What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know about Clear Cooperation, Coming Soons, and Private Exclusives

Getting a jump on available properties puts any buyer at an advantage, particularly in a housing market that’s been on a tear. For sellers, understanding the recommended course of listing is equally important. But there’s a methodology to things like clear cooperation, coming soons, and private exclusives. Here’s what buyers and sellers need to know about all three.

Recommended Course of Listing

For sellers, often the first step for listing a home begins with the private exclusive. This means listing agents from the same real estate firm can share it with their clients, and the property can only be searched by that firm’s agents — not by consumers or agents that work at competing brokerages. In other words, that particular agency is the “author” of the listing.

There are a number of reason agents may use a private exclusive, but it’s primarily intended to create an early buzz while the property may be getting show-ready before we can stage and take glam photos. Another explanation for a private exclusive strategy we are seeing in the age of Covid-19 is a seller who does not want the mass public coming through their home. They are happy with an agreed-upon price with less stress and potential health risks, particularly if they are living in the home during the sale process and need the sale to happen before they can afford to move.

Step two is the “Coming Soon” designation in the Multiple Listing Service, which can be found with a little work by any agent that is a member of that MLS. In this case, consumers can search for the property, but only via the listing firm’s website. It won’t be fed to automatic feeds from, say, or Zillow.  

Finally, the property goes active in the MLS, where it’s searchable by anyone and any feed you are using, assuming the agent has clicked a little box that allows IDX feeds.  

Clear Cooperation

Sharing a property publicly, with a real estate sign on the lawn, via social media, by informing the neighbors or going public on a website, or by contacting an agent, means a property must go into the MLS as either a Coming Soon or an active listing within one business day. Violating this rule puts the agent at risk of a steep fine from the MLS. It is a controversial and heavily debated national rule that was designed by the National Association of Realtor to address the ‘shadow inventory’ and kill websites like Top Agent Network that threatened to usurp the power of the NAR.

The argument was that a rule like this would make the playing field more fair and open up inventory to all buyers. For sellers, it’s supposed to help them get maximum exposure. However, the net effect is that it favors the largest brokerages because they have the most inventory to share amongst their own agents without having to push it out to the general public. Again, there are quite a few legitimate reasons why you would not push a particular listing “live.”

Here’s a Compass graph to illustrate these points.

meredith-martin-real-estate-chart copy

A buyer will always benefit from working with an agent who could tell them about new listings that might be coming on versus just looking on your own, but with the Clear Cooperation policy, that benefit has been turbo-charged. Having access to as many “office exclusive” listings as possible is an obvious advantage. And with Compass holding 40% market share in the Bay Area, it means access to the most inventory on that level.  

There’s an advantage to sellers, too. Name, a seller, who, for whatever reason, decides an early marketing strategy is in their best interest, gets the broadest access to the most qualified buyers without burning the ever-important metric of “Days on Market” that buyers often consider when determining an offer price.

For more clarification on the particulars of clear cooperation, coming soons, and private exclusives, free free to reach out.

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