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Understanding Pocket Listings

By Tiffany Raiford

Whether you are buying or selling a home in New Hampshire, you might hear the term pocket listing bandied about. If you're not familiar with a pocket listing, this may be a confusing term. However, knowing the meaning and purpose behind a pocket listing will only help you in your attempt to sell your home or purchase a new one. In fact, knowing as many real estate terms as possible will help you in the selling and buying market at any given time.

The Meaning of Pocket Listing

A pocket listing is a property that is offered for sale, but is intentionally not listed in any MLS (Multiple Listing Service) database. This is a type of private sale that sellers don't want marketed to the public, usually for privacy reasons. Many sellers have a variety of reasons they may or may not want their house listed on MLS for a variety of reasons. Why people choose to limit their pool of potential buyers is often very personal for sellers.

Are All Pocket Listings the Same?

All pocket listings are not the same. While it is a slang term, there are a number of different types of pocket listings available to sellers. One reason a house might be considered a pocket listing is that the house sold to a friend or family member of the seller before the agent completes the paperwork necessary to list the home on MLS. The other is that the seller simply does not want the house listed on MLS. Either way, the agent is legally bound by the law to find the best possible outcome for the seller of the home.

Pocket Listings and the National Association of Realtors

As the National Association of Realtors has not actually defined what a pocket listing truly is, there is no real policy regarding this type of listing in the real estate world. While most realtors don't care about this in the least, others view it as an issue. They believe that pocket listings make it impossible to see comparable home sales in areas when listing a home for sale or making an offer. They also view it as a violation of the MLS ethics code.

Whether your home is accidentally a pocket listing or it is purposely a pocket listing, the choice is up to the seller. For personal reasons or simply because a home sells quickly, sometimes a pocket listing occurs for a reason you may never know. All you need to know is that it's okay to ask for your home to be a pocket listing and it's okay to buy a home listed as this.

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