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What is a ‘Pocket Listing’ and is it a problem?

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Posted by: Claire Belby on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 7:00:00 am

What is a ‘Pocket Listing’ and is it a problem?

A ‘pocket listing’ is any real estate listing that is retained by a listing agent who does not make the listing publically visible in a listing service – like an MLS or BLC® listing service. It’s also referred to as an ‘exclusive listing’ or ‘whisper listing’. Listings like this are generally marketed via word of mouth. The listing agent will usually promote the property to likely buyers and other agents one-on-one.

With tight housing inventory an issue around the country, pocket listings are growing in popularity. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the share of pocket listings in the metro Washington, D.C. area has grown to 8.5 percent of all sales. In California’s Silicon Valley region, the market share is 17 percent. Significant increases are also reported in Denver, Austin and South Florida.

So is there a problem? Critics of the practice say properties don’t get enough exposure and sellers may not get full market value since the property hasn’t been tested in the open market. Those in favor say it gives sellers privacy, lessens their burden for open houses and showings and results in a quicker sale.

REALTORS® subscribe to a Code of Ethics and are bound by a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. If you have thought about doing a pocket listing, talk to your REALTOR® about the risks and rewards to you. You’ll also want to know more about their responsibility to you and as a member of a common listing service before you decide.

A REALTOR.com contributing writer examines the consumer thought process about pocket listings. Click here to read.

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