Networking has taken on new meaning in the current real estate market. There are "secret" networking groups within larger company networking meetings. "Closed" networking cliques exist as well as "luxury home" networking systems. Often these networking meetings are by invitation only. The goal is to sell a property before it hits the open market and receives dozens of offers.
In my opinion, this may not be the best route for either the buyer or the seller. I do think it works well for the agents--there I said it. If the purpose of placing a property on the Multiple Listing Service is to expose it to a wide variety of agents and their clients, then keeping it as a "pocket" listing and off the MLS is to do quite the opposite. Yes, I know there can be many reasons for not putting a property on the MLS, but I often wonder if those reasons were truthfully explored with the seller?
When I represent a seller it is my duty to work diligently to obtain the highest price the market will bear. If I only expose the listing to my buyers and agent pals am I really fulfilling my fiduciary duty to my client? Not in my little black book of moral and ethical codes I try to live by.
Likewise, when representing a buyer my duty is to obtain the best deal the market will bear. If there are 20 buyers bidding for a property what the market will bear may be grossly different than if there is only one buyer bidding on a property. This is a difficult market for buyers and their agents, but it is crucial to keep the welfare of our clients first and foremost in mind.