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Avoid Pocket Listings

Top broker says pocket listings reflect short-term thinking, which does not build your brand.

(Boonton, NJ, December 15, 2016) — With inventories tight in many parts of the nation, so-called pocket listings remain a popular alternative for a variety of reasons.

But if you allow agents to market listings without using the multiple listing service, you’re inviting legal problems, warns Bill Lublin, chief executive officer of Century 21 Advantage Gold in Philadelphia.

Reflecting the unsavory reputation of pocket listings, off-market listings once were known as "sandbagging," Lublin says. Proponents of the practice cite a number of reasons to use pocket listings, including the seller’s desire to maintain privacy and to not be disrupted by showings of the home, along with using the exclusivity of off-market listings to build buzz.

Lublin considers such rationale "nonsense."

Research shows that homes sell for more when they’re in the MLS, Lublin says — and not listing a home in the MLS opens you and your agents to the possibility of litigation from sellers who say you didn’t fight for the best deal.

If you decide to take an off-market listing, make sure your agent provides the seller with a form that clearly explains the downside of not being in the MLS.

More on pocket listings, buyer love letters, and dealing with difficult appraisals appears in the December issue of Real Estate Broker’s Insider newsletter.


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