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The Pros and Cons of Pocket Listings

By Tabitha Naylor

Pocket listings are properties people are looking or willing to sell but do not appear on the Multi Listing. These are agreements between a realtor and seller to keep the property private. That means the realtor controls what people see the property, and what people gain access to information about the property.

Many high paid executives, celebrities and sports stars want a higher level of privacy and do not want their property publicly listed so pocket listings provide a way to sell their properties without actually advertising it is for sale.

Privacy is a major benefit of a pocket listing. For public figures and those who deal with a lot of public scrutiny, keeping the sale of their property off the MLS is A way to keep out prying eyes and deal with only serious, qualified buyers.

It can also be beneficial if you have a home that is overpriced for the neighborhood, or that you bought at a high price and you need to sell at a specific price to break even or make a profit. With a pocket listing you have the opportunity to "test the waters" and see if there is interest in your home and if there are buyers willing to pay a premium for your home without accumulating MLS "days on the market" stats that trigger low offers from buyers.

As a seller the biggest drawback to a pocket listing is the fact it limits the exposure your home receives because it is not listed on the MLS and you will not have access to the network of other agents in the system. do not have access to the information unless the realtor decides to share it. The realtor holds total control over who gets access to information or who can have a showing. For most sellers this can adversely affect your chances of receiving the best possible price for your home.

Another drawback is that you miss out on competition. In a hot market you may miss out on better prices or better terms. When a home receives multiple offers it drives up prices and often results in better terms for the seller.

There are legal implications to pocket listings. Listing a home privately for the purpose of screening potential buyers is a violation of the federal and local fair housing laws. It is possible a private sale could be interpreted as a discriminatory action. If you list your property privately it is important to remain completely impartial. All sellers should make certain the agent fully discloses the pros and cons of a pocket listing including the legal implications.

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