The Downside of Pocket Listings

(This was a ghost-written post)

A client of mine is always on the lookout for properties for sale. Although she is not ready to buy yet, she likes to see what options are out there for her.

Recently she was driving through a very desirable neighborhood in Blacksburg, Virginia and saw a higher-end home for sale. Curious, she checked the local listings on Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and the website of the Realtor listed on the For Sale sign, but did not see the listing. After several days of looking, she contacted me and asked about why a Realtor would not list a home online.

What my client saw was a home that is a “pocket listing.” This type of listing is pretty popular in extremely high-priced markets or exclusive neighborhoods. The idea is the listing Realtor will speak with other Realtors in the area about the property, and sell the home that way instead of publicly listing it. For those who want to sell and have their private lives remain private, this may be the way to go.

According to CNN Money, pocket listings are becoming more common as the market is gearing more towards the seller in larger markets like Los Angeles and Manhattan.

If you are a celebrity, it makes sense to do a pocket listing, but in the New River Valley, not so much. Even in a seller’s market, why would you want to be exclusive? Homes get snatched up pretty quickly here if they are move-in ready. If someone wants a higher-end home, there are several listed on MLS that are easy for buyers to see before they ask for a showing. A quality Realtor will not take anyone other than someone who can afford the home into your exclusive home.

Although the pocket listing my client saw is located in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in town, it was a few months before it was purchased.

Pocket listings make sense in larger cities or if you are a celebrity, but in the New River Valley, consider listing your home online with a quality Realtor.

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