Most homes sold are listed on the Multiple Listing Service, which feeds information to Realtor.com, Zillow, and the other on line sites. However not all homes get added to this database. They are called pocket listings, homes that Realtors keep in their “back-pocket”, and are not marketed through the traditional sites. These homes can sometimes offer great deals for right homebuyer.
Why Are There Pocket Listings?
So why would someone keep their home off the listing sites? Here are the four most common reasons.
When placing it on the market, it is best to have it in “move-in” condition. Sometimes this means weeks of updates. The pocket listing allows the buyer to purchase the home “as-is”, before it hits the market and the work is done. For the ideal buyer, it is a win-win. The buyers get to make their own selections, while getting the home at a lower price. The seller saves the time and cost of repairs and updates, as well as avoids all the “guess work” at determining what a potential buyer wants.
Some properties are special cases, such as having unique features or designs, or requiring extreme repairs. These homes may not be ideal properties to list open to general market. The standard listing process is not designed to market these unique homes, and sellers would be constantly inconvenienced by showings to people who would never consider the home.
For sellers building a new home, that may not be ready for six months or longer, they often do not want to immediately start marketing their home. They are willing to sell, but only to someone willing to delay the occupancy until the new home is complete. If the buyer has that flexibility, this can be an ideal situation. The buyer can get the home without competing buyers, and the seller never has to deal with the hassles of showing their home to constant lookers.
Some sellers just prefer a low-profile sale. They may be selling for very private reasons and just don’t want their neighbors to know until it’s done. They are not interested in opening their home to hordes of tire kickers and nosey neighbors.
Why A Pocket Listing Could be Good For Buyers
By keeping their home off the MLS, sellers attract a much smaller number of buyers. With fewer people coming to see the home, there’s less of a chance of a bidding war breaking out. If the unique circumstances of the seller work within the buyer’s agenda, we can often put together a win-win transaction for both sides.
How to Find a Pocket Listing
Contact The Alfriend Group. At any given time, we have several homes that fall into this category.
Contact your real estate agent, and ask them to reach out to other realtors to see if there is a hidden gem on the market. It’s more work than scouring the online listings, but sometimes it can really pay off.
Beware the Conflict of Interest
With pocket listings, there sometimes is only one Realtor involved. This can create a situation called dual-agency, where the agent is representing both the buyer and seller. Although legal, it does have the potential of a conflict of interest. At the Alfriend Group, we avoid this by making sure that all parties are fully represented. Kyle Alfriend represents all of our sellers. Buyers are represented by one of our Buyer Specialists, to avoid any conflict. We also are happy to work with and compensate the buyer’s own agent, or the buyer’s attorney of choice, to make sure the interests of all parties are represented.