Real estate marketing methods are in transition. A new trend called "Pocket Listings" has invaded the marketplace. It's somewhat controversial, and many real estate professionals hate it, some even seem to have declared war on it. They claim that pocket listings deprive both buyers and sellers of the inherent advantages of established marketing practices. Others though, find them to be a valuable tool, providing access to properties that might otherwise not be available. What are they talking about, and who stands to benefit from pocket listings?
Before we answer those questions, we should briefly define the process for the benefit of those who aren't familiar with the terminology:
Pocket Listings are lists of properties that are not currently listed on the open market, but which may be available under the right circumstances. In some cases, owners have expressed a willingness to sell under very limited conditions – most commonly that a specified price is met and that the process be handled discretely, with no public notice of its' being available.
Some 50 years ago, songwriter Malvina Reynolds wrote the song "Little Boxes". Her song was inspired by driving past rows and rows of "cookie cutter" houses. It includes these words:
"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same."
If you have one of those little boxes for sale, pocket listings WILL NOT help you! Such properties are most likely to sell, and to command the best price by receiving maximum exposure through conventional MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings.
On the other hand, if you own one or more blocks of those houses, and you'd like to move the entire lot, Pocket Listings may be perfect for you. They will allow you to discretely offer your property without the hassles that sometimes accompany conventional listings.
Others who may prefer pocket listings include owners of exotic or exclusive properties, celebrities, and individuals who need / desire privacy or security. Property owners who fit in any of those categories will definitely benefit from the confidentiality of discrete listings. Indeed, probably the majority of celebrity homes are sold "off market" to avoid the hassle of having them trampled by hordes of sightseers. The same is true of exclusive properties such as unique designer homes, historic structures, and extremely valuable mansions.
Real estate agents may choose to use the pocket listing approach to discretely share leads with trusted peers about special properties, or about potential buyers who have very specific interests – but such sharing should be done with extreme caution. Unless you have a binding contract, you could end up donating your lead to a competitor!
If you are wondering whether you want to sell, consider using a service such as "Listing Pockets". They will enable you to discretely offer your property and "test the waters". You can find out how your property stacks up without first locking yourself into an extended contract with a real estate agent. You may actually sell it yourself, or at least the experience will help you to decide for certain what you want to do. Pocket Listings are not for everyone, but they offer a valuable service to select owners and agents.
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