Ask the Agent: Should I Sell My Home Before Putting it on the MLS?

by Dan Lesniak

The Pros and Cons of Putting Your Home For Sale Before Making it Available to the Public

In today’s “Ask the Real Estate Agent” segment, we’re answering a question that we’ve gotten from sellers recently about if they should sell their home as a coming soon: making it for sale prior to going on the MLS. So, a few years ago, “pre-MLS” was a hot topic in real estate and has continued to be so.

There are a lot of reasons why you might consider selling your home prior to going on the MLS

One scenario might be if you are buying new construction, or you’re buying a home that’s not gonna close for several months. During that time you don’t wanna list your home on the MLS because if your home’s not going be available, or you need to live there for a few months or longer, buyers aren’t going to want to enter into a contract yet because most buyers are looking a couple of months out. If you do list your home on the MLS, you’re just going to burn days on the market until you get to a couple of months out, and then your home’s going to look stale. There is less of a chance you will get the price you want the longer your home sits on the market as buyers agents will use this as a negotiation point.

In that situation putting your home in the “Coming Soon” status might make a lot of sense. We’ve got a lot of different marketing channels, online and print signage, that we use to get the word out about homes that are coming soon. We then screen the buyers that contact us about those homes to make sure that the timing and the home is a good fit for them. With this strategy, we often do find buyers that are several months out. That’s not the majority of buyers but there is a segment of buyers that can wait several months or longer to move into their new home and are still motivated.

Coming Soon can quickly produce a buyer or show any flaws in pricing.

One, you might be able to find a buyer. Two, even if you don’t, you’re going to get great feedback on pricing. Real estate is an inefficient market- pricing is not as easy to predict as, more tangible items such as stocks. Getting that pricing feedback during a pre-listing period is very crucial and will help inform your decision of what price to list should you have to list your home on the MLS.

Another situation that might make sense to list your home as a “Coming Soon” prior to going on the MLS, would be if there’s a fair amount of work that needs to be done. So, a lot of people, you know, don’t want to do the work that it takes to get your home ready to go fully on the market. It does take a lot of work. And, you know, people have jobs, lives, kids, pets, whatever, so it is something that’s hard to balance sometimes. You know, by telling buyers, “Hey, if we do list the home we plan on doing, you know, these 10 items, but, you know, we’re happy to show it to you now. But just bear in mind that this home could be in much better shape.” You know, a lot of times that will resonate with buyers that are motivated and would like to buy a home before it gets on the market and gets bid up.

A lot of times buyers are able to purchase a home before all the marketing work has been done. We’ve often found that situation to be very beneficial for our sellers and buyers. It’s something that brings value to all and is a win-win. And it also gives you great pricing feedback.

If a potential buyer does like the price and writes an offer, then great we’ve just helped our seller sell their home, without doing all the repairs and staging and work that does take to get on the market. The seller also won’t need to revamp their schedule to allow for showings and open houses. For sellers this can be a more convenient, stress-free transaction and for buyers, they get to feel that they got a special sweet deal as the home was kept under wraps.

The one thing that can be a drawback is you are foregoing the extended publicity the MLS will provide for you.

The MLS is going to syndicate to tons of agents, there are thousands in the area that belong. So, you could potentially be missing out on a buyer willing to pay more. And no one likes to leave money on the table. What we tell our sellers is in the pre-market period, of course be informed of what comparable sales are selling for, but take a price that we call your high five price. In other words, if you got that price you’d give each other a high five and be able to sleep at night knowing that you didn’t go on the market but you got your high five price.

There is potential that you’re leaving money on the table.

It can be a tradeoff, but if you get your high five price and you don’t have to go through the stress, hassle, and work of getting on the market, it can be a great value. We sell about 25% to 30% of our homes this way so this is something we have a ton of experience with. It’s something our buyers and the sellers both love- we have rave reviews about it. If that’s something you’re interested in learning more about, please feel free to give me a call. Thanks a lot. And, as always, if you have any other questions you would like to submit for the next “Ask the Real Estate Agent” segment, please let us know.

Looking for tips on how you can get your home sold quickly and for top dollar? Learn more at


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