Extremely hot real estate markets in places like Austin and Fort Worth, TX are the talk of the country. With homes in the more popular price points spending as little as a day or two on the market, sellers are often being presented with multiple offers. Normally, an agent will share information with the rest of the real estate community by entering the listing into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). However, this competitive market has real estate brokerages giving new life to the old, but until this point little know practice called "pocket listings" or "coming soon listings". With a pocket listing, an agent will market the home to people in their sphere of influence before it officially goes on the market.
"A pocket listing is a property that is not quite ready to go on the market. It may need some last minute touch ups, some yard work, or something similar to that. We put the house on the market before it's ready, to generate some buzz about the property. Agents will pre-market their listing throughout their brokerage, and give customers a first look at the property before other people get a chance to see it." said Keith Dunham, C.E.O. of HomeCity Real Estate in Austin. "Being registered on websites like HomeCity.com can give you exclusive access to homes not yet in the MLS."
Choosing the right Realtor, with a large pool of peers to share pocket listings with can be incredibly advantageous. If a buyer chooses a well-connected Realtor, they can view the home pre-MLS, then put in an offer the very first day it goes on the market. Sellers benefit from pocket listings as well, being able to sell their property for the maximum price possible, in the least amount of time possible. Interested in new construction? Builders will also let Realtors know about specials in their new communities before it is advertised to the general public.
Originally, the main benefit of the coming soon process was anonymity. High-end sellers often didn't want crowds of people flocking to their front door. When it's put into the MLS, anyone can see that the property is for sale, and many visit the property hoping to talk to the seller. Sellers may have also hoped to heighten interest among buyers by creating an aura of exclusivity with pocket listings. In hot markets around the United States, though, pocket listings no longer just for the luxury market. In rapidly growing places with a high availability of jobs, new home construction is unable to keep up with the demand.
Keith likens the market in his home town of Austin to a feeding frenzy. "If you have a fish tank and you put fish food in, the fish will fight each other to get to it first. The Austin real estate market is a lot like this, the more desirable properties are getting 5, 6, 7 offers their first day on the market."
The coming soon process allows certain homebuyers an advantage over competition, and is an extremely helpful tool for homebuyers, sellers, and Realtors alike.