What is a Pocket Listing?

KeysA pocket listing is one that does not appear officially on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These listings, sometimes known as “quiet listings,” are not public and are usually only discovered by word of mouth, private open house events, or other non-traditional marketing techniques. Occasionally, sellers will sign an exclusive contract with an individual broker or realtor, and “pocket list” to test the waters of the market and see if they can, in fact, get the price they are looking for.

This strategy can be a particularly appealing method for selling a property among homeowners unsure about whether or not they want to sell in the current state of the market. In addition, celebrities and other high-profile sellers looking for discretion or those looking to sell particularly high-end properties may also gravitate towards pocket listings.

Not being bound by the pressures of a public listing, sellers have more power to sit it out and wait for the price they really want for their home, or better control the timing of their move in a rapidly-moving market. This is particularly important considering the crucial nature of timing in the housing market. Once listed on the MLS, there is a ticking clock. The more days the house sits on the market, the lower the offers from potential buyers tend to be. A pocket listing helps sellers avoid this pressure to sell quickly.

But how do people find out that these homes are for sale you might ask? First of all, it’s essential to choose a realtor or broker who is well-connected and familiar with the local market. They will then be able to promote the property by word-of-mouth marketing, small open house events, and private tours with select potential buyers.

With the economic downturn affecting the housing market across the nation over the past few years, pocket listings have developed into a growing sub-market for uneasy sellers or those simply looking for a quiet sale. In a recovering, or rapidly-moving market like The Woodlands, a pocket listing can also give sellers the opportunity to better control their options without the commitment of an official listing on the MLS.

For buyers, be sure you have an experienced agent with an established professional network on your side. This way you will know about all the properties in the area, even the ones not listed on the MLS.


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