Jamie  Henne…, Real Estate Pro in Upland, CA

If you have a pocket listing how would you market it online? What avenues would you utilize to get it sold before it goes on the MLS?

Asked by Jamie Hennessey, Upland, CA Wed May 16, 2012

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Kari Brandler’s answer
I have seen a few pocket listings out on Zillow and Trulia where I was actually contacted by a buyer on a certain home and when I went to pull it up on MLS it wasn't there. Then after further investigation found the listing and called the agent. Just be careful on a pocket listing because unless it is what the seller wants it is unethical to do just to make an agent more money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 9, 2013
I have a Pocket Listing now and it is in a highly desired Luxury Condo development in Scottsdale, AZ. Its an issue because realistically there is nothing you can do to market it to the general public, especially when it is a multi million dollar Penthouse. Yes though be careful, make sure that they are offering some kind of referral or co-broke!
Flag Thu Oct 2, 2014
I would use craigslist, facebook, twitter, and backpage. Perhaps most importantly, I would hold several open houses, and distribute flyers about the home to the surrounding neighbors and community.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Combine Google, Craigslist, and Match.com… for real estate. That’s us.
Flag Thu Nov 1, 2012
If you need to market a listing to get it sold, you should just put it on the MLS. Pocket listings only work if you have a ready buyer who can pay the market price. As Roland mentioned, liability abounds with pocket listings, so proceed cautiously, unless you've received expressed permission from your client.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
No one world wide is able to see your pocket listings if they are only posted on your web site. That's way too limited to be able to reach real international buyers - Examples of a few countries we reach:
• United Arab Emirates
• Canada
• China
• Germany
• United Kingdom
• Russian Federation
• United States

If your are a serious agent you need world wide exposure without the MLS for your celebrity clients. You need to contact us! We are syndicated to all the search engines world wide. 818.515.7003 call today and sell your pocket listing now.
We mean Business!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 6, 2013
Ask yourself, if I was a seller, why would I want a pocket listing? If the answer is honest, , true and valid (like a celebrity) then go ahead with the pocket listing. If you are doing it that way just to make more $, then I believe it's unethical.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 30, 2013
If I have a high profile celebrity client usually they want their home posted as a pocket listing for privacy issues. We always get top dollar no matter how its marketed, sometimes multiple offers. I list my pocket listings on a website that syndicates all the pocket listings worldwide. We use http://www.CelebritiesandAthletesRelocation.com the best place to search for pocket listing in one place.

We do use the MLS when celebrities want to use their name for marketing.

Alexander P. Delgado - Realtor
Director of Sports Entertainment & Media Executives Relocation
Keller Williams Realty Encino/Sherman Oaks
15531 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 100
Encino, CA 91436
818.515.7003 cell
dre # 01890731
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 30, 2013
Combine Google, Craigslist, and Match.com… for real estate. That’s us.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 1, 2012
There are extremely valid strategic reasons to have a pocket listing.

Unfortunately, the definition of 'pocket listing' is unclear.
Is a pocket listing a home that the owner has suggested is for sale, all you need to do is bring a buyer. No docs signed or initialed...possibly not even a handshake. (i.e. just about any DIY seller)
Is a pocket listing a property that is for sale and you have arranged with the owner your compensation in writing or verbally?
Is a pocket listing a property that is for sale and the owner has entered into a listing agreement but requests to not be placed in the MLS?
Would an exclusive listing, a listing where no co-broker agreement is in place be a pocket listing?
Pocket listings, to be of any value, must be part of your business strategy, not a request of the home owner. One is a winner, the other a real loser. On the losing side of the coin, if the home owner is requesting action that will sabotage the ability to sell the home, you should defer all advertising costs to the owner....prepaid. After all, it's a business not a hobby.

A part of your question included '...before it goes on the MLS?' Sounds to me as though, by my definition, you have a delayed listing, not a pocket listing. There is just too much we do not know regarding your situation. As you know,,,what you can and can not do is spelled out in the contracts you have entered into. On the surface, this does not appear to be a business strategy, but more akin to the practice of accidental real estate. Could be a waste of time.

My pocket listings are sold through a simple message, "Banks turned you down?"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
There you have it. A variety of responses from different agents in different states. In the end, I would recommend treading carefully. In California, we have the California Association of Realtors legal hotline. The C.A.R. Member Legal Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling (213) 739-8282. If you proceed with the "Pocket Listing" I would make sure to write down the name of the individual and information the lndividual gives you to minimize liability. Just the fact that so many agents don't believe it's legal or ethical should trigger a red flag and why do that to yourself? Regardless, congratulations on your new listing! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Considering the state of technology and the overwhelming success for decades of MLS systems, the whole concept of a "pocket listing" seems silly and anachronistic to me.

There are certain communities here in New York City where local Brokers keep pocket listings. If a local Broker has the Buyer-traffic and can turn a pocket listing over before the ink dries, then it's probably great. For that Broker, and ONLY for that Broker. If you don't have this ready-made source of Buyers, then the energy you'll spend trying to market this pocket listing is better spent finding other listings once you put this one up on MLS.

I've always considered pocket listings to be a serious disservice to the Homeowner. MLS has a proven track record of opening up a well-listed home to the widest market of potential Buyers.

And if your Homeowner doesn't want the property listed on MLS, then why even bother taking the listing? This is a Homeowner who is beginning the sale relationship with you and the market place on terms dictated by the Homeowner, not by proven methods of sales. It's the same when you know a property is worth $225,000 and the Homeowner insists it can be sold for $375,000 because of the swimming pool and brand new granite countertop! Why even bother taking such a listing? Overpriced listings don't sell.

You need to have a frank conversation with your Homeowner: either you sell the property the RIGHT way and your Homeowner leans on your experience and professionalism as a Realtor, or you walk away from the listing because it's just a waste of your time. And since you get paid on commission, time REALLY IS money!

Trevor Curran
NMLS #40140
Mortgage Banker and long-time fan of Great Pro Realtors!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
With respect to previous responses, pocket listings are very much legal and they are also very common in one of the markets where I work.
There are two types of pocket listings. One is an actual listing documented by a listing contract that instructs the broker to keep the property off the MLS. The other is simply a verbal understanding between a property owner and an agent that the owner would consider any offers the agent might generate, though the property is not formally on the market.
When instructed to market a property off the MLS, I create a web page and do the usual SEO to maximize exposure. I will also email brokers/offices who are active in the geo market where the property is located letting them know the property is available.
I have about 6 pocket listings of the 2nd type right now, and I agree with Mack - I'm not going to put any effort into promoting those until I get an exclusive, written listing contract (I don't do open listings). But if you can wait these out and stay in touch with the owner, many of these properties eventually become listing contracts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Pocket listings are actually not legal. If you have a listing that is not in the MLS because of repairs or getting the property ready for sale, you are required to complete the SEL form and send it to your board of realtors that shows you have permission to leave it off the MLS. You can put a sign up that says coming soon and get traffic that way. You can advertise it by word of mouth at office meetings and caravans and by blasting emails.

Diana 909-560-0145
Web Reference: http://www.dianam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Why bother? You don't have a committed seller; why commit resources to something that might not happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
What if you're instructed by your seller not to put it on the MLS?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
I am not a fan of pocket listings as I believe the best way to yield the highest net is to market to all buyers. However, I understand you have to go with what your clients want. I would market on Craig's List as well as your database and Facebook and twitter. You are a great agent and I'm sure that you will get it sold.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
I wouldn't recommend having a "pocket" listing. There's too much liability. Who's interest does it serve? Not the clients, but the listing agent and that would be apparent if anything ever went to court. I would do as much as I can to market the property everywhere. You may want to have a date in mind when all offers can be presented. In that manner, you expose the property to as many as possible and can argue that you wanted to get the highest bidder (which is the truth) If by chance you get a buyer yourself, you can still double end the transaction and your buyer can and probably will be the highest bidder. Is this unethical? Absolutely not. Most agents don't even realize that the listing agreement was changed by car in January to read that we can disclose information on all offers we choose to whomever we choose unless the seller requests us not to in writing. Why? because it is in our clients best interest! Think about it, if you're selling for 200k and get an offer at that price and someone (including your own buyer) wants to know how much the highest offer you have is and you tell them 200k, how much do you think they'll offer? More of course and to who's benefit is that? Your clients! Now that.... is being a good real estate agent!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
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