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It’s easy to see how homebuyers today might feel defeated after scouring online listings and getting lost in the crowd at every open house.
While the housing market right now — characterized by record low inventory and soaring prices — can be demoralizing for sure, there’s another option available to buyers and sellers: Pocket listings. These off-market home listings give sellers privacy, while allowing buyers to access a new set of home options, with less competition.
“Off market, pocket listings are very big now, very popular,” said Andrea Wernick, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Warburg in New York City.
There are 20% to 30% more homes being sold right now than what is reported publicly, said Christian Ross, managing broker at Atlanta-based real estate brokerage, Engel & Völkers. “That means there’s a lot of inventory that’s not hitting the market,” she said.
Here’s what you need to know to decide if a pocket listing is right for you.
What Is a Pocket Listing and How Do They Work?
A pocket listing can go by many names — “off-market listing” or “whisper listing” among them — but they all refer to the same thing: A real estate listing that is being shared exclusively with a small group of potential buyers and brokers, but that hasn’t been advertised publicly.
“A pocket listing is really a listing that is in someone’s pocket. That agent knows about the listing, and they have been advised that they can share with other brokers or potential buyers, but really has not been introduced to the market,” said Ross.
Here’s how it works: A homeowner can approach a real estate agent with the desire to sell their home, while at the same time avoiding the frenzy of putting it on the open market. The real estate agent will create an essentially “private” listing that they share only with other agents in their office, for example, or only with specific buyers who are interested in that type of property.
“A lot of people will do it either to maintain privacy, or they just are not ready to physically take their home on the market,” Ross said.
There are some rules governing pocket listings. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a “Clear Cooperation Policy” that requires homes to be publicly listed if they are being publicly …….