So What's with Your Hip Pocket and Coming Soon Listings?

Real Estate Agent with Bill Cherry, Realtor 0124242




There are two relatively new practices which I admit that I don't fully understand.

Real estate yard signs have been cropping up with riders that say "Coming Soon." I'm not sure what stage of the listing process those Coming Soon houses are in, but no one can find them in the MLS. 

So I suppose my question is, Are they really full-fledged listings that the agent and the seller have agreed will have a period of downtime to give the listing agent a head start on selling it without worry the sale will be a co-op?

Or are they, for an example, waiting for the painter and the carpet layer to get the place in ship shape before interested people can see it?

Last week I caught several calls on one such "listing."  It bore our office's sign.  Nowhere was there any information for me to pass on to the caller.

I just wonder how building interest that can't be satisfied is productive.

And then there are what we've called Hip Pocket Listings for as long as I've been around. 


They used to be not a formal listing at all, but a gentleman's agreement between the seller and the agent: "I don't want my house on the market, but if you find someone who is willing to pay X, bring them by and I'll sell it."


Apparently the definition has been broadened.  I get a number of emails every week that have been sent in mass numbers to probably most of the some 15,000 agents who are members of our REALTOR association.


What differentiates those Hip Pocket Listings from regular MLS listings other than that the agent apparently has an agreement that they will not appear there?


I assume that somewhere the seller and the agent have a formal listing agreement, otherwise why would a potential co-op agent be willing to hope his representation of a buyer would pan out?  And to not have one, at least in this state, used to be a violation of the law.  Maybe it isn't anymore.  I need to check.


Nevertheless, as for me, I'm not sure either the Coming Soon or the Hip Pocket Listing are viable enough for me to seriously entertain.  Perhaps other agents find themselves feeling the same way.


Yours truly,

Bill Cherry


Bill Cherry
Since 1966

Keller Williams Dallas Premier

214 739-5500


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Susan Nealey
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Annapolis, MD
No Pressure! Ever!

Our MLS now has a new section called "Coming soon" and in a way, it , too, drives me crazy.  I suspect that the signs out in front of a house are because for about a week or so, the listing agent wants to try to find a buyer and handle both sides.

May 22, 2015 10:45 PM #7
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

We do them with REOs that we manage but are not quite ready to be marketed yet.  Same goes for some of our rehab houses that are in the final stages of construction.  People are watching the house hoping it comes up for sale already.  So when it does, we already have a list of potential buyers. 

May 22, 2015 11:17 PM #8
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

Annette Lawrence  makes some excellent points in #3.  I like to handle the listing as a "Product Launch"....  When you click the "Submit" button to enter in the MLS, all the prep/staging/repairs should be done, all the marketing and internet postings ready to submit immediately .... So that "prep" phrase can be treated as a "coming soon" phrase

May 22, 2015 11:19 PM #9
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Likewise a broker needs to sign and fax to MLS for anything not immediately posted on MLS. 

May 22, 2015 11:22 PM #10
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Much of this is unethical and designed to grab buyers to have both sides of the transaction. The ethical issue I have is that a free and open listing to all REALTOR® will typically net a competitive offer and more net for the seller. The public is who we serve first and not ourselves.

May 22, 2015 11:34 PM #11
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Well BILL CHERRY , It seems you stirred up a hornet's nest. Everybody has an opinion on what you should do with your listings.

When I started in this business I worked for a broker that DID NOT belong to the board. No MLS for us. We sold 100% of our own listings. We were much  more successful than the average broker. The MLS makes most agents lazy.

These Invisable Inventory houses are just listings that the listing agent (or his team) want to sell himself. I see nothing wrong with this concept.

The cry babies need to go out and get their own listings.

Actually Bill, the team concept is just like the old way of having the office number on the sign, but now it is the team's number on the sign.

And I agree with you that it is a lot harder for a new guy to get started without FLOOR TIME and the office phone ringing. I know that I needed it.

Otherwise, only housewives and retired military can "afford" to get started in real estate. Is that what we want?

Bill Roberts 

May 22, 2015 11:45 PM #12
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Bill Roberts 

Clearly you know how to sell without the MLS.

In most of the USA it is a SELLERS market with ever present low inventory and short DOM for the good stuff.

Buyers WILL pay a premium for access to homes for which they need not compete and WILL pay market value (+). 

Now be aware 100% of these homes I sell are entered into the MLS and traditional compensation paid to the buyer agent.

For over two years I've been promoting First Look as a non MLS clearing house and not one single agent has called. Buyers have, but no agent. 

The new guy needs an advantage...and here it is.

May 22, 2015 11:56 PM #13
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

Bill, check with Damon. We have a form that listing agents in our office should be using with the sellers who do not have their listings in MLS. I might be able to put my hands on it and get it to you if you send me your email address.

May 23, 2015 12:02 AM #14
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

There are so many ways to market a home and so many different types of sellers. For this same reason some prefer to do a for sale buy owners approach... There will be those who want to test some out of the box method. I've noticed that trust and profit maximization tend to be the factors most at play. Some sellers either don't trust the traditional method... Or the documentation that opens up privacy ... Or feel they can strike a better bargain somehow. Although I feel most people would benefit by taking the MLS route, not every seller is game to play by those rules.

May 23, 2015 12:29 AM #15
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I have a premier lake property to list within the next week or so but I have not put up signs yet.  I have been working with them for six or seven months while they were moving out and painting and then we staged and had professional photos taken.  We are waiting on a video production to be completed by Kyle Reyes  and The Silent Marketing Partner and then it will go live.

May 23, 2015 01:22 AM #16
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty

I am seeing more of the coming soon listings here in my area. Or they will add the listing to the MLS a full week before allowing any showings. It's just an attempt to build interest. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. 

May 23, 2015 02:45 AM #17
Celeste Starmer, P.A.
Town & Country Realty - Deland, FL
Affordable Housing Partner

Nicely written.  

I don't see this often in our market, at least yet.  Although, an agent in the office has a customer that just asked for one such "Coming Soon" sign a week ago. This was all his idea, as far as the two of them were concerned.  All of the agents present thought a month away from being placed on the market was way too soon.  

And yes, it was undergoing repairs.  This particular seller is a pretty good investor, buying, rehabing, and selling often.  He probably went to some seminar and this is what someone is "teaching" investors somewhere......that's my guess.

May 23, 2015 03:10 AM #18
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

We have this here as well.  What exactly does it gain a potential Seller other than the neighbors now have something new to talk about!

May 23, 2015 03:17 AM #19
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Coming soon is AKA . . . double dip for the listing agent.  It is not a good practice for buyer agency, but who gives a rat's patoot about buyers, except for baiting them with the "coming soon" sign. 

May 23, 2015 04:30 AM #20
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

We see it here also. There is the double dip aspect. Think our board has rules about putting properties into MLS on a timely basis. Think everything is for sale if the price is right.

May 23, 2015 04:49 AM #21
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Coming Soon is a category for a new listing in our MLS.  I believe the sign rider can be up for about 2 weeks, with a written agreement with the broker/seller.

It's a real benefit for a listing agent/broker.  Of course, it's not supposed to be but if you believe that, I could sell you anything.

May 23, 2015 05:54 AM #22
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I post "coming soon" as permitted my listing agreement on social media while I'm getting a listing ready for the MLS (sellers getting ready for photos, last minute spruce up projects, ect...) But I've never sold a listing during that period.  I always advise a seller to let it hit the MLS before we start showing.  Sometimes we have several appointments prior to MLS, but never showings.

May 23, 2015 09:20 AM #23
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I use Coming Soon frequently, and I post them in Zillow in the Coming Soon Listing, and I also put sign riders on the property with my information. I don't show the home until it is "live" in MLS but it sure builds excitement and helps to create desire. I imagine they'll do away with this practice when other agents abuse the system, but for now it's working like a ball of fire for me.

May 24, 2015 11:46 AM #24
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Bill - It looks like you've received a lot of explanations from other agents as to the purpose of coming soon.

May 24, 2015 02:01 PM #25
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

My personal thought is that a seller just doesn't want to sign a listing agreement but says "find me a buyer and I'll give you a commission".  If they don't want to play by the rules than neither do I.

May 26, 2015 07:26 AM #26
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