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Francis Rolland's Blog

By Francis Rolland | Agent in Los Altos, CA

Properties for sale "off MLS"

Properties for sale "off MLS"
The market is so "hot" in the Valley that it is easy to sell a property without putting it in the MLS (multiple listing service). While it may be the way to go for very specific situations or sellers' requirements, statistically the vast majority of agents agree that it may not bring the best deal overall for the seller.  If you are thinking of selling your property "off market", I'll be glad to go over the advantages and disadvantages of such a strategy.  But unless you have very specific needs to address, it will be hard to find any benefits to doing it without the vast exposure of the MLS.
  • Real estate agents marketing a property for which they have obtained a listing generally will place that listing on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). At times, however, listings are not placed into the MLS. These listings are commonly referred to as off-MLS or pocket listings.
  • While not a new concept, pocket listings are growing in number – as many as 10 percent to 15 percent of homes offered for sale today are “off-MLS” listings, according to one MLS.  
  • Sellers should strongly urge their agent to place their home on the MLS. A property that is listed on the MLS has the advantage of being marketed to every real estate agent who belongs to the MLS and, through those agents, to their vast network of potential buyers.
  • Active marketing on the MLS usually includes open houses, broker tours, and inclusion of the seller’s property in the MLS’ download to various real estate Internet sites commonly used by the public to search for properties.
  • A pocket listing generally is marketed by a single agent to one or a select few potential buyers. The marketing pool can be so small that in some cases, other agents within the same brokerage or brokerage office may not even be aware that a fellow agent has the listing.
  • While pocket listings sometimes are requested by sellers who wish to maintain their privacy, the downsides to off-MLS listings outweigh the advantages. Primarily, the pool of real estate agents and potential home buyers who will know the property is for sale and make an offer to purchase may be limited. With fewer offers, sellers may not receive the best possible price for their home.
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