Pocket listing?

downszrFebruary 6, 2012

Has anyone here had experience doing a pocket listing for your home?

If you owned what's considered an "upper bracket" property in your area that's likely to attract lookie-loos, would you consider a pocket listing as a way for your Realtor to more easily screen potential buyers to make sure they are qualifed? If DOM for houses in your price range was running 540 (18 mos.) to 730 (24 mos.), would that influence your decision either way?

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No. A "pocket listing" is not going to get any widespread exposure, since it is not on the MLS.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Your DOM's will probably double or triple. You really have to look at your motivation to sell, you also need an agent who has exeptional access to many buyers in your price range.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Berniek, point taken about DOM possibly being considerably longer. One thought would be to do a pocket listing for at least a year, perhaps two, then consider a conventional listing.

There's only one agent in our metro area I'd consider for such an arrangement. I agree with you that contacts and access to qualified buyers are key, and this individual has them.

Terriks, not being on MLS is a plus in this situation for several reasons including privacy.

I do appreciate negative feedback as well as positive, since posters may raise issues we haven't considered.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 9:43PM
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I guess it really depends on how "high end" your home is. That is, how upper is upper? Around houses above $500k are considered upper bracket but there is a huge difference between a house of even, say, $2,000,000 and one that is, say, $20,000,000. For the first house, I would think that listing on MLS and just showing the house the "regular" way would be most conducive to selling. On the other hand, if your situation is much more unique then I could perhaps see it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Look Mr Trump, if you are willing to have the Tower be for secret sale for years, then is it really for sale? Or are you just hoping that someone will "make you move" with an unrealistically high offer? And would any realtor in their right mind want to deal with such a kook?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 1:23AM
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Word of mouth, especially when there is only one mouth, is a really difficult way to sell.
What aspects of the MLS have you worried? There are ways to keep addresses and pictures from being sent from ther MLS to all of the third party sites.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 4:53AM
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NC raises good points, but then all real estate is local and you don't seem under any compulsion or in any rush to sell. Why don't you talk to your local agent and see what s/he says? There may be some downsides that I don't know about, but it seems to me that worst case is that you just waste some time in pocket and end up going MLS later anyway. On the other hand, if it is a small market and your agent really has the connections, it might create an aura of mystery (or something) especially if priced right that creates a mini stir among those in the know that will urge a potential buyer to make an offer before it goes on the market. It is all a gamble, but if you have the luxury of time to try it, there may be no harm in trying it for a try for a while.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:44AM
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I don't know why people get so concerned with lookie-loos. That is one of the things your agent gets paid to put up with. I'd much rather have 5 lookie-loos and 5 potential buyers than 1 or 0 potential buyers.

For overall strategy, if you don't really want to sell your house now, don't sell it. High end properties have taken the biggest beatings in terms of price and have nowhere to go but up. If you do want to sell now, think about how to bring in the most potential buyers and don't worry about unqualified buyers sneaking a peek.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 9:09AM
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High end properties have taken the biggest beatings in terms of price and have nowhere to go but up

I guess this is regional. In FL where I am, that's the only segment of the market that has flourished the past couple of years. You can buy a normal house for maybe a third of what you would have paid in 2006, but a house on Jupiter Island or Palm Beach oceanfront is a lot more expensive than it would have been then.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 9:26AM
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"I'd much rather have 5 lookie-loos and 5 potential buyers than 1 or 0 potential buyers."

That's it-in a nutshell!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 2:20PM
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A couple of things to consider.
Will you pay a buyers agent at closing, which would help sell the property?
As a RE agent, I would not represent you the seller (agency), I would chose the lowest level of representation, here it's a Transaction Broker. The reason is, that under agency I have specific duties and obligations to help you sell your home, which I will not have with a pocket listing. You really need to spell out what you want the RE agent to do or not do.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Thanks for raising the question of type of representation, Berniek. I'll discuss that with our Realtor. It's our intention to pay full commission.

NCrealestateguy, our Realtor is well connected enough to know which agents in our market have potential buyers for a house such as this. Given the size of the community, it's a surprisingly close knit group. You raise a good point though.

Mojomom, your idea about this venture is just what I was thinking. There doesn't appear to be any real downside for us, as we have the luxury of time on our side.

We'd like to preserve our privacy for as long as possible (and not just from lookie-loos.) There are many reasons why sellers may not want a yard sign or MLS listing, including awkward questions from colleagues or relatives.

Some of the remarks make me yearn for the days of Spike. I've been on (and off) these forums for years, as the need for information or feedback arose, and sometimes miss the way ad hominem attacks used to earn the poster a trip to ride the tea cups until civility could be restored.

Thanks to the majority who tried to offer helpful advice.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 6:23PM
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If the agent is both listing and selling agent they get a double cut of the commission if they are allowed dual agency in the state.

My long term agent/broker does this sometimes when she has buyers lined up and looking (and then she gets a brokers cut twice also).
I do not really care since I pay the same amount in commissions anyway.

She has helped some first time buyers at their limit by cutting her commission, and then I cut the price.

When the market is slow for what I am trying to sell into MLS it goes.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Another problem with pocket listings is that if an agent does bring you a buyer, then you may have the feeling that you have to give more up in negotiation because you are only dealing with ONE buyer whereas the buyer is dealing with a ton of inventory. You will not be exposed to the greatest degree of the market, like the other side is. This is a slight disadvantage to be in.
Here is what is going to happen with the pocket listing... the "Listing Agent" will spread the word for about the first week. Probably to her office workers. Most agents that were told about the listing will not bother with it, unless it is unique in some way and there is no other inventory that matches. Most pocket listings that sell do so in a sellers market, where buyers are fighting over the limited inventory, and having a secret pocket listing really causes some excitement.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 6:39AM
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Downszr, a few things come to mind when I read your post. First I would like to say, I live in an area where there are quite a few very famous people. Those homes have come on the market over the years. They are almost always on the MLS. (I say almost, because if they were listed as a pocket listing, I wouldnt know it). Believe it or not, these higher end homes dont tend to get looky loos because people know they will be screened before going in and dont bother to try. (personally, I screen all my buyers before taking them out, but thats another subject).I have a higher end home on the market in my area right now. No looky loos. One showing in 5 months. We didnt not put a sign on it,and that stops people from driving in the driveway to see, but it is listed in the MLS so it gets full exposure. If your agent has a website and puts the home on it, the home will show up on some of the other internet sites too. (My website feeds to several and there is no way to turn this off)If you are going to go on the internet anyway, why not go full steam ahead? My last comment is in regard to several comments you made. You want to sell your house, but you don't want anyone to know? Use the tools that are available to you and your agent and get the most exposure you can. As for awkward questions from colleagues, relatives and friends, when people ask me why a seller is selling, I simply say, "they are moving". LOL they dont usually have a response.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 4:06PM
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I guess you could call it a pocket listing--we are in a smaller town and there is one broker/agent who pretty much dominates. She handles the higher end homes/land and the agents under her handle the lower end homes/land. There were several houses she took us in that were not in MLS (although some had been hadn't sold). We asked how commissions would work if we were to buy one of these homes and she stated that the seller would pay her a "finders' fee". Based on that experience, I would say if you have some leeway on selling time & 1 or 2 agents/brokers in your area that get the lions' share of the business that you could work a pocket listing with, I would give it a try for a set amount of time--maybe until sometime in April. When April arrives, if you haven't had any luck, I would get it listed in MLS.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:32PM
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You are really out of touch with today's real estate business climate. I don't know of any realtors who do anything but laugh at pocket listings. If the "seller" isn't going to put any effort into trying to sell the home, why should the realtor? It's a buyer's market, and you aren't available to the vast majority of buyers who are searching. That's a sure recipe to NOT sell your home. If you want to sell your home, you put it up for sale, and that means MLS and screened showings and the whole bit. You'll have a hard enough time getting it sold even then with the DOM you have happening in your "market".

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 11:28AM
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