A Guide to Pocket Listings

A pocket listing is the great secret of the real estate world. The seller benefits from selling their home without the stress of people coming in and out, while the buyer gets access to homes before they go to market. A pocket listing is a house that is sold before it’s officially listed and is sold through the private listing network via word of mouth. Read on for insider details on how to navigate pocket listings.

What is a Pocket Listing?

A pocket listing is an off-market listing, where the listing agent sells the house through the private listing service and relationships with other agents. A pocket listing never goes through the multiple listing service (MLS). Buyers who purchase a pocket listing can buy the house before it is formally listed. This type of house isn’t staged or photographed to sell online. 

Pros and Cons of Pocket Listings

There are many advantages of selling your home as a pocket listing and buying a pocket listing home. However, there are also some drawbacks. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the whole picture before deciding to sell or buy a pocket listing. 

Pros of Pocket Listings for Buyers

When considering pocket listings, buyers have less competition than when considering homes on the market. This can result in a less stressful homebuying experience. 

The following are some of the pros of buying a pocket listing:

  • There’s less competition with other offers.
  • There’s a higher chance the seller will accept your offer.
  • The closing date may be sooner.
  • It’s a less stressful home buying experience.

Cons of Pocket Listings for Buyers

  • The listing agent may be representing the seller, as well as the buyer. Some states have made this illegal, meaning the buyer must find different representation.

Pros of Pocket Listings for Sellers

Before you prepare your house to market, it’s worth considering if you want to explore the private listing network first. 

Below are some pros of pocket listings for sellers:

  • Less people are coming through your house, and you have more privacy
  • You don’t need to ensure your home is always cleaned and staged and worry about leaving your home every time a showing is scheduled.
  • You won’t have the added expense of staging or taking professional photos.
  • Buyers who come through are serious about buying. They’re not coming in simply to look at the home.

Cons of Pocket Listings for Sellers

  • There is more privacy and nobody will know the house was for sale until the moving trucks show up.
  • Without an official listing, buyers can get a feel for the listing price and can make changes without the negative impact of announcing it on an MLS.
  • Because there is less traffic through the home, there will be fewer offers, which means less of the chance of a bidding war. The offer won’t likely exceed the asking price without a bidding war.

The payoffs of pocket listings can exceed the disadvantages. However, pocket listings don’t last long, as they must be submitted to the MLS shortly after being shared as a pocket listing. So, if you see a home you love that isn’t available to the public, move quickly for a less stressful homebuying experience.