Wondering how to remove a real estate ad from the internet? Whether you’re a seller who’s taken your home off the market or a buyer who’s just closed on a new location, responding to inquiries from buyers who still see your home listed online is a drag when it’s no longer for sale. .
So what can you do to unlist a house? And how long does it really take? Allow us to shed some light on how real estate listings go up and down.
Who can delete a real estate ad?
For starters, how are real estate listings put online for everyone to see, anyway? When a seller decides to list their home through a real estate agent, that agent gathers the necessary information and photos and loads them into a large, interconnected database called the Multiple Listings Service, or MLS. From there, the listing is used to populate online platforms like realtor.com.
Only licensed agents and brokers who pay their MLS membership have access to the full feed. As such, they are the only people who can post properties there or remove those listings.
This means for home buyers and sellers that you can’t just call MLS and ask the service to remove a home from the site.
Additionally, “direct sellers are not permitted to make changes because technically the information and photos become the property of the MLS in which they are originally listed,” explains Lynne Fredareal estate agent at Freda Realty, in Callicoon, NY.
How to temporarily remove a real estate ad
Sellers are pulling their homes off the market all the time, says Beth Bernitan agent for Century 21 Real Estate in Bethel, NY.
Sometimes it’s because they have changed their minds and no longer want to sell their house. But just as often, something personal comes up that causes a seller to delay the sale for a few weeks. For example, you might decide to make repairs or upgrades to get a higher price.
It’s what agents call a “temporary off-market,” Bernitt says. If you think you want to take your ad down for a while, let your listing agent know.
“Unsubscribing is just a click of a button,” Bernitt says. And if you want to relist, it’s just another click of a button.
However, once your home isn’t listed on MLS, that doesn’t mean it will instantly be reflected in the distance. Various websites may have delays before this change takes effect. For some sites, it can take as little as 15 minutes (which happens on realtor.com), while other sites can take days or even weeks.
Listing withdrawn vs. expired: what’s the difference?
While a listing agent may deliberately remove a listing from MLS, another way real estate listings disappear from websites is when they expire. This is when your commitment to work with a certain agent ends and you part ways (that is, unless you renew your real estate contract).
When you sign a contract with an agent to sell your home, there is an expiry date, usually in three to six months. Listing agents often enter their contract expiration date directly into the database listing. After all, they’re paying MLS dues to get this listing online, so they won’t want it to stay unless they’re still working with you! Thus, once this date has passed, your ad should automatically disappear from the Internet.
If you decide to stop working with an agent before the end of your contract, you can inform the agent, who will remove your ad before it expires.
The house has just been sold? How to remove it from MLS
Once you close a house and walk away with a new set of keys in the palm of your hand, your house is off the market. But that doesn’t mean it’s not on the Internet! Listings (and all those gorgeous photos of your home) aren’t taken down until the listing is closed by the listing agent, Freda says.
“Most MLS systems require the seller’s agent to close on sold homes within 24 hours of the sale or the agent will be fined,” she says.
But even then, lags can still occur, Bernitt says, and it’s frustrating for buyers, sellers and agents themselves.
“It’s a lot of wasted time and energy for everyone,” she says. This can be especially problematic if you are a seller who has temporarily retired the home. Potential buyers who spot the ad and call, only to learn that the home is off the market, will likely be discouraged.
“When you put it back on the market, they won’t watch it because you upset them,” she says.
Typically, an agent will realize that the ad is still active fairly quickly, especially if they receive calls or emails from interested buyers. But if they don’t, call them. They should be able to make phone calls to have the photos removed offline.
If you don’t get any help from your listing agent, try the agent’s broker. This is the person who owns the agency where the agent works, i.e. the boss of an agent. With word of mouth being so important in the real estate industry, chances are the broker will jump at the chance to smooth things over.