Is a pocket listing the right strategy for your home?

1125 Leonard Place

The 2017 real estate market has been a “fast-moving” market. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some homes to sell before they even hit the market amid the growing popularity of “pocket listings”.

Also known as an “exempt listing”, a pocket listing is a property that has a signed listing agreement but is not yet listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  There are a few reasons it may not be on the MLS. For example, many sellers do not want to “miss” a ready, willing and able buyer, but know that there is some prep work needed to get their home market-ready.

Pocket listings first became popular among celebrities who wanted to protect their privacy. Now, pocket listings are prevalent in many areas as inventories remain low. Our MLS even has a special listing database called the Private Listing Network (PLN). This is a database, separate from the general MLS, which allows brokers to market their listings exclusively to other brokers.

With the proper documentation, a broker can use the Private Listing Network to create exposure for these listings. At @properties, in addition to the PLN, our brokers use a proprietary App to feature a pocket listing to his/her peers. This enables @brokers to quickly and effectively match buyers with homes for sale and vice versa.

There are a few reasons why a seller will take this approach:

  • Privacy – Homes listed quietly through @properties’ app or the Private Listing Network aren’t displayed publicly, and therefore aren’t fed to any third-party sites like Zillow or Trulia. Only brokers will see your property information and photos.
  • Holidays – Many sellers are serious about selling but have commitments around and during the upcoming holidays. As a Private Listing, the house will be seen by brokers with buyers, but the seller has the ability to make the house available for showings or not.
  • Pre-marketing – Think of a pocket listing as a dress-rehearsal for a receptive audience. Even if your home isn’t quite ready to show, you’re still able to generate buzz and market to serious buyers who are already connected with a broker.
  • Test run for the market – Perhaps the most valuable aspect of a pocket listing is that you can get feedback on pricing and other important matters, without accruing market time (Days on Market calculations only apply to properties listed within the standard MLS).

On the other hand, there are many advantages of listing your home using the traditional MLS. The main one is exposure.  A property that is listed on the MLS reaches the largest audience of homebuyers. We firmly believe that the greater the exposure, the greater the opportunity to receive an offer – or multiple offers.

If you are considering selling your home, it’s always a good idea to work with a broker who can help you decide which strategy is best for you.

Written by Don Shea
Don is the Managing Broker for the @properties Evanston office. Prior to managing, Don was a broker in the @Winnetka office. Away from work, Don can be found sailing on Lake Michigan or gardening at his Wilmette home.