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All About Pocket Listings

Eileen Walsh

REALTOR® / Attorney at Law. President of and top producer for Los Angeles Canyon Real Estate...

REALTOR® / Attorney at Law. President of and top producer for Los Angeles Canyon Real Estate...

Sep 30 5 minutes read

A pocket listing?!? What the heck is that? If your real estate agent doesn't have access to them, you are totally missing out on your options of homes to purchase and are definitely missing out on opportunities. 

Key Takeaways

  • There's a secret market for homes for sale that can't be found online
  • Only a handful of real estate agents have access to these "hidden" homes for sale
  • Sellers can potentially net more money if their agent is well versed with a "pocket listing" strategy
  • Buyers can gain access to homes not on the MLS and thereby avoid the current "feeding frenzy"

So what exactly is a pocket listing?

Pocket listings are properties where a broker holds a signed listing agreement with the seller where the home is never publicly advertised for sale and they are marketed completely differently than traditional methods. These homes will either never be on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or have yet to come on the MLS. These homes usually can never be found on Zillow,, Trulia, or anywhere else online.

Quite a few of the most expensive properties sold are pocket listings. 

With today's usual goal of exposure, exposure, exposure, why would any seller agree to limit the visibility of their property? There are a few different reasons why.

Confidentiality is probably the main reason that I've come across. Some luxury homeowners don't want their neighbors, the press, or others to know their home is for sale. However, they do want the real estate agents that have highly qualified buyers, with the ability to purchase their property, to know that their home is on the market. 

Some sellers choose pocket listings for security reasons as well. Others could be public figures that don't want their future plans to be disclosed. Sellers also know that buyers appreciate the exclusivity to these homes. Most people value the opportunity to purchase properties others don't have access to, and sometimes are willing to pay a premium for it. 

Some pocket listings turn into standard listings after a few weeks. These properties will be marketed as "coming soon" properties. Sellers do this to create a buzz about a home before it officially hits the market. At the same time, if there is tepid feedback towards the way the home is presented or its price, it can be adjusted prior to it hitting the MLS.

It is extremely important for agents that use pocket sales techniques to exercise care to comply with relevant legal and professional requirements, as well as have written consent from their clients.

There are numerous other strategies for both buyers and sellers regarding pocket listings. To learn more about homes that you can't find online or if you would like to find out if marketing your home as a pocket listing is the best option for you, click HERE.

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