The return of the "Hidden Listing"

Real Estate Agent with Aspen Properties, Inc. BR511793000

The Return of the “Hidden Listing”


Whenever the market heats up and the inventory of available homes for sale drops, the practice of “hiding “a listing re-appears in the marketplace. The first time that listing shows up in the MLS is when it is already pending or perhaps even sold. The agent who has it listed wants credit for the sale after it is sold, but they keep the listing in office so no outside agent or buyer has an opportunity to see it or make an offer on it. 

This creates frustration in buyers because the first time they spot a listing it is already sold. Their next call is to their buyer’s agent wanting to know why they never got to see that property. Be assured, your buyer’s agent didn’t know about it either. The agent who had the property listed likely had the seller sign an MLS waiveR to keep the property out of the MLS so they could have an opportunity to sell it themselves, or keep in in house for another agent in the brokerage to sell. Frequently they never put up a sign and the listing will never appear on any Real Estate site until it is already sold. A check of the listing date will show it may have been available for a while but no one outside of the agent’s office ever knew about it. 

The point of this post is to help buyers understand why they may not see a listing at all until it is pending or sold. It causes frustration and anger at times, and those feelings are often misdirected toward their buyer’s agent. Be assured, your buyer’s agent was as much in the dark as you were. If a listing is not entered in to the MLS and there is no sign on the property, there is no way the buyer’s agent could know about it. We may work a lot of magic to make sales happen, but we do not have a third eye to read what is deliberately hidden. As a buyer’s agent I too feel the frustration and get upset when I see the perfect house for one of my buyers appear for the first time and it is already sold. I feel the unfairness of it as well but unfortunately there is little to be done about it. In a hot market it happens and will continue to do so as long as demand exceeds the supply of homes available. The only answer is more homes to sell which creates more competition. For now, that isn’t happening. 

If you need a buyer’s agent or need help in finding a home, please keep me in mind. You can start your search right here on my website and regardless of who the listing agent is, I can help you gain access to the home and help you make an offer on the home of your dreams. I am here to help. 

Thanks for reading, until next time……………. 

Sandra Paulow, Associate Broker, GRI, REALTOR®


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Posted by

Sandra J. Paulow, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR, REALTOR®

Pinetop, Arizona

(928) 242-0300


If you are looking to Buy or Sell Property in the White Mountains of Arizona, give me a call.  I have been listing and selling in this area since 2002.  With over 16 years of experience I can assure you I know how to treat a client.  For Service you expect and deserve, call Sandra Paulow. 



Comments (3)

Margaret Kapranos
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Novato, CA
San Francisco Bay Area REALTOR. 415-608-5070

Good points made...not to mention the seller probably sold under market value.

Jun 07, 2018 10:42 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

God morning Sandra. This is certainly informative to the general public. I hate this practice and in my experience it only alienates colleagues and costs the seller money.

Jun 08, 2018 07:26 AM
Sandra Paulow
Aspen Properties, Inc. - Pinetop Lakeside, AZ
REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR

You note I didn't call it a pocket listing because the agent likely does have a listing agreement in place.  We do have a form for an MLS waiver and a slick agent can probably convince a seller it is a good idea.  In my opinion, it negates the whole purpose of a MLS Service and is a restrictive practice and unfair to other agents.  Sadly, there are brokers who actually encourage the practice by penalizing their agents if they sell out of house.    

Jun 08, 2018 08:41 AM