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Just What Is a Pocket Listing?

By Thomas Mitchell

A pocket listing is refers to a listing that does not appear on the Multiple Listing Systems (MLS). There are however, variations of this. A pocket listing can be used to describe a listing during the time when it has been secured by the seller's agent but not yet put on the multiple listing systems. Also, sometimes a listing will sell before the seller finishes the MLS paperwork. This would mean that whoever bought it, knew about the listing outside of any MLS system. It might have been a friend of the seller, a buyer that the listing agent knew, or a friend of the listing agent. This might occur with an offer that was made during the prelisting period, but there could still be multiple listing systems rules that the broker will have to follow, which are exclusive to that offer.

On other occasions, a homeowner may wish to sell their home privately. They might tell their agent not to put their listing on the MLS, so as to keep people from finding out about it. When this happens, the sellers are choosing to refrain from putting their listing on the MLS as a marketing tactic in most cases.

It should be noted however, that realtors are bound by a code of ethics to seek the best possible deal for their clients. If you wish to keep your home listing off the multiple listing systems, then you will be limiting a large amount of potential buyers for your home. This in turn might end up reducing the end price you sell your house for. The national association of realtors has not yet come up with a definition for a pocket listing, and they have no official policy regarding pocket listings either. There are a few critics of the pocket listing as well. Some say that pocket listings violate local MLS rules. Others are worried pocket listings could skew comparable listing data for appraisers.

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