When do MLS Listings Go Live?
Your MLS listing will go live when your agent changes the status in MLS to Active. You might not see it on your local MLS website (in Houston that’s HAR.com) for 2 to 4 hours as the web servers do take time to update and then syndication to first-tier major real estate portals like Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com can sometimes take up to 24 hours, secondary market real estate portals may take a little longer depending on where they get their data from. Read on to get some more insight into picking the best MLS listing go-live time and how it can positively (or negatively) impact your listing success.
Longer More Detailed Answer
I’m sure you’ve heard that timing is everything, right? That old saying about right place, right (or wrong) time also applies to picking the most optimal MLS go-live date and time. When your property “goes live” there are a lot of automated processes that kick-off and you don’t get a do-over. I’ll cover what some of those processes are, how they apply to your listing, and give you my opinion on the best go-live time for most residential property listings.
What is an MLS Listing?
Quickly, if you’re not familiar with what an MLS listing is, MLS is the database used by Realtors to list your property online so that other Realtors and buyers can match your property with their requirements. Think of it as a matchmaking service for buyers to find a new home to fall in love with.
How Do I List My Property On MLS?
MLS access is only available to licensed Realtors, if you want to list your property for sale in MLS you’ll need to go through a Realtor at some point - there are numerous ways to do this ranging from Realtors that provide (very) limited service listings where they enter your data into MLS and you do the rest, all the way to full-service listings that with directly with you to handle the complete process from beginning to end (that’s what we do at Creekstone Real Estate).
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How To Pick The Best Go-Live Time For Your Listing
Picking the best go-live time for your listing depends on several factors. You’ll want to work with your agent or broker to decide the most advantageous time, and you’ll need to take several things into account.
- What time of year is it?
- Is there an approaching holiday?
- Is the holiday a travel holiday?
- Is your property in a “hot area” or an area with high sales velocity and low days on market?
- Do you have financial considerations that need to be taken into account?
- If you’re in a foreclosure or short sale situation, the specific timing for your go-live date might be less important than simply getting a complete listing online.
What Happens When an MLS Listing Goes Live
Before we get to the actual picking of a day/time, you should know some of the automated things that happen when your agent presses the “go-live” button in MLS. These are things your agent has no control over, but knowing they happen will play a significant part in picking a suitable day/time.
- Automated Realtor alert emails to buyers get sent out
- How fast does this happen? Usually within minutes of the MLS status change to Active
- If you’ve worked with a buyer agent before you’re probably familiar with these. Instant alerts from a Realtor will let buyers get the drop on a listing before it’s visible on MLS and definitely before it hits the first-tier secondary portals.
- Automated listing alerts get sent to MLS portal subscribers
- How fast does this happen? MLS portal subscribers usually new listing alerts over the next 24 hours to a week depending on their settings.
- If you have an account in HAR.com with a search subscription set up you’ll be second in line to receive these alerts
- Syndication to first-tier real estate portals begins (if your listing broker hasn’t opted out of this service)
- How fast does this happen? This depends on the subscriber’s alert settings and how long it takes for your listing data to get to that particular portal. Typically within 24-48 hours.
- Buyers that have alerts set up on Zillow, Realtor.com, or other portals are usually the third group of people in line that get alerts.
Pick The Time Of Week First
Now that you know about some of the alerts that get generated when your listing goes live let’s work on picking a suitable day of week. Let’s ignore holidays for the moment as holidays have their own set of rules and instead let’s focus on the days of the week and which days we believe are best for most listings. To keep this short, here’s the list of days in the week with our top picks, I’ll give some reasoning behind our choices afterward.
- Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday
- While we prefer late-week go-live days, if you’re insistent these days are OK but are our 2nd or 3rd choice depending on your market area.
- For most listings, this is our recommended go-live day.
- For listings in the hottest areas, typically where time on market is measured in single-digit days, this is our recommended go-live date.
- We never recommend going live on a weekend.
Saturday/Sunday We recommend against go-live dates on the weekends on Saturday and Sunday simply because in our experience most active home buyers have already made their weekend plans (social or house hunting) and are locked in. If they chose to go out of town they’re gone by this point and a lost showing is a potential lost sale.
Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Listings that go live in the beginning of the week are fine, they’re our second or third most preferred days depending on your market area and the median days on market.
Thursday Thursday is early enough in the week for Buyers to see your listing, talk with their spouses or significant others, change plans if necessary, and then have ample time to track down their agent to schedule a showing for the weekend.
Friday Friday go-live dates are usually reserved for homes listed in hot market areas where buyers are very aware that they need to be dressed and ready to go at a moment’s notice if they hope to have an opportunity to purchase in these areas so their plans are usually secondary to their house hunt.
Why Friday and not Thursday for hot market areas? To explain this you need to understand a little about what’s very likely to happen.
Buyer agents working with clients in these areas know they need to get ahead of the curve on these listings if their buyers hope to have a chance of getting their offer accepted. When a listing appears they’ll often schedule showings with their buyers that same day and very often there will be showings within hours of going live.
Once buyers have toured your listing if they’re interested, they’ll often have their agent submit an offer that same evening in an effort to get you to accept their offer before the weekend hits when they know they’ll have far more competition. Typically these offers come in two flavors: one with a deadline where they’ll withdraw the offer if it isn’t accepted “soon” and another where their buy price is significantly over your asking price, occasionally those two things will be combined and sometimes you’ll just get a normal no-bells-and-whistles offer. What’s the game here? If you wait to respond to their offer until Monday there’s a chance you’ll have multiple offers to review and that some of those offers might be better. What to do is always your 100% choice but we’ll still give you our informed opinion in this situation.
Now Let’s Talk About The Time To List
You know what day(s) we recommend, what about times? This is much simpler and, in our opinion less critical, though we do believe there is a window of time when you should not go live.
Morning Morning to us means between 8 am and noon. We find that the morning is best go-live time for listings as most active buyers have alerts set up (or agents who are watching alerts for their buyers) and an early go-live time doesn’t get buried under the rest of the day.
Afternoon Between noon and 4-pm-ish. Also ok, but runs the risk of getting lost in the post-lunch sugar crash or covered up by afternoon meetings/appointments.
Evening Between about 4 pm and later. A lot of agents will tell you this is a “good” time to list because buyers are headed home to wind down. That’s the same reason we want to waive off this time. Buyers are headed home for dinner and family time, or if they’re working with an agent they may have competing showings scheduled and miss the alert.
Holidays: Special Circumstances
We put holidays into two categories: Travel and non-travel holidays. If you’re listing on a holiday where most people have out-of-town plans we’ll often suggest waiting to go live until after that date so buyers (and their agents) are back and available to schedule a showing. If your holiday is a non-travel holiday and it falls on a Friday, then we usually treat Friday like a Saturday and try to back your go-live date up accordingly - this means that the hottest market go-lives now happen on Thursday and everything else on Wednesday.
Seasonal Variations on MLS Listing Timing
In our experience, the summer selling season can be a zoo, with many qualified buyers and many unqualified buyers. Many moves in the summer selling season are driven by a desire to move. Conversely, the market shifts in September, and there seem to be more qualified buyers in September through December and fewer unqualified buyers, and the reasons for moving often seem to shift from a desire to move to a need to move - job relocation is an often quoted reason for moving.
There’s no “right time” to list your house, really, the best time truly is “now.” While that might sound like Realtor speak for “please don’t wait until next year because we need money/sales now”, we’ve worked through enough selling seasons to know that if your home is priced appropriately for its condition and the current market, that based on the market velocity in your area you should receive an offer that aligns with the rest sales in that market in that area. In a market the size of Houston, listing and selling a property isn’t rocket science.
Parting Thoughts on MLS Go-Live Timing
The strategic timing of your MLS listing’s go-live moment can be vital for the success of your listing. Aim for late-week days, like Thursday or Friday, to better align with buyer activities and real estate rhythms. This timing, coupled with an understanding of the automated alerts and processes set off by your listing, can enhance your property’s visibility to potential buyers. While specific timing may vary based on market trends and personal circumstances, the right choice, aided by a skilled real estate agent, can significantly influence the effectiveness and outcome of your listing.
For a broader view read more about the listing process from the sellers perspective.
- What if I want my listing to go-live at a different time?
We can certainly accommodate your request, this article just highlights our strategy based on our experience.
- What is the busiest day of the week for showings?
Without a doubt, Sunday is the busiest day for showings.
- Is there a way to roll back the clock once a listing is active?
Once a listing is live, there is no way to go back in time, you can withdraw the listing temporarily but you will kill all your forward momentum that you get from that initial burst of activity and this sends strong signals to the market that maybe you’re not as serious about selling after all. If you’re unsure you’re ready get set to Active in MLS, talk it over with your broker or agent first.
- Can I / Should I be present for showing appointments?
It’s certainly possible for you to be present, however we strongly recommend against it for several reasons, but there are valid reasons for doing this so let’s talk about your goals first. If you’re present and asked a question you could inadvertently say something that might a negative impact on your listing, like letting it slip that you’ll take a lot less money or worse that you need to sell by a specific date. We also find sellers want to be helpful and will sometimes verbally promise to “paint that wall” or “replace those cabinets” if the buyers will only make an offer and this rarely works out the way you think it will. If you’re present, the buyer’s agent is almost guaranteed to engage you in conversation to try to find an edge in negotiations.