So what’s with all of the “Coming Soon” riders on For Sale signs in front of homes lately? Most people assume that the house is simply not quite ready to show (repairs, staging, etc.) and that the listing agent is trying to generate a little preliminary buzz for the property. While this may be the case, and seems to work well in a number of industries (new movies or cell phones immediately come to mind) since early spring, Coming Soon has become a distinctive marketing strategy engineered to achieve a quick sale at or even above list price. The strategy can be very effective with the right home, at the right time and in the right market. Tricky.
It’s no secret that certain segments of the metro-Atlanta market have seen demand for homes exceed the supply of properties for sale. In neighborhoods like Ashford Park, Virginia Highland and North Buckhead, there are dozens of frustrated buyers, some who have been looking for a home for months. Many of these buyers have been too late or outbid on homes over and over again. These buyers are desperate and they want to get first shot at new listings and are determined to “get the next one.” More on that possible backlash later.
The Coming Soon strategy involves placing a sign in the yard with a “Coming Soon!” rider AND placing the home on the Multiple Listing Service with a special notation that it will not be available to show for several more days. The idea is to let the market become aware of the listing and build up a concentration of anxious buyers. When agent showings are permitted, ideally there is a frenzied competition for the home resulting in one or more offers, perhaps even a bidding war, within a day or two…think of Apple stores the day a new iPhone is released, do people still camp out?
We used the Coming Soon strategy with a listing in Buckhead recently. On the day we allowed showings, we had 15 agent showings that resulted in three offers. Two of the offers were over asking price and one of those offers was a cash offer. The home sold for $10,000 above our list price. That’s a sold out show and one happy client.
As alluded to above, even with the right property in the right market, there is no guarantee that the Coming Soon strategy will work, and there is at least one potential backfire – the frustrated buyer. In a frenzied market, buyers have been known to offer whatever they need to in order to get the property under contract, knowing that they can always reconsider and back out, penalty free during the inspection period. If this happens, the market excitement over the property often will have declined. In this case, the seller may be looking at a price reduction and an extended time on the market (that’s a possible straight to DVD situation).
In recent weeks, we have seen clear indications of more equilibrium between the supply of and demand for homes. Not surprisingly, we are seeing few and fewer “Coming Soon” signs – on homes at least.