Pocket listings, sometimes referred to as silent or off-market listings, are real estate transactions that don’t make it into the public domain. That is, they’re not listed on multiple listing services or popular websites like Zillow or Trulia, and generally aren’t widely advertised.
A pocket listing may sound like a shady way to buy or sell a home, but that’s not necessarily the case. In some instances, pocket listings can actually be beneficial to both buyer and seller.
For example, pocket listings may appeal to sellers who want to keep their sale private — maybe due to security reasons or because they’re in a highly sought-after neighborhood and don’t want to draw attention from potential buyers.
On the other hand, pocket listings may appeal to buyers who are looking for properties that don’t yet have a lot of competition — and therefore, won’t be bidding wars with multiple offers.
Pocket listings can also be beneficial for real estate agents, who may end up with both sides of the transaction, such as a commission on the sale price plus any fees for the buyers.
It’s important to note that not all pocket listings are created equal — some may be legitimate, while others could potentially be scams. As with any real estate transaction, it’s important to do your due diligence and research before entering into a pocket listing agreement.
Related: Everything You Need to Know Before You List Your Home for Sale
Are There Downsides to Pocket Listings?
Yes, there can be. For one, the exposure that comes with a traditional listing — on the MLS and popular consumer sites — is missing from a pocket listing. That means it could take longer to find a buyer or even get an offer if you decide to go this route.
Also, because pocket listings are generally not widely advertised, it can be difficult to find one unless you have a real estate agent who specializes in them.
Ultimately, the decision to use a pocket listing should depend on your individual needs and goals as either a buyer or seller. With thorough research and an experienced real estate professional on your side, these unique listings can be beneficial in certain situations.
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Talking to a Real Estate Agent
Before you make any decisions on how you should sell your home, your best bet is to talk to a qualified real estate agent. Your agent will know when, where and how to advertise and market your home for sale. They will also be able to walk you through the details of a pocket listing and advise if it’s the right move for your particular situation.
At the end of the day, understanding what a pocket listing is — and when it may or may not make sense — can help you navigate this unique corner of the real estate market. With a bit of research and the help of a qualified real estate agent, you can make an informed decision on whether or not a pocket listing is right for you.
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