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Rule Check: Ohio Takes Aim at Sites Like Zillow
August 9, 2021

Rule Check: Ohio Takes Aim at Sites Like Zillow

by The CE Shop Team

Ohio’s Recent Update on Advance Listings Translates Into Change for the Better

Ohio’s housing market is booming. Median sales prices have increased 17% year-over-year, yet the number of available homes has dropped by nearly 21% in that same time frame. Recently, MLS Now has decided to level the playing field by eliminating advance listings on sites like Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia. But what are advance listings, and how will this change impact Ohio real estate agents? 

The Problem

For years, real estate agents supported “Coming Soon” advance listings as a perk for both buyers and sellers — that was until the real estate market exploded this past year, generating an untraditional buying process with unprecedented interest from potential homeowners. Advance listings are home listings that can be featured on MLS sites before the home is actively listed.

Despite seeming counterintuitive, the speed at which houses are selling is creating friction, particularly as it comes to advance listings. Currently, the median number of days on market is 33, which is the lowest figure recorded for the Ohio housing market in the last five years. With the booming popularity of “Coming Soon” properties, homes are being sold before their listing is considered active.

“If the property was ‘coming soon’ and let’s say Monday morning at 10 AM it was active in the system, [buyers] would have an appointment already set for that date, and they would be told it was already sold,” said Carl DeMusz, CEO of MLS Now, in an interview with News 5. “It felt like they were being shut out from being able to see the property.”

Anne Callahana, a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Citywide, expressed to News 5 her initial excitement about the opportunity of offering “Coming Soon” listings when they first became available. Since then, the feature had been used in about 60% of the homes she sold. 

This quickly became a problem for buyers in the market. Zillow was featuring 700 homes as “Coming Soon” as of late July 2021, which will now all need to be taken down from the site. 

Ohio's New Housing Market Rule

The Solution

Starting 8/1/21, sellers will no longer be able to list homes as “Coming Soon” on online realty listing services. Previously, sellers could list a home on an MLS site as “Coming Soon” up to 14 days before the home became actively listed.  Real estate experts are hoping this change in marketing homes will curb the velocity of the current housing market and give all buyers a fair chance to compete in this hot market. 

As low-interest rates and lockdowns pushed more Americans to upgrade or purchase a home for the first time, the housing market became extremely competitive — so much so that 63% of 2020 homebuyers made an offer on a home sight unseen

How Does This Affect Sellers?

This update means that you’ll no longer have the ability to allow people several days of “Coming Soon” status to draw in hype for the house and receive offers before the home is active.

All appointment scheduling will happen a bit faster on the first day or two that the home goes on the market. Sellers will need to stay on their toes and keep a watchful eye on the market.

How Does This Affect Buyers?

The good news is that buyers no longer have to worry about sellers accepting “sight unseen” offers and canceling their first showing.

However, this means that buyers will no longer be able to plan in advance to set up those first showings. Once the home hits the market, expect scheduling appointments to roll in quickly, so be prepared and organized to help your clients shoot their shot. 

How Agents Can Adapt to This Change

Changes present new challenges, but new challenges invite new opportunities. Get creative with your listings and how you market them. Thankfully, in a competitive market with high demand like we’re seeing, listing a home on an MLS site once they are active shouldn’t affect your overall sales numbers. However, you still need to stand out and present your listing as the best on the block.

Differentiation in real estate will be crucial to your success, so take stock of your market and your competitors. Understand what they do well, and where they might fall short. Take advantage of areas of opportunity that will lead you to the head of the pack.

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