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What is a pocket listing?

What is a pocket listing?
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Dear Phyllis,

I moved out of my home and rented it a year ago. My tenant will be leaving in six months, and I was planning on moving back. In the meantime, a Realtor I am acquainted with contacted me out of the blue to tell me I could get what I think is an unbelievable price for my home. I am well known in the community and would be embarrassed to list for such an ambitious price if I weren’t able to get it. He told me he could list my home as a pocket listing. What exactly is a pocket listing? And what are the pros and cons?


Dear Jill,

Although a pocket listing is technically a property listed for sale, it is not listed in the multiple listing service (MLS). There will not be ads in the newspaper and there won’t be a “For Sale” sign either. Instead, your Realtor keeps your listing in his “pocket”. There are two ways for your real estate agent to go about this:

He can share it with only his clients, which will be a relatively small pool of buyers. This scenario may be more for his benefit than yours.


Additionally, he can also share with a handful of other agents he trusts and has a good working relationship with.

Subsequently, in our current heated market, here’s how to decide if a pocket listing is the best marketing approach for your situation: As you are well known in the community and don’t want to have your personal finances known, a pocket listing may shield you from the embarrassment if you fail to sell your home at an “ambitious” price. However, the secrecy of pocket listings does present some serious drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage is that without listing in the multiple listing service there will be less exposure. As a result, this means less traffic and less opportunity for multiple offers and a bidding war. Without this exposure it’s difficult to know at which price your home might actually sell.

Only you can decide if your privacy is worth the potential loss of sales dollars.

Related Post: Realtor Lines of Communication 

One thought on “What is a pocket listing?

  1. Carrie says:

    Not sure why anyone known or unknown in a community should be embarrassed about asking and wanting the highest possible price for the sale of their home. That’s the point.

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