Get More Money: Avoid Selling Your Home with a “Pocket Listing”

Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor
Avoid pocket listing your home.

Don’t skip listing your home and hope a “pocket listing” will work in your favor.

by Realtor® and U.S. Army Veteran Ed Kunkel, Jr.

When you’ve made the decision that it’s time to sell, you should interview agents, get a grasp on your home’s value, and sign the agreement.  Be ready to be “all in” when it comes to selling your home. That includes keeping your home show ready, accommodating buyer showings, and a few other inconveniences.

Don’t try to be a pocket listing.  What is a pocket listing? If you tell an agent, “Bring me a buyer, and I will sell my home for X, but I don’t want to be bothered with a listing contract, showings, etc.”  This method is a cop out and it won’t work to your advantage. I don’t mean to be so blunt about it, but the relationship between you and the agent is lacking substance and commitment from you, and de-values the skill and expertise of the professional.  Unless you have some unique or extenuating circumstance, you’re not truly committed to selling your home as a pocket listing.

So what’s the difference, and why should a seller not go pocket listing?  Let’s start with exposure.  How much MLS exposure do you suppose you’re getting as a pocket listing?  Try none.  No official listing contract equals no input on MLS.  You don’t exist, as far as the market is concerned.  What about exposure elsewhere?  One advantage that agents have is the ability to leverage their exposure for listings through MLS, which in turn gains more exposure through “IDX feeds.”

IDX Feeds are the life blood of consumer websites that allow Real Estate searching.  Most homes being sold today are found online through these home search types of websites – and your pocket listing will not be one of them.  Another good resource for gaining exposure is yard signs, and this resource is also not available to pocket listings per MLS rules if you do not have a signed listing contract.  So to summarize, the two most effective means of getting your home sold are not options for you if you are a pocket listing client.

The next topic is money.  This is likely the reason why you don’t want a full-blown listing agreement, it’s because you don’t want to have to pay all the costs to close escrow if you don’t have to.  That’s understandable.  But let’s dig a little deeper.  When you look at perceived market value and trends, you have to include what it took to create those trends – one hand washes the other.  You can’t have the best exposure, and get the best offers from the most qualified buyers without paying for it.

The market trends you see on your CMA are the result of sellers paying for the costs of doing business, not avoiding them.  And, let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are only three types of buyers in the market – the qualified buyer with a 3 month plan AND agent that typically looks only at MLS properties, the investor looking for a cheap deal, and last but not least, the “lookey-lou” buyer that will never really buy anything.  Which buyer would you like to appeal to?

So who really benefits from a pocket listing? If you have not taken the opportunity to put your home on the market, you obviously won’t see any competing bids.  And, what if your home is worth more than you’re settling for in a quick, “pocket listing” sale?  To reap the true benefits of being a successful home seller, you really need to be all in!

I cover many areas around Western Washington – and I love making a difference for every client that I serve.  Do you have questions about the market, I can help!  Let’s love your new home together!

Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.