Pocket or “off-market” listings are quietly for sale but excluded from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In the past, they were commonplace with high-profile homes. Today, the method is becoming increasingly popular with other types of properties, according to Fox Business.
A true pocket listing is one where a homeowner and an agent have agreed that the agent will bring potential buyers to view the home but not list it on the local MLS, according to Inman News blogger Mary Umberger. Sellers have various motivations for initiating a pocket listing, explains David Blockhus, a realtor in Los Altos, Calif., who says that it makes sense for a small minority of sellers. The following scenarios may benefit from quiet marketing:
- High-end or high-profile celebrity homes that rely on an already narrow pool of buyers and the networking of agents
- Homes owned by sellers who prioritize privacy above all
- Properties that carry baggage or negative history
- Sellers who want to test the market and avoid a “stale listing” on the MLS
In some markets, well-established real estate agents devote considerable time to networking with colleagues and potential buyers, so much so that these pocket listings can represent a secondary market. Sellers should do their research and understand that offline marketing automatically narrows the number of potential buyers. Consulting with area experts may help homeowners determine if a pocket listing is right for them.