Pocket listings are officially an epidemic. The primary reason for a pocket listing is that an agent was not strong enough to convince a seller why the property should be openly listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for all agents to see. I’ve been in the real estate profession for decades, and my successful experience has taught me that it is critical to let all qualified people see the property if the seller wants the best possible price and terms on a sale. This is why we have the MLS. By listing a property for sale in the MLS, it is visible to ALL brokers, and not just a few. Therefore, the listing could potentially reach agents whom you would not otherwise contact with a pocket listing.
Another risk associated with pocket listings is that there is no commitment from the seller to pay the agent a commission. Additionally, the seller is likely telling multiple brokers about the property’s availability. As an agent, you could spend time trying to find a buyer, only to then discover that another broker already sold the property. In this scenario, you would receive nothing for your efforts. Even worse, in trying to sell the pocket listing, you may unknowingly share information with a broker who is untrustworthy. That broker may then contact the seller and negotiate a deal directly with them, avoiding you and eliminating your chance of earning a commission. As you can see, pocket listings are risky business.
For the seller, the absolute best option is to interview and choose a broker who will dedicate all of his or her time to you. In doing so, the listing will reach the entire market without fail. The more qualified buyers that see the home, the more likely (if priced correctly) the price will be driven to market value or higher and will include more advantageous terms.
If you really want to sell, let’s do this right.