Will Landlords jump on new sales strategy

The bidding wars in key markets may worsen if sellers start to use "coming soon" signs in an effort to generate interest.

Property owners are preparing to use a U.S. selling strategy in a bid to boost buyer interest.Online real estate database Zillow recently announced a new ‘coming soon’ feature that angered several agents, prompting many there to question its legality. However, the move is being hailed as a positive move on this side of the border.

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” Phyllis Shapiro, a real estate agent in Toronto, tells CREW. “I think it could be a good idea. It puts people on notice that something is coming and often people looking in an area, especially for houses, if it’s coming on the market, some people may wait to see what products are coming and what prices are coming.”

In an especially heated housing market like that in Toronto, buyers tend to delay purchase until a home in their dream neighbourhood becomes available.

“I think it’s good for the market, and good for the buyer and the seller,” Shapiro says. “It’s a win-win for both parties to have a product advertised that people know is actually coming on the market in a short time period.”

However, the move could be quashed before the sign even hits the front lawn.

Bruce Matthews, the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s deputy registrar of regulatory compliance, tells CREW that ‘coming soon’ signs fall under RECO’s advertising guidelines.

“One of the underlying philosophies of our advertising requirements is: say what you mean and mean what you say,” he says. “So if you don’t have a listing agreement in place, you shouldn’t be saying ‘coming soon’.”

Similarly, agents must have the written consent of the seller and must specify to what the listing is soon coming.
“If you have an exclusive listing that’s coming soon to MLS, [the sign] should specify that,” Matthews says.

In short, Realtors are free to advertise homes that are soon-to-be for sale – and some agents are already inquiring about the practice.

“Even in the last month, we’ve had a bump of people asking,” Matthews says. “You just need to ensure that the message you’re sending is the message you’re intending to send.”

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