A pocket listing, also known as an off-market listing, is any listing that is retained by a listing agent and not listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Instead, the agent tries to market and sell the home within a private or select network. In other words, it’s a real estate listing that isn’t made available to the general public.
Is a Pocket Listing the Right Move?
Listing in the MLS has its advantages, but it’s not always the best choice for sellers.
The number one reason to consider using pocket listings is to maintain your anonymity. Say you’re a local politician, judge, or celebrity. Chances are you don’t want to make your personal information public information. Disgruntled individuals or obsessive fans can use the opportunity to visit the home sheerly for kicks or to learn more about you.
Keeping the property out of the public listing is also an excellent idea for someone with a particularly interesting property. Multi-million dollar homes and unique properties are sure to draw in people who are just trying to take a look with no intention of making an offer.
Or say you’re just the average person who already knows of people who may be interested in buying your home. It can be a relative looking to get their start or someone close to you that’s been waiting for you to sell.
Why would you want to publicly list the home to draw the attention of buyers before they have an opportunity to make an offer? Instead of potentially wasting other buyers’ time, you hire an agent to facilitate your end of the transaction in a straightforward manner, however there is potentially dual-agency—which can also double as a con if the agent isn’t ethically driven.
Another benefit to using pocket listings is that they serve as a way for agents to market the home before it’s ready for sale. Say you’re performing some extensive repairs, the agent can use pocket listings to get buyers interested and warmed up to your asking price long before you officially list it. This “premarket” strategy is advantageous because you’re less likely to spend a long time with the house listed publicly while you wait for someone to make the offer you’re looking for.
Why You Might Consider Another Route
While the pros are short for pocket listings, that doesn’t mean they aren’t the perfect option for some sellers. If you’re still on the fence, you might want to consider the reasons that make the MLS listings a desirable route to take when marketing your home.
The most obvious thing to consider is market exposure. Remember that the property isn’t being marketed to the general public. Instead, you and your agent are responsible for marketing the home privately. That means no open houses, non-conventional advertising, and no listings on sites like Realtor or Zillow. [Read more…]