloyd is a long time member of CVAR’s Master Club for his sales production.  
 
Larry has been involved in Turlock real estate for 30 years and has been a broker for almost 27 years.  He is also active in CVAR activities and is a past president of CVAR.  If you have questions please call Lloyd at 531-4853 or Larry at 484-4216.  E-mail questions for future columns to: lrblackman@earthlink.net or lndrumbeck@aol.com

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