To properly discuss a “Pocket Listing” it needs to be defined. A Pocket Listing is simply one that is not on the MLS (or respective listing service for home sales). There may or may not be a contract between the Agent and Seller, or maybe there is a Non-Exclusive Agreement between them, where the Listing Agent is to use word of mouth and other limited marketing techniques to sell the home.* Some of the more common reasons for this are: the desire to maintain some semblance of control, to keep foot traffic at a minimum (for example, because of young children), attempting to test the market waters, and the misconception that the right buyer will find the home and pay top dollar, so there is no need to canvas the world with the listing.
These reasons, although alluring, may actually be fatal to receiving the best price for your home. Homes are a commodity. Although no two are generally alike, buyers will compromise wants and needs for pricing, and vice versa. The more demand for a home, the higher the price generally tends to be (in respect to the listing price). If you have one single person seeing the property, and potentially one offer, they are going to try to pull you down in price. Take the same home, market it to the world, and induce an energetic atmosphere and perception of value, and you will likely end up with multiple offers and buyers pushing the price up for your home. We’ve seen it happen before, and although going the Pocket Listing route may be a necessary path for some sellers (very few), it’s generally the least effective way of selling your home. Similarly, working with an agent on a Non-Exclusive basis will hurt the perception of your listing, portraying the seller as not very serious and testing the waters trying to get one buyer to pay a high price. So do your homework and don’t settle for an agent’s pocket you may just end up with the pocket change.
* This is our definition, what we think best describes a Pocket Listing.