We have noticed that several homes have sold lately before they have hit the MLS. Are these “pocket listings” a good way to sell your home?
If a home sells before it hits the MLS, as a “pocket listing” as they are often called, it is highly likely that the seller could have sold the home for significantly more money. The MLS exposes a home to a large number of prospective buyers in a very short amount of time. This widespread exposure is what has the potential to drive the price up for the seller.
A “pocket listing” is more like a secret sale. The agent you are dealing with may have a buyer that is willing to buy your home, but if it’s that easy, chances are you could have received more money if the general public had a chance at your home, and a bidding war could have possibly ensued. If an agent is being straightforward with the seller and discusses the strategies involved with using the market pressure of the MLS to drive in a higher price, it’s a rare seller who will willingly leave money on the table.
So why do we occasionally see these seemingly “secret sales” taking place? Some sellers perceive these pocket listings as a good thing – some don’t want to be hassled with multiple showings, some don’t want the general public to know their home is available for sale. Some agents choose this strategy because they want to keep all of the commission for themselves and that only happens if their own buyer is the successful bidder. If a seller’s goal is to maximize financial return, however, a pocket listing, or accepting an agreement of sale before the home is marketed in the MLS, is rarely the best strategy.
So no, my 17 years experience indicates that a pocket listing is usually not in a seller’s best interests. The highest returns I have seen sellers achieve occur in scenarios when they have used strategies to maximize the excitement within the buying community through proper pricing, excellent conditioning and staging and full MLS exposure.
Many many thanks to my clients, neighbors and friends for your confidence in me and my business, for choosing me as your real estate agent and for referring me to your colleagues, family, neighbors and friends. I am honored to be included by the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of Pittsburgh’s top real estate agents, and ranked as #1 in Sewickley! Thank you!
Selecting the best realtor for your needs is a very personal process. Surprisingly, however, some real estate consumers don’t know where to begin. The internet is such an easily accessible tool for doing your homework before you commit to an agent, and yet so many people fail to take advantage of all that is available to them, and then months or in some cases years later are still complaining at cocktail parties or book clubs about how they are not satisfied with their choice of agent.
In this age of technology, there is no reason not to do some homework upfront, before committing to an agent to handle what is likely your largest business transaction. You can begin by looking at the qualifications and experience of the agent you are considering. What certifications do they have? Certifications such as ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) require extensive commitment to training by the agent, and training means the agent is best equipped to achieve the very best result for you. Much of this training requires years of dedication to learning and excellence. All agents are not brokers, for example. An Associate Broker’s license takes a minimum of three years commitment to additional learning and hands on experience, which can only enhance your experience with the agent.
Check out their online marketing next. The majority of Buyers start their search online these days. How does the agent market her homes? Check out sites like realtor.com, Trulia and Craig’s List. Are there visual tours? What do you think of the photography? Would you buy the home, or even take a second look? Be sure to check out online recommendations while on these sites.
Finally, when meeting with the agent, ask for statistics. How many days does it take her to sell a home on average and how does that compare to the market generally. How correct is her pricing? How often does she have to reduce the price of a home before it sells? Reflect on how she calculated this data? Is it a guess or did she actually crank out the numbers? This will all help you determine the value of the advice you are receiving.
Each of these factors inures directly to your benefit and your bottom line. So take the time – get to know our credentials, marketing, past performance and recommendations – and make an educated decision when choosing your next real estate agent.
Realtors are commonly called “agents,” but why? Real estate is practice under the “law of agency,” which means that one party, the “agent,” represents the interest of another, “the principal.” How does this really apply to you?
If you are a seller, you enter an “agency relationship” with the agent you choose to be your real estate advocate at the time you sign your listing agreement. At that point, the agent you chose must act on your behalf, with your best interests in mind, to find a buyer. And so does every other agent out there. In Pennsylvania, buyer agency exists in written form only, so until a buyer actually signs a buyer agency agreement with a broker, all agents represent the seller’s interests. Yes, buyers must be treated with honesty and fairness, but this does not mean they are represented. The seller’s interests must always come first.
So what if you are a buyer? This is probably sounding less than favorable right now. All the sign or ad calls you have made – the open houses you have attended – the properties you may have screened without officially having your own buyer’s agent – the agents you were dealing with all represented the sellers and had a duty to put the sellers’ interests first. That is great when you are the seller, but as real estate transactions have become more complex, buyers need representation too.
And so evolved buyer agency agreements in the state of Pennsylvania. Buyers now have the right to demand an agency relationship where their interests must be put first by the agent. To have this, buyers must sign a written agreement where they agree to work with only one agent and whereby the agent is bound to put that buyer’s interests first. With a written buyer agency agreement in place, buyers know that an agent is representing their interests and must fulfill the obligation to faithfully serve them.
If you are a seller who has done your research, chosen the agent best qualified to advocate for your interests and have signed a listing agreement, you have representation. If you are a buyer, you should do your due diligence – research agent qualifications – seek references – and then sign a buyer agency agreement. Know who is representing you, and don’t leave home without them!