What Is A "Pocket" Or "Off-Market Listing"?

real estate grand junction

Hi, Dave.

Great columns. I always learn a lot. Can you explain exactly what "pocket" or "off-market listings" are, how they work, and how a buyer can tap into that segment of the market?

Thanks.

Bill F., Grand Junction



Bill F,

The under used, but often successful "pocket listing"! One of my favorites! A pocket listing can be a sellers best friend and is something that we certainly use an awful lot each year. In fact, we will sell a dozen properties each year by utilizing the “pocket listing” status. A pocket listing is a listing that is not advertised and may be withheld from the multiple listing service until such time you are ready to go public with the sale of your home. With a pocket listing your listing agent can promote it to their peers and colleagues and will typically do so through word of mouth. If you go this route, you always run the risk of word getting out, but your chances of keeping it quiet are exponentially greater. A pocket listing can be a successful way to flying under the radar and still getting your home sold in a timely fashion and getting a jump start on selling before you are ready to put the sign in the front yard. If you go this route, I would suggest you be prepared to move as the results are often times quite good. 

The pocket listing is a great way to get your property exposure on the “down low” and buyers are generally excited to see these properties as they feel like they are getting a sneak peak at it before everyone gets a chance.  It’s a great option for those who dread the showing process or don’t want the hassle of showing after showing for several weeks. The traffic flow is often sporadic at best, but using this method allows you to hunt and peck for candidates that are most often much more targeted and many times pre-screened to help increase the chances they are a fit!  Keep in mind that a pocket listing may not always be the best option.

The pocket listing process does not provide the best environment for competition and multiple offers as the selectivity of who knows or has access can limit the big rush that many times occurs when a new property hits the market. This means that getting multiple competing offers that may drive the price up above the listing price is not common but getting an offer at the list price is a likely outcome because you can leverage the early access angle. Access to these properties is often times just being in the right place at the right time!  Many buyers are often frustrated when they see a house has sold before it even hit the market and feel cheated that they did not get a chance to view it.  One way we help our buyers get access to the ‘off, but on market’ properties is networking with other agents and e-blasting (email blast) to all the agents about what kind of property we are seeking! It’s amazing how many properties turn up when we e-blast for a buyer’s need if properties on the market at that time don’t fill the bill. 

I would encourage you to hook up with a real estate agent and have them start networking and e-blasting your specific property needs and see what turns up after doing so. You have to turn over every stone and sometimes turn them over time and time again to find just the right place! It does not always happen, but it sure can be an effective way to discover special/unique properties that are ready for sale, but just not in plain sight! Looking off the beaten path is sometimes where the best trails are forged! Looking in ways and places not everyone is looking is sometimes where real gems are found. Have a wonderful Sunday and thanks for your question.

Dave Kimbrough

The Kimbrough Team

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