How do I properly execute a listing agreement to advertise a home as “coming soon”?

QUESTION: My client has asked me to advertise their home as “coming soon” while they finish making some repairs. They want me to start advertising the home on Tuesday, but do  not want to allow showings until the following Friday. How should I fill out the marketing dates in the listing agreement and what other guidance can you give me to help ensure I am best representing my sellers?

ANSWER: The “coming soon” advertisement really became prevalent and was a hot topic in North Carolina beginning around 2013. That year, the North Carolina Real Estate  Commission published two extremely helpful articles, which can be read here and here. These articles provide great guidance for agents regarding the requirement to have a listing  agreement to allow you to advertise the property with a coming soon period and for reporting the days on market once an offer and contract to purchase is signed.

When filling out the Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement, Standard Form 101, you will want to pay particular attention to Paragraph 10 and fill in the blanks for the dates carefully.  First, Paragraph 10(a) allows you to set the date when the property will begin to be marketed or advertised by you and your firm. This date is identified as the Marketing Date and can  be the same date as the Effective Date identified in Paragraph 1(b) or some later date. Once the Marketing Date is established, you will want to discuss and agree upon a date when  the listing shall become “active.” You and you client will insert the date the listing will be changed from coming soon to active at the end of the paragraph beside the check box for “Coming Soon” Advertising within Paragraph 10(b). In your case, the Marketing Date will be the Tuesday you want to begin advertising and the “active” date will be the same as the  following Friday when your clients anticipate that they will be ready for showings.

Next, you will want to check with your local MLS and ensure you have your clients sign any forms required and ensure you comply with all local MLS rules. For example, Canopy MLS  has a form found here that its members and the sellers must sign to advertise a property as coming soon. Furthermore, some MLSs limit the coming soon period and establish the guidelines for when the listing must be made “active” should you or your seller allow a showing prior to the anticipated “active” date in your listing agreement. If you abide by the  Commission’s rules and your local MLS policies, you and your clients will have the ability start generating interest in the property while allowing your clients the time to finish preparing the home for showings.

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