Is Selling a Home as a Pocket Listing Smart?

Usually, when someone puts their home on the market, the goal is to reach as many potential buyers as possible via one of the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). These listings are shared by brokers and list all of the local homes that are currently up for sale. However, some property owners prefer to manage their home sale quietly, through a pocket listing. Pocket listings aren’t included on the MLS or real estate websites like Trulia or Zillow, either. Basically, there won’t be a for sale sign, the listing will stay in the realtor’s metaphorical “pocket”. He or she will share the home through word of mouth and with a small number of clients or colleagues. There won’t be any contracts signed between the realtor and the seller.

Benefits of a Pocket Listing:

  • If the seller wants to maintain their privacy for their home sale this is a good way to go. This prevents the sharing of too much personal information with strangers online, as well as showings and open houses. The pocket listing narrows the buying pool to a much smaller audience and reduces public interest in the home. Instead of showings to people who can’t really afford the home to buy, only serious contenders will come through.
  • The homeowner may not want to negotiate the price and may not “have” to move so this option will allow them the ability to test the market and see what buyers are willing to pay.
  • With a pocket listing, the seller is able to analyze and experiment by seeing how this smaller group of vetted people react to the property. After the initial launch, the seller can adjust the sale price based on what they and their realtor learn.
  • A seller may want to get the word out about his home but delay putting it on the MLS due to repairs and improvements needed.

Cons of a Pocket Listing:

  • The biggest negative to a pocket listing is less exposure means fewer people will come through the home and there will be less competition. If the owner must sell, it could come at a lower sale price due to a lack of competitive offers. In desperation, the seller might end up having to make concessions on a sale.
  • Pocket listings will take longer to sell due to the lack of visibility. The seller is relying on the word of mouth of the one realtor they are working with.

The Bottom Line: If you are a seller who, for whatever valid reason, wants to use the pocket listing method, the one thing for sure is you’re going to need the very best realtor to handle the job. Who you hire should be connected and involved in the local community and should have a long, positive selling history.

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