Home Selling in Clearwater>Question Details

Kelly Machbi…, Real Estate Pro in Belleair Bluffs, FL

I have two sellers who don't want their properties marketing through the MLS. They don't want their neighbors to know they are selling. What to do?

Asked by Kelly Machbitz, Belleair Bluffs, FL Sat Aug 11, 2012

One of the properties is a 2 bed/2 bath beachfront condo in beautiful multi-amenity complex with fantastic views. The other property is a waterfront 2 bed/2 bath with pool in quiet neighborhood. Asking $510,00 for each. They would be snatched up in a hurry if I could list them on MLS.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi, Kelly. Do you think your sellers would allow their properties in MLS if the address and seller's names are withheld? That would give you the exposure and also keep their anonimity. Then, as Tony suggested, local pitch sessions, email blast flyers to realtors, etc.

Good luck,
Rachel Friesema
Prudential Tropical Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 22, 2012
Sounds like they have issues with a neighbor, maybe someone who has approached them about buying and they don't want to sell to. Or they had issues with a past Realtor and they dont want them to find out the property is back on market.

What ever the reasons some options are Craigs List, e-fliers, marketing meetings.

What is going to happen if a neighbor finds out to you or your listing, did they specified that?

Tony Vega
La Rosa Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2012
Please help us all learn by sharing the progress on this story, Kelly.

I'm still puzzled about the "why" -- why sellers would not want their properties to appear on the MLS. If you can get them to be honest with you, the answers will guide your subsequent conversation.

Why would sellers care about how their neighbors feel, unless for some reason they have some sense of shame about the circumstances. Perhaps it has to do with them remaining in the same condo complex, and they have heard others complain about how lower market prices have decimated assessment values for the rest of the owners.

It's not like the sale is going to be a secret. Surely they understand that the condo association must be notified when a unit is being marketed. Many condos have the right of first refusal (which makes them difficult to finance). Are they concerned that their neighbors would interfere in some way? Are they in a dispute? Are they up-to-date on fees? Is there an assessment brewing?

Is there something about the MLS itself they object to? Did something happen when someone they know had something listed on the MLS? Note that if it is the massive accessibility, then that may well negate using any of these other alternative and social media venues suggested here.

What did they read or hear that led them to making such a demand? Do these sellers know each other?

The mind reels with speculation. Is it a security issue? Are they hiding from the insurance company? The IRS? Is it a divorce or estate situation? It might be a good idea to have your title company check to ensure everything is OK now (no other names, liens, clear title, etc.).

Again, good luck -- and please, keep us updated.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 12, 2012

MLS is the best way to get exposure out to the most IDX feeds, but not the only way. If it's a good listing & well priced take it. A couple of things to consider:

1. If it is not going to be in the MLS have the Seller sign some form of a Listing Agreement Addendum stating that they have requested it be withheld from the MLS. Also check with your broker to see what your company's rules may be regarding this.

2. Ask for an extended listing period since they are putting such restrictions on your marketing ability.

3. Take it to "Pitch Sessions", have Broker opens, start sending it directly to other agents.

4. What about other online websites or social media outlets?

5. When you check with the condo association to verify fees and what's actually covered, along with rules....snoop around and see what else you can find out that might be their motivation.

6. Since neighbors will know after the first showing....probe as to the real reason.

Could be a challenging, but great two listings. Good luck!


Pam Cohn
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761
TEXT "PAMELA" TO 727-213-5142
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 12, 2012
Take the listing and don't place on MLS as requested.
In less than a month the neighbors will know anyway. A secret in a condo complex...very unlikely. After all, you WILL show it to a few folks in your official realTor uniform. And lets not forget a few evening pictures to feature the homes lighting or a sunset.

However, don't make concessions when you eventually double-end these sales. Your task have been made harder and you will be facilitating the sale of both buyer and seller.

Having been in similar situations, you meed to be real clear regarding the sellers motivation. Be aware, if they intend to leave town, how they treat you is not a high priority for them. See the horizon and protect your interests.

Selling in this fashion, especially in a high demand area like Clearwater Beach will be a cinch. Every agent working the area would like to be able to say, "I've know of an exceptional beachfront condo that only 'A-List" buyers get to see."

This will prove a great opportunity to test and implement your 'generic' social media communications.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group, Palm Harbor, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 12, 2012
Hi Kelly,
Well the MLS is the best way to sell the property, as we know....but there are many other consumer sites that might provide a buyer for you. My personal webiste syndictes to all agents who use the service as well as 150 other consumer sites. I would recommend you take a look at that option, and caution the sellers that it might take a bit longer this way.
Also I would Email BLAST all local buyer agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
The MLS is but one form of marketing.......there are many others.

Go to your broker to explore these other alternatives.

Waters still muddy.......... consider consulting a real estate attorney to think outside the MLS box.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
That's crazy. If they don't want it on the MLS, they probably don't want any internet ads or yard signs? Are buyers and agents supposed to divine the information with a bent stick? You have nothing to lose in being very honest and direct on this one, because a listing that you can't tell anyone about is not worth having! It's similar to a listing where the seller absolutely refuses to lower their price into the realm of reality...worthless listing! Best of luck getting them to come around...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
Explain about the amount of exposure that they will get and that this is the best way to insure getting the best price And yes you can keep the address off so they will have some privacy. Tell them that their neighbors are going to find out shortly that they are moving anyway.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
This is like saying; "I want you to Market it, just don't tell anyone."

It sounds like you are being put in a no-win situation; anything you do could backfire on you.

But if you stumble on two buyers, who just happen to want these properties, and are qualified.....
Yeah, that's gonna happen!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
You can list on MLS and just select to keep off Internet and IDX... That might be an option? Best of luck with the listings, your going to have to tell other brokers somehow. Just be honest with the sellers and tell the many reasons why being on the Mls is positive. I can't think of a negative...

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
That makes no sense to say they would be snatched up in a hurry and not list them on MLS because the neighbors will find out. So what if they do and it has sold in a hurry as you say. Do the neighbors follow the mls new listings pretty closely? Go for the mls and omit a yard sign and lockbox on the door. I bet it would take them a week or more to figure it out and by then you will have it sold. Yea right, maybe..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
Why don't they want their neighbors to know? Their neighbors could be their best allies. They might have a relative or friend who is just dying to move into the area!

Are they forbidding Open Houses, too? Are they not really motivated to sell?

Compromise by not putting a sign in the yard -- but do list it on the MLS. How do they expect it to sell if you cannot use the selling network?

See how many showings you get. Buyers often pick a neighborhood and then drive around looking for Sale signs.

Good luck, Kelly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 11, 2012
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