Real Estate Broker at Five Corners Properties Critical of Zillow’s New Coming Soon Feature for the Real Estate Industry

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Jonathan Lerner Broker for Five Corners Properties a franchisee of National Brand Real Living is critical of Zillow's newest feature called "Coming Soon"

As reported June 11th, Zillow’s Chief Revenue Officer Greg Schwartz announced that now, for the first time on Zillow, home shoppers can search for and find homes that are not yet on the market, but expect to be listed for sale within 30 days called “Coming Soon.”

In a strongly worded statement Jonathan Lerner Owner/Broker of Five Corners Properties with several offices in New York and Connecticut and a franchisee of national brand Real Living have sharply criticized the new “Coming Soon” feature recently introduced by Zillow.

Lerner responded that “We owe our sellers a fiduciary responsibility to share a property in best light meaning to promote their house creating the most interest and obtain the highest possible price for our sellers, unless an extreme situation dictates otherwise, such as a celebrity or public figure client whom may seek privacy.”

Even then celebrities selling their homes including Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper and Paula Abdul opted to list their own homes on the local MLS according to the March 4, 2012 HULIQ news article.

Placing a listing onto any site before distribution on MLS can reduce the amount of ready able and willing buyers for a property which in turn may result in a financial loss to the seller. According to Jonathan Lerner,, in June of 2013 the California Association of Realtors issued a position statement that it is“not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and follows rules that are designed to protect consumers.” Pocket listings “may not be in the best interest of the property owner — particularly if a client does not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS.”

In commenting on Jonathan Lerner’s remark, Sandra Paulow an associate with Aspen Properties said that “Zillow is by far the largest marketing tool for listing information out there. REO brokers have been withholding listings and selling them outside the MLS for a long time. It does appear to be a violation of the Code of Ethics and the spirit of cooperation it is intended to foster, but then, Zillow is not required to comply by the Code of Ethics.”

And according to Jeanne Munro Bailey a Realtor with BHHS New England Properties, a sister company of Real Living Five Corners (both operate under the HSF umbrella of brands) “For this to be even legal in most states, the listing must be in effect, with a written agreement between the broker and seller that the listing be withheld from the MLS and that the sellers agree to market the home on a limited "coming soon" status, But to market the home in any form there must be a legal listing agreement in place. My biggest fear is that many agents are going to take this as a license to market a home without a listing in place.”

Zillow’s competitors Trulia and declined to comment for this story.

About Five Corners Properties:
Real Living Five Corners is a premier, full-service real estate agency serving New York and Connecticut. Put it all together, and you have the unique Five Corners difference. As the first consumer lifestyle real estate brand, Five Corners is committed to innovation by bringing new programs, services, support, training and technology to its Sales Professionals and their home buying and selling clients.

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