Should a Home Seller Fear a Pocket Listing?


First, you might ask “ What is a Pocket Listing? “.  A pocket listing is home  listed for sale but it does not enter the open market place. It is marketed by a licensee to his own Buyers and fellow agents in his office and sold privately. Some agents think that this practice is not a threat because the numbers of these types of sales change up and down with the market cycles and don’t have a large impact.  Others agree that pocket listings are a threat to both the realtor community and to the consumer for many reasons.


Agents often want to represent both sides of a transaction, potentially making a lot more in commission, for the same amount of work.  When agents sole purpose is to make money, they push these transactions and sell it to the consumer as a time saving proposition.  You don’t have to put up with people coming through your home, you don’t have to do all the preparation work and you save on commission.  Right?  Well, yes BUT, and there is always  a “ but “.  What the agent doesn’t explain to you is the power of the open market. Supply and demand have such a dramatic positive impact on your bottom line in a frenzied market.  You may be foregoing negotiating free rent back, better terms, and as much as $50,000 or more by not allowing others to view your home.  The truth of the matter is you will never know how much damage has been done to your net sale proceeds.  Unless you have a very good reason for not wanting Buyers through your home, you are at risk to lose a lot of money. 

When consumers are not fully educated about the opportunity cost of foregoing the open market, agents are only damaging themselves. The same Seller may become more educated later and realize that their agent took advantage of them in order to collect a quick paycheck.  The numbers of homes that never make it to the market place is growing. Knowing the damages that can occur with these types of sales, why do they continue?   Pocket listings are growing due to privacy concerns that Sellers have, Seller naivety,  and because of agent greed. 


If you are selling a home you might want run as fast as you can from an agent who says they can sell your home without having to expose it to the market place.  What you save in any commission with a private sale, you will lose in over-all price. Demand is at such such high levels, I am confident in saying your net proceeds to the bottom line is definitely reduced in most situations.  Both consumers and agents need to be on the look out for pocket listings and have an open conversation with anyone considering to participate in one.


Stick to preparing your home properly and let market demand do it’s job. Nothing works better than that.  Please contact me for more information or if you are considering a sale in the Livermore/Pleasanton area.

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About the Author Bill

I help small businesses be more successful.

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