Though there may be some reasons to do a "pocket listing" in MOST cases it does not benefit the seller. The easiest and best way to sell a home is to make it available to the greatest amount of people. NOT putting it on MLS won't help market the home. Again, I know there are reasons, but for most sellers, exposure is the key. IMO, it's not a good practice for a listing agent to pick and choose a buyer for a home.
Nothing illegal or unethical, necessarily, about any of this. I just don't typically agree with having "hidden" listings, even if it is at the behest of the seller.
I am not sure about other brokerages, but here at First Team, we have what is called Sneak Previews. The Sneak Previews program allows sellers to prepare their homes for the market, or to find a qualified buyer without all of the hassle. These homes are not listed in the MLS yet. They will most likely come on the market at a later date, but they are available to show to qualified buyers immediately.
Currently, we have 150 homes in this program - 12 in Irvine. If you would like information on these homes, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will be happy to help!
This practice is called a "pocket Listing". It is highly condemned by the local real estate boards, although perfectly legal.
Agents do this because they want to try and open end the sale. Meaning they want to represent the buyer as well as the seller, and not have to split the commission. As a buyer you will have a difficult time locating such listings unless the agent who holds the listing happens to be one known to you
Kawain Payne, Realtor
I'm sure that many of us have "connections" to other Realtors and may know about homes before they hit the market. But in reality, it's impossible to know about all of them. That just isn't feasible. In other words, no matter which agent you pick you will never be aware of all (or most) pocket listings out there, IMO.
I mainly present buyers, and this is my experience. I have been networking with other real estate agents in different areas, and they will send me their "pocket listings" first before they put on MLS, or let me pre-view for my clients first, because I always keep in touch with many agents and let them know what my clients are looking for. So my buyers can have the first shot to see the properties and make offers on them before the bidding war. In other words, if you are working with an agent who is actively looking for the type of properties you want to purchase FOR YOU and also has great relationship with other real estate agents in the neighborhoods you want to move in, you don't need try to FIND these properties. He or She will find your dream home for you. Usually good properties go fast and I would suggest you to be the first one to see and make a good offer on, and work with a real estate agent who can help you to see your ideal homes as soon as they are in the market is essential.
In my opinion a seller will only find out how much their house is worth if they go in the MLS. However, I often take listings and the house will not be in the MLS until it's "show" ready and I have all my marketing in place and professional photos done.
You need to find a local Realtor and choose one. If you choose a good one they will have access to listings before they hit the market. I always let my networks know about my listing before it hits the MLS.
If you only hit up listing agents you will have a harder time finding a house. Listing agents already have a relationship with the seller. The chances of you getting a "good deal" are slim to none.
There are times when a client will request not to be listed on the MLS but it's rate.
The practice is referred to as pocket listings
Most of the real estate I help sell is via the invisible market.
Keep asking agents if they have 'First Look' options.
When you find one that says yes, make a commitment, and they will plug you into the invisible market shared by the other special service agents.
You must be a serious buyer. Three strikes and you will be back on the "D" list.
Those who suggest this is a disservice to the seller are unaware of the needed solutions this provides both buyers and sellers. Those of us who do, are providing you an option.
Best of success,
Annette Lawarence, Broker/Associate
Palm Harbor, FL
Some agents though are trying to double end the property and therefore hold the property back. This is considered unethical.
Thanks for asking this question on trulia as it is a very relevant topic. These so called pocket listings have been getting more popular.
Yes, agents have properties that are for sale and not on the MLS. There are a few common scenario's in which this happens:
1. The owner is famous (think: Julia Roberts) or well-known or in public service (think: judge). In that case the owner might not want a ton of people trying to come over to the house and just check it out because of who is the owner. They only want serious buyers...
2. The owner simply doesn't want to put their house on the market because they like their privacy and just don't want to ''deal with it''...
3. The house is coming on the market in a few weeks or months, but for whatever reason they don't want to ''officially'' put it on the market yet. This sometimes happens when the house is being fixed up or if the owners are looking for something else, or if the house is tenant occupied. The house will then be available for sale if someone happens to come along, but it will not be on the market until the time is right.
4. The seller doesn't want the tenants to know the property is on the market (has definitely happened before).
Really the best thing to do in my opinion is to find an agent at a larger company who is willing to really call around and spend a lot of time working for you.
The reason I say large company is that for example at Berkshire Hathaway agents often share their pocket listings with each other. The more agents, the more pocket listings. So even if your specific agent doesn't have the right pocket listing for you, they might still be able to find you one within the company. You can definitely call around, but I generally recommend trying to work with one agent, rather than 10. One agent, who knows that you will buy your home with them, will work much harder for you, than an agent who knows you are working with many other people and is unlikely to represent you in the transaction.
We have a lot of pocket listings. If you have any more questions don't hesitate to call me!
Have a great day,
Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway Laguna Beach
949 395 0960
Tiffany Quiroga (Lin)
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4010 Baranca Pkwy., Ste.120
Irvine, CA 92604
This is what happens for those with vision.
Obviously I market extensively in pocket listings.
Buyers agents who understand how to bring real value and get those EBA signed, will call me.
(Like Claudia described)
Just yesterday I got a call from a 'Blackstone' agent.
"How many properties do you have like Dixon?' was the question.
I have three.
As you already know, Blackstone will pay 96% of market value and close quickly and without hysteria.
If you don't think this brings VALUE to the home owner, you would be mistaken. Backup is in place. Blackstone does not want to deprive those seeking to purchase a home from doing so. The public will get a window of opportunity, then every one moves. And no, the motivation is NOT to double side. Matter of reality, I never have double sided.
I like collaborating with agents who have the same mindset of Claudia.
Together we bring VALUE.
If you took Blackstone out of the picture and Claudia called and asked, "Do you have any 3 or 4 bedroom, 2000 or newer build, block construction in Pinellas County?" she would get access to 3 homes nobody knows about....IF, Claudia also participates in the FIRST LOOK option. You would be mistaken to think her buyers don't value a First Look opportunity and pay accordingly. The plan is about bringing value to those who can recognize value. EVERY organization on the planet has client retention or loyalty programs. Funny how that works. This works well when it a two way street. Membership has its rules and privilege. AND the membership fee is a pocket listing.
There IS a difference between working with those who recognize value and are willing to pay, and those who believe 'cheap' is the best deal. Claudia and I have found a way to avoid the dog fight and keep everyone elated.
First and foremost, thank you for posting a question here at trulia. I appreciate it. It's true some agents will have properties for sale but not list them on the MLS. One reason is because the seller does not want the exposure on the internet. Another reason could be so that the agent receives a greater commission. "Pocket Listings" as they are known, are popular but in my opinion don't attract more buyers. How do you find out about these properties? You can contact agents to see if they have what you are looking for but how many agents are you willing to call before one tells you that he/she has one? I don't have "pocket listings" but I can help you find what you are looking for. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me. I hope this answer helped.
Melchor "Mel" Perez
Star Real Estate South County
Yes, Realtors can hold a property off the MLS, as long as the Homeowner agrees to it. Sometimes, the homeowner does not want it listed on the MLS because they don't want a bunch of "looky-loos" coming by. Also, they might hold it off the MLS while they get some cosmetic and repair work done. There are no "pitfalls" with these.
The advantage to the Agent is that they have an opportunity to sell it themselves, and collect double commission. We see this alot in a hot Seller's Market - where the listing agent is confident he can sell it without putting it on MLS.
If you are working with an agent currently, he should have a professional network of agents that he can reached out and see if any of them have "pocket listings". In addition to pocket listings, agents know when other agents have a listing coming up, and you might be able to get in before its up for sale (thus eliminating bidding wars.)
If you are not working with an agent, I might be able to help you, as I work in an office with 50 agents, and my company has over 1000 total. For example, right now we have an off-MLS listing in Temecula- due to the fact its a large estate with a working farm. The owner simply wants serious buyers only.
Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you!
Nicole Fedorchek, Realtor
As Kyle Kovats, Agent, Roseland, NJ pointed out, there are SIGNIFICANT benefits to this.
I sell many, many homes through the FIIRST LOOK option. There's a real reason and benefit that buyers and seller VALUE! This is for SERIOUS BUYERS ONLY! If your intent is to 'low ball' you and the agent will be kicked out of the program.
One important benefit is maintaining control of the homes data. Too often when the home data is published to the MLS, the data is sent to sites like Trulia and Zillow through a third party, LISTHUB. These sites have proven themselves irresponsible regarding the deceptive manner in which the homes data is used. The homeowner loses control of their data...FOREVER.
Who will be held accountable when a burger access a home, causes great harm, because of information found on these sites? This creates a long enduring peril and hazard. A homeowner SHOULD hold every agent and broker involved in the transactions financially accountable for not disclosing the hazards created and failure to disclose to the buyer and seller.
Be aware, First Look does involve contractual agreements with home owners AND honoring Realtor compensation. This is not some exotic proposal. How do you get plugged in?
Ask your agent if they offer 'First Look' option.
Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor University High School distirct
Some realtors actually provide enough value to the point where they can get deals done without even putting them on the market. Top agents usually prospect for hours on a daily basis and have inventory lined up for clients.
Sometimes a homeowner will go ahead and get their house listed but will keep it off the MLS until a tenant moves out. Or wait until painting is done,etc. You don't have to reach out to many agents. Just find one that you feel good about and enjoy working with. Most agents have a good network with other agents that will know about listings not yet posted.
Cynthia Wong, Keller Williams Realty