Are "Pocket Listings" Bad for Sellers?

Real Estate Agent 3112649

Are "Pocket Listings" Bad for Sellers?

 Chalk Board on deck in Key West FL
There are advantages and disadvantages to giving a real estate agent a "pocket listing".  If you are a celebrity, prosecutor, judge or someone that wants strict control over who will see their home a "pocket listing" may be for you.  If you want to be certain that only financially qualified buyers see your home and you have a specific vetting process for buyers then a "pocket listing" may be for you.


If you are a seller that is looking for full market exposure and the "highest and best offer" then a "pocket listing", or "off MLS listing" might not be the best choice.  If you are in a "low inventory" real estate market and you are a seller a "pocket listing" is likely to cost you more money than it saves you.


Be sure to talk to your real estate professional about the pros and cons of a "pocket listing" or "off-MLS listing" before you commit!

For more information about "pocket listings" go to and this post on "pocket listings".




Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good post, Maya. There are very few circumstances when a seller is best served by a pocket listing.

Jun 29, 2013 07:33 AM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Security and privacy concerns aside for a moment, I can't imagine how a pocket listing can get the broadest exposure for a seller. In States where there is a fiduciary duty, it can be a nightmare.

Jun 29, 2013 07:36 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

A pocket listing can be good because when people know you have it and cannot see it than they want it all the more. I would make note to other agents I know that I have a pocket listing and have them chase me for it.

Jun 29, 2013 11:07 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I have had one or two pocket listings and the reasons for them were very specific.  However in a sellers market, as we currently have in my area, a pocket listing could be costing a seller thousands of dollars.  

Jun 29, 2013 11:10 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

There are some genuine reasons some sellers wish to contract for a pocket listing - High-end, privacy, illness in the home, security, fishing for a deal -'make-me move' (#45.) The marketed exposure is less than a shared MLS database and the potential of a sale perhaps less, but it is the seller's right. Just follow laws, rules and regulations and keep a good paper trail. Interesting featured post, Maya.

Jun 29, 2013 11:41 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

I've found there are some valid reasons certain sellers choose a pocket listing, such as being a high-end/celebrity home with a need forprivacy, or due to illness or recent death in the family, etc. 

Jun 29, 2013 02:33 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

The only time I have seen "pocket listings", or rather, the phrase used in my market, is when a seller did not want to make a commitment and sign an official listing. The seller tells you he/she is "willing" to give you a commission if you come in with an offer of (usually high) a certain amount. My feeling? No thank you.

Jun 29, 2013 04:01 PM
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast

In my market on Cape Cod there are a few of these that come up for just the reasons you outline here Maya.  Here it is often about qualifying buyers prior to letting them into the property.  It works and there are other ways to build traffic for listings like these.  Thaanks for the post and congrats on your feature.

Jun 29, 2013 08:06 PM
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hi Maya, congrats on the feature - I finally understand what the term means! 

Jun 29, 2013 10:27 PM
Erick Blackwelder
Cell: 703-677-1120 - Woodbridge, VA
Text or call Erick now at 703-677-1120.

Inventory is scarce in our market, and some agents are putting up signs many days prior to listing the houses in MLS with a rider that says COMING SOON to try to do a double-ender.

COMING SOON is a violation of Association of Realtors rules in out market.  Yet, agents keep posting FOR SALE signs before listing the house in MLS.

Erick Blackwelder
Washington DC Suburbs
Equal Housing Opportunity

Jun 30, 2013 01:29 AM
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Just wanted to say you did a nice job with this post.  Concise and clear.  I've written on the same subject but got too wordy, I admire your style.

Jun 30, 2013 01:55 AM
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Hello All! 


I'm very excited to have a few minutes to finally log in and see what everyone has to say!  It's been a very busy weekend in Key West showing property.  I'm ready for a nap... right after I catch up!


Joetta, thank you so much!  I've done the same thing and learned to be short, sweet and to the point from this post!


Hi Erick, Coming Soon signs are legal here in the Florida Keys and an area with a lot of frustration.  When I'm selling it seems like a great benefit to a seller to get the word out as early as possible.  But it can be frustrating in a low inventory market to feel like


Hi Joanna, thank you so much!  What a shock!  A friend sent an email and that's how I found out.  Getting a feature has got to be one of the most exciting things that can happen!  I gotta say 'thank you' to everyone who shared their experiences!

Thank you so much John!  It's interesting to hear what's going on around the country and hear your take on Pocket Listings!


Hella, I agree!  That's the most common way that I see them too.  It seems like unmotivated sellers favor this type of no-commitment listings.

Jun 30, 2013 04:59 AM
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Hi Michelle Carr-Crowe, thank you for shedding licke on some more good reasons why a seller might choose this option. 


Jane Chaulkin-Schott, excellent point about record keeping.  What a nightmare to have a Pocket Listing come and bite you in the butt later!


Cindy Jones, Pocket Listings seem to cost a seller money in the Florida Keys too.  It's common to have a buyer see a sold comp that was input for 'statistical purposes' ask you why it sold so low.  Occasionally a Pocket Listing sells for market rate, but they usually seem to be a steal of a deal but maybe that's my perception rather than reality!

Jimmy Faulker - great use of a Pocket Listing that seems to be good for everyone!  What form do you use for a Pocket Listings or have you made one?  Or do you take the seller on their word that they will give you the commission if you bring a buyer?  Does the seller pay you and the buyer's agent?  Most Pocket Listing sellers I've talked to only want to pay the buyer's side of the commission.


Good point about fiduciary duty Richard Iarussi!  Money has got to be left on the table.  Listings in my area can sell for $20,000 to $150,000 more than asking price. 


Pocket Listings do have merit for sellers in certain circumstances Jean Marie and Wayne Zuhl!  Agents have brought up so many good points that I never thought of.

Hi Morgan Evans, Pocket Listings must be an everyday experience in Manhattan.  It's fun to hear from places all over the US and what agents are seeing and experiencing.  I can't imagine what it's like to sell property in Manhattan!


haha Dana Basiliere!  Maureen did cover all the bases and made a strong case for both options.

I can see your point Raymond Denton!  Do you expect to get over market or do you like the simplified process of a Pocket Listing when you think about selling your own home? 

Hi Maureen Megowan, you make a STRONG point for and against Pocket Listings!





Jun 30, 2013 05:20 AM
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Thank you Brian Sharkey!  Have a great weekend!


Absolutely!  I agree Edward and Celia Maddox!

30% Bryan Robertson!  WOW!  How difficult it must be to work with a buyer!  I can't imagine what it's like to do business there!

If a traditional listing is good enough for country music royalty than it ought to work for the average person!  Thank you for the insight Tammie White!  Pocket Listings do seem to benefit a listing agent.  I wonder if most Pocket Listings pay a full commission or if most pay just the buyer's side? 


Hi Joe Pryor, very interesting to hear that!  I'm sure that decision was based upon some serious reasons.


Great points Jason Rankin!  In most ways it seems crazy to give an agent a Pocket Listing!

Thank you Leslie Helm!  I was completely shocked.  And so happy!  I have a buyer shopping and sold Pocket Listings have been popping up in the MLS marked for "statistical purposes."  It's very frustrating for a buyer to see that sale.


Susan Haughton, excellent point about money not being the end-all-be-all for every seller.  And great point about an agent that would take advantage of a seller in this situation.

Andrew Mooers, great idea about videos taking the place of strangers tromping through a persons home. 

I agree Dorie Dillard!  When I have a buyer I would prefer to see every available home in the MLS!



Mike and Eve Alexander, it would be very upsetting for a seller who gets by passed for a Pocket Listing.   I didn't even think about that!  Thank you for sharing.

Hi Linda Balades, having a home on the market can be exhausting for a seller.  There are a lot of sellers who would rather see it sell fast than for more money to avoid the circus.


Hi Harry D'Elia, a great data base and client base could be helpful to a seller and be of great benefit to them.  What if you end up in a multiple bid situation with your seller and your buyers?  Wow, that could be a tricky mess!

Hi Chris Miller, reminds me of the stories about horse and cow traders back in the 1800s too now that you mention it! 

Hi Norman Padula, land can be a bear trap in the Florida Keys.  We have so many intricate laws and traps that an unsuspecting buyer could find themselves in.  Scary stuff.


Hi Richie Alan Naggar, it's nice to hear about agents standing up for themselves.  If we take a stand when something like this comes up it makes our profession better for everyone.  Let's get rid of the bad apples!

Hi Carol Zingone, it almost always seems like a Pocket Listing sells for less than a traditional listing.  So... maybe Pocket Listings are good for buyers!  What a tricky spot to be in if you are the 'listing' agent on a Pocket Listing.  Seems like an accident just waiting to happen!

Good points Gary Frimann.  Potential drama in every direction!

Hi Jeffrey Stevens, good point about a property being 'one of a kind'. 

I gotta agree Tom White!

Hi Gloria Laughton Allston, I'm surprised by how many sellers want to offer a Pocket Listing!  At least once a month a seller will ask me about a Pocket Listing.

Hi Dick and Dixie, that's a good way to frame them - Future Listings rather than Pocket Listings!

Hi Michael Setunsky, the seller knows what they want and need, once they've seen their options, better than we might.







Jun 30, 2013 05:57 AM
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.


Hi Barbara Todaro, I'm sure you have many good reasons for that and have thought it through forward and backwards!


Hi Nina Hollander, I wonder WHAT form that agents use to list a Pocket Listing?


Thank you Bill and Mary Ann Wagner!  Thank you for taking the time to click through! 


Thank you Fernando Herboso!  I've learned so much from everyone.  What a blessing it has been to hear from so many great agents about their thoughts, experiences and points of view.  I'm very grateful.


I can see why and understand those feelings Gita Bantwal.


So true Scott Fogelman.  I wonder how many people realize they are going to make less money if they have a Pocket Listing?

I gotta agree Carolyn Kolba!  I wonder if agents who take Pocket Listings talk about this with their sellers.


Hi Jay and Michelle Lieberman, most sellers who offer me a Pocket Listing want to give just the buy side of the commission.  I wonder if agents are getting both sides in a Pocket Listings.  It would be interesting to find out.

Hi Bruce Walter!  I'm happy you don't deal with these listings very often.  Hope it stays that way especially after hearing from everyone.  Agents have made some really good points about some issues that I didn't think about previously.

I agree Praful Thakkar

Hi Jon Quist, it's hard not to think that!  I'm surprised by how many agents post the 'statistical sales' in our MLS.

Hi Jeff Dowler, EXCELLENT points.  I can't imagine that a fully informed seller would choose to sell their home as a Pocket Listing!  I can see how a high profile judge could be concerned about safety issues if he has ruled on cases affecting really scary criminals.  The judges would probably prefer some privacy and to not have pictures of their home available on the internet.

Hi Wayne Johnson, it seems like the more exposure the better when it comes to celebrity homes would be better. 


Very interesting Roger Stensland!  I love to hear about how agents and real estate boards are dealing with these issues around the country.


Good points Joan Whitebook.  It's important to take care of our seller the way that they want to be cared for. 

Over the years I've had that happen to me a few times Charles Stallions.  I wonder how many of us remember those sellers when we have a great buyer.


Jun 30, 2013 06:22 AM
Broker Patty Da Silva Da Silva
Green Realty Properties® - 954-667-7253 - Cooper City, FL
Top Listing Broker


Great topic. Pocket listings do serve a purpose depending on the need of the property owner.

Jul 01, 2013 04:42 AM
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
Irvine Realtor®

>>Do you expect to get over market or do you like the simplified process of a Pocket Listing when you think about selling your own home?


I expect to get market - I'm not really interested in selling and the whole moving thing would be painful to somebody like me, but will pack my bags if it makes sense.  I feel serious buyers are interested in pocket listings ... they're not looky-lous.

Jul 03, 2013 07:20 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It is up to the homeowner to decide if they want to keep their house as a pocket or to make it public. My MLS has a choice for agents to do that as well.

Aug 28, 2014 04:14 PM
Chuck Willman
Chuck Willman - Alpine, UT

I know that there are many people who can spell out the various pitfalls of this, there are some instances in which I understand the rationale that some sellers use in going this route.

Feb 13, 2015 03:12 AM
Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

It is the choice of the seller, as long as they know their options.

Jun 23, 2024 12:16 PM