MLS News

“Coming Soon” and the Perils of Postdated Listings

You’ve seen “coming soon” postings on social media, signs, and Tweets.

green-square-bullet What does “coming soon” mean?

“Coming soon” means that a seller wants to generate interest in his/her property, but the property is not yet available for showing.

green-square-bullet Is social media considered advertising?  

Yes.   Advertising rules in both state license law and MLS Rules and Regulations, apply to posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other forms of social media.  Posting a sign, promoting the property on a web site, promoting the property in print, radio, television, and more are also considered advertising.

green-square-bullet What are the MLS rules for advertising that a listing is “coming soon?”

MLS Rule 4.4 requires exclusive listings to be reported to MLS either as an MLS listing or non-MLS listing at the time that any advertising appears or within 24 hours, excluding state and federal holidays, after the effective date of the listing agreement or the placement of a sign.

MLS Rule 4.9 requires that a property must be removed from MLS if the property is not available for showing.

green-square-bullet What steps must I take to comply?

1.Add language to your exclusive listing agreement that says “The parties agree that that Listing Broker will not enter this listing in MLS until __________ (include a deadline)” or similar language.

  1. Have the sellers sign a non-MLS form, which is available in Instanet.
  2. File the signed non-MLS form with State-Wide MLS.

green-square-bullet Can I avoid this extra paperwork by delaying the effective date of the listing agreement until the sellers are ready to put it in MLS?   Yes, as long as you don’t mind if other REALTORS® contact the sellers directly during the gap between when you signed the listing agreement and when it takes effect.   If the sellers and you sign a listing on October 1st but the effective date isn’t until October 15th, nothing prevents other brokers for contacting your sellers directly and asking them to sign a one-day listing agreement and/or present an offer.

green-square-bullet Does state law allow “coming soon” advertising?

Rhode Island law requires designated client representatives to act in their client’s best interest and prohibits misleading advertising.  Discuss the pros and cons of “coming soon” advertising with the seller and make sure that this approach is designed to help them.   Also, take care that the advertising provides accurate information and that the property truly will be available for sale.

green-square-bullet What are the penalties if I break the rules?

The MLS fine for reporting a late listing is $100 day.  A fine is assessed for each day the ad appears until the listing is reported to MLS. State-Wide MLS can impose fines up to $15,000 for violation of MLS Regulations and/or suspension of MLS rights, privileges and services. In addition, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation can impose penalties of up to $1,000 per violation of state law and/or suspend or revoke a license.

Questions?   Please contact Donna McGinn, MLS Administrator, at 401-432-6929 or Monica Staaf, RIAR/MLS General Counsel at 401-432-6945.

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