Traverse City Record-Eagle

Real Estate News

May 16, 2012

5 Things to Know About Pocket Listings

Syndicated — Over the past year or so, "pocket listings" have become a more mainstream option for quietly marketing a home. If you haven't heard this real estate term before, you probably will. Here is what today's homebuyers and sellers need to know about pocket listings.

A pocket listing is an unofficial, off-market listing

Also known as a "quiet" or "off-market" listing, a pocket listing is a property that an agent keeps tucked away in his or her "pocket." Though the seller has a signed listing agreement with a real estate agent, the property for sale isn't officially listed in the MLS. Other traditional forms of marketing may be downplayed, too.

Pocket listings started many years ago as a way for high-profile people or expensive homes to be quietly marketed. They were seen as exclusive because they were listed under the radar of mainstream agents, buyers and even the press.

Pocket listings are growing in popularity

As the real estate market has become more challenging, pocket listings have become more mainstream.

In many markets, there are few good properties and low inventories, coupled with buyers who are motivated to see more homes. You'd think that would be a perfect reason to push homes on to the market.

And yet, there are sellers who have been interested in selling but aren't comfortable with current home values. These sellers may sit on the sidelines and will only sell if they can get the price they want.

As soon as a home is listed in the MLS, the infamous "days on market" clock starts ticking. The longer your home sits on the market, the more "stale" it becomes and the less money you're likely to be offered. Buyers, seeing that a home has been for sale for 30 or 60 days or even longer, will inevitably make low-ball offers. And so, instead of going on the market, a seller who wants a certain price may engage their real estate agent and put the listing out there as a "pocket" listing.

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