By Michele McCaskill
VP, Risk Management and Assistant General Counsel
The Coming Soon-No Show status is often used when a seller’s home is not quite ready to be shown. There may be repairs or painting in process that need to be completed prior to the home being marketed as “Active.” HOWEVER, agents using Coming Soon-No Show status are still required to comply with the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations applicable to all listings. For example, Canopy MLS requires square footage to be reported. North Carolina real estate licensees have a duty to comply with the Canopy MLS Rules and Regulations as well as North Carolina Real Estate Commission (“NCREC”) Rules. Listing a property as Coming Soon-No Show does not relieve you of your duty to accurately reflect the square footage of a property. Likewise, listing agents cannot “disclaim” responsibility for listing data accuracy regardless of whether the source of the information was the seller, another agent, tax data, etc. (Read “Accountability Counts.”)
Many listings in our MLS have comments that state that square footage measurements will be taken at some point in the future. While the NCREC does not require square footage to be reported, the NCREC is clear that if square footage is reported, licensees must either measure the property themselves or have the property professionally measured. The NCREC Residential Square Footage Guidelines brochure provides:
“Some sources of square footage information are by their very nature unreliable. For example, an agent should NOT rely on square footage information determined by the property owner or included in property tax records. An agent should also NOT rely on square footage information included in a listing, appraisal report or survey prepared in connection with an earlier transaction.” Emphasis added
The South Carolina Real Estate Commission does not regulate square footage with as much specificity as the NCREC, however all licensees regardless of the state in which they are licensed, are required to provide square footage and could be found in violation of the Code of Ethics if that square footage is misrepresented in the MLS.
If you fail to measure a home, obtain inaccurate square footage from an alternative source or measure incorrectly prior to listing a property in the MLS as Coming Soon-No Show or Active, and then, once the property is listed, you re-measure and find a discrepancy, you must update the square footage number in the MLS immediately. It is also a good practice to disclose to cooperating brokers with whom you have been communicating about the property, that the square footage number changed.
We have recently had a series of complaints where a buyer’s agent tried to submit an offer on a property listed as Coming Soon-No Show only to be told that the seller would not entertain any offers until the property went “Active.” Once the property went Active, the buyer’s agent submitted the offer to the listing agent only to find out, after going under contract, that certain
MLS information (i.e. square footage) had been changed. Prior to submitting an offer on any property, all agents are cautioned to take a second look at the MLS listing to see if any listing information has been changed.