We came across an article from Bryan Robertson of the Sereno group and had to share it! There have been a slew of recent articles about why pocket listings are bad for business. We aren’t buying any of those claims, they are myths and not the real reason some agents don’t like pocket listings. Bryan will bust those myths below.
Mention “pocket listings” to most real estate agents and they’ll tell you myriad reasons why they’re bad for the agents, sellers, and appraisers. The local MLS will try to fine agents with pocket listings and the local REALTOR leadership will raise ethics concerns. All of this done – even if the agent has an “exclude from MLS form”. There’s a real reason for why REALTORS don’t like “pocket listings” (aka “off market listings”) and it has nothing to do with any of that.
A recently article published by NAR would have us believe that homes not placed on the MLS:
- skew a buyers perspective of the market
- aren’t available as comparables for appraisers, agents, etc
- a disservice to clients (sellers)
Let’s do a little “Mythbusters” investigation on all those claims to see which ones really hold water. Then I’ll tell you what is really behind this movement.
CLAIM 1: Skews a buyers market perspective - FALSE! When an off-market listing comes on the market around Silicon Valley the listing agent often sends the information to other agents and managers to “get the word out”. They usually get a solid response and the home sells pretty much at market rates.
CLAIM 2: Aren’t available as comps - FALSE! This is just plain laziness. Seriously, you can’t look in the tax records to find a comp? If you can’t find enough market comps the next place to look is the tax records. It’s not that hard to do – stop whining.
CLAIM 3: A disservice to clients - FALSE! If the client wants to list “off market”, that’s their choice. There are many reasons including privacy, price range, strong buyer demand, and others that mean the seller will do just fine selling off market. It is very rare a buyer gets a “deal”. What the buyer gets is less hassle.
THE REAL REASON REALTORS HATE POCKET LISTINGS: Unlevel playing field
The MLS is designed to ensure a level playing field by getting listings to all agents. If a listing isn’t on the MLS it means that the only agents who know about it are the ones who are active, engaged, and networked. The idea that a small group of agents, or a single agent, could have an unfair advantage with buyers or sellers just drives the leadership nuts. Never mind the fact that this is already a very competitive business.
My advice for agents wanting to stop pocket listings – don’t. Just do a better job of being connected to learn what the market is doing. Personally, the agent who knows about a lot of pocket listings is probably more on top of the market than someone who just checks the MLS. Think about that.
Alex Clark, Founder of PocketListings.net:
“Up until now MLS was the only game in town to share listings easily between brokerages, but as we’ve said before, now there is the internet. Technology has changed dramatically in the past 5-10 years and some sellers realize they can get the price they want without ever going through the headaches of being on MLS (open houses, days on market, public price reductions, etc.). The only people that suffer are the agents programmed to only look for property for their buyers on MLS. Our job as agents (yes, I am an active, licensed agent selling real estate on and off our MLS) is to work for our clients and yield a high sales price. Exposure is the name of the game, and if a property can be exposed via internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, a blog, a website, and so many other avenues that didn’t exist when MLS was conceived. The argument about hoarding commissions is just lame. Use your negotiating skills to not only secure a pocket listing for your buyer, but also make sure you get a fair commission. Pocket Listings are not illegal, they are not unethical, and they are not unfair. The only people that complain about them are the agents that don’t have the wherewithal to adjust to the changing landscape that is marketing real estate for sale. It’s high time an alternative to MLS comes along, and it’s just a matter of time before MLS, as we know it today, either adapts or goes away,” Alex Clark
Source: Active Rain
You have a question about pocket listings? We’ll do our best to answer it!
Q: I saw a foreclosure ad for a property, only after an offer was accepted . I never saw any ads including a listing anywhere on any site or on foreclosures sites. This house had an accepted offer in 2 days. Can agents do that?
A: Agents can sell a bank owned property (REO or foreclosures) as a pocket listing; as long as they get the bank the price they want, they can use multiple channels or methods to sell it. When there is a “good deal” in hot markets buyers will submit offers without even seeing homes in many cases.
Q: Are pocket listings legal?
A: A listing gets the name “pocket listing” or “pocket deal,” as well as an “off-MLS listing” because the broker figuratively keeps the property in his or her pocket and does not list it for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS). A broker has a fiduciary duty to make sure he or she sells a home for the best price, no matter how the broker lists the home.
“Much marketing is done via email, word-of-mouth, phone calls to shoppers in the price range. Sometimes they do web sites for them and create virtual tours. It’s just not on the MLS,” said Brenda Miller a real estate agent with Alain Pinel Realtors in Saratoga. “In Silicon Valley, this is happening in the northern area, the 650 area code (the stomping ground of technology-made multi-billionaires), more than in the 408 area code,” said Miller.
Q: Why are pocket listings becoming more popular with sellers?
A: There are sellers who have been interested in selling but aren’t comfortable with current home values. These sellers may sit on the sidelines and will only sell if they can get the price they want. Additionally, as soon as a home is listed in the MLS, the infamous “days on market” clock starts ticking. The longer your home sits on the market, the more “stale” it becomes and the less money you’re likely to be offered. Buyers, seeing that a home has been for sale for 30 or 60 days or even longer, will inevitably make low-ball offers. And so, instead of going on the market, a seller who wants a certain price may engage their real estate professional and put the listing out there as a “pocket” listing.
Q: Are pocket listings a trend or here to stay?
A: In some markets, there are entire websites devoted to pocket listings or networking opportunities with other agents about upcoming listings and properties. What started as a way to get the word out about future listings has turned into a secondary market of homes for sale for well-connected real estate agents.
Source: Realtor.com, Fox News, Deadlinenews.com
THE MOST UP TO DATE TUTORIAL INFORMATION IS AT BLOG.POCKETLISTINGS.NET/TUTORIAL
Welcome to PocketListings.net, a Website For Open Exchange Of Not On MLS Real Estate Opportunities (Pocket Listings & Buyer Needs), An MLS Alternative & Real Estate Match Making Service. You can read this tutorial in it’s entirety top to bottom and know exactly what we do, or if you simply have questions about (new) features, click around and be enlightened.
Who Can Join And Become A Member
Create An Account
Invite Your Colleagues
Activate Your Account/Verify Email
Post A Pocket Listing
Privacy Options For Posts, Pictures, Description, Addresses
Share With Public Or Members Only
Post A Buyer Need
View, Edit, & Share Your Post
Publish, Unpublish A Post
Sharing Posts Using Social Networking
Real Estate Match™
Control Panel/My Account
My Posts, My Favorites, Saved Searches/Matches Tabs
Removing A Saved Search
Email Notifications Of New Matches/Saved Searches
Property Detail Page
How We Use Twitter To Get Your Posts More Exposure
Cancel Your Account
You (a licensed real estate professional) post property on our site that is for sale and not listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), such as “coming soon”, “pre-mls”, “withdrawn”, commercial, and other listings. You also post ALL of your buyer needs. We (PocketListings.net) provide a service to search, share and produce a Real Estate Match™ for your post. You get paid. Your clients sell their property without any hassle or drama. Your buyers give you high fives and hugs.
Any post can be searched, linked to, ranked, Shared, emailed, marketed, and seen by potentially thousands of people around the world. We also feed every post you do to our Twitter page (respecting your Privacy Options, of course).
The goal being to get you closing more transactions, give your sellers an alternative listing place, and get your buyers property otherwise not marketed for sale, through as much exposure as possible of your posts…if you want it. If you and your clients prefer to share things more quietly, we give you Privacy Options to do just that too.
Combine Google, Craigslist, and Match.com… for real estate. That’s us.
Front and center, you’ll notice a large Keyword Search bar, which enables you to quickly search Neighborhood, City, Zip Code, and any keyword you can dream up.
We have a Latest Activity feed that comes directly from any new posts that are made on our site. This makes it easy to come back to our site often and see if there is anything new that might pique your interest. You can also follow us on Twitter to get a live feed of new posts and zero in on any metro area. (To learn more about how/why we do that, check out this article.)
We have some fun stats that we’ll continue to expand and elaborate, as well as all of the important login, join, search, and about us links. We also have the all important Facebook Like Button in the top left corner. Go ahead…Like it!
Who can join? Only licensed real estate professionals may join and post to our site. The public can browse, search, share, “Like”, and view any information (description, address, pictures, contact information) that is made public by the real estate professional who did the post.
Out With The Old And In With The New. Not On MLS Real Estate Just Got Better, More Social, And More Efficient
Looking for this?
That was our beta version. We launched it. We got tons of traffic. Agents closed deals because of it. We learned from it. We killed it.
PocketListings.net Version 2.0 is live! We changed at least 100 things since the beta version and we have made a completely overhauled service available to you. The general concept is the same, but now we have tons of new features including Real Estate Match™, Saved Search, a Principals Only feature, Social Networking and Sharing options, Increased Privacy Options, and so much more, all available to help you close more transactions and get more and more happy clients!
Our beta version was a result of hundreds of emails I see weekly from one agent to another both marketing pocket listings, and looking for them for their buyers (buyer need), so we tweaked what we had, and the result is amazing.
Version 2.0 is a 100% feedback driven, and we can’t thank you enough for the valuable insight you have provided.
The new homepage looks like this…
As a current member, you might be wondering what the heck happened to your old account. This is definitely a valid concern, but something you absolutely don’t need to worry about. We have transferred all of the previous accounts over to the new version successfully, your username and password are the same, and and ALL of your posts (including photos) are still live on the new site.
This new version automatically expires posts after 30 days and pulls them off the site, but any posts transferred over will remain live for 60 days from 10/1/2011 (who luvs ya). After 60 days your post will simply Unpublish, but it’s easy to republish it so it remains visible on searches and matches.
To learn all about the new version in detail or if you ever have any questions, please refer to this awesome Tutorial we just threw together. For future reference you can always find it at http://blog.pocketlistings.net/tutorial. We will continue to update it as things change, so don’t hesitate to refer to it later.
We hope you like the new site, and we hope you tell your colleagues. It took us a REALLY long time to release this new version, but we didn’t want to release something with which we weren’t 100% satisfied. We are truly taking a leap forward in the real estate listing industry and we hope you stay with us, as we already have a laundry list of future services to add to help you do more deals even further into the future.
List and search is old school. List, Match, Search, Share, Tweet, Expire, Like, and Link are new school. We are the Dean.
As an active real estate agent in the city of San Francisco, I can categorically state we are filling a void in our marketplace.
We value your business and are striving to make our service something you and your clients come to know and trust, and we hope that you and your clients realize there is now an alternative (not competitor) to MLS. Use your Multiple Listing Service, and use us too. Your clients deserve options, as do you.
If you have any questions about the new site, please refer to our Tutorial from here on out.
As always, may your pocket listings sell quickly, and your buyers find what they need.
We are using the tools available on the web to get your posts more exposure…after all, it’s lack of exposure that many agents will argue as the reason not to pocket list. The way we see it, if we can get you as much, or more, exposure for a pocket listing as you would get on MLS, it’s one more weapon in your arsenal to successfully sell your client’s home.
One of those tools is Twitter, and we wanted to show you how we use Our Twitter Page (Twitter.com/pocketlistings) to not only get your post more exposure, but make your post unique on Twitter as well.
Twitter uses hashtags, the pound (#) symbol followed by a word, to enable millions of people around the world to talk or “tweet” about the same thing…like #football, #wine, #realestate, #surfing, etc., and we use Twitter. Notice what we do with the city you enter in your post. We turn it into a hashtag. In this case, “#Calabasas”.
That’s the city where you posted. Thanks to us and Twitter, it shows up with all of the other posts on Twitter where other people are also using that same hashtag, or essentially talking about the same thing.
That’s great, but we take it a step further.
What if you want to follow us on Twitter, but find there are a lot of posts in one area, and only a few in yours…like in #Malibu. We created a hashtag just for you, that you can “save search” on Twitter. That hashtag is #plcity. For example: #plsanfrancisco:
This way, you can track all of the not on MLS, or “off market” opportunities in YOUR AREA in real time! How cool is that!?
One final thing on this Twitter stuff. What good are your posts on Twitter if they’re stuck there and home buyers, sellers, and agents don’t find you!? We thought of that too. All of your posts that show up on Twitter have a hyperlink that takes the user right back to your post, and ultimately back to you (red arrow):
Remember, you can post “buyer needs” too, and it all functions the same.
If there is nothing happening in your area, and there are no #plhashtags to “save search”, well…start posting and telling your colleagues, friends, and family that the future of real estate “listing”, searching, and selling is here. We’re only going to get better, and better, and better, so we encourage you to join us now.