By Keith Kyle
If you’re a home buyer at the moment, you’ve probably been a little frustrated with just how little housing inventory there is, how quickly the good homes sell, and how often they sell for far more than they were listed. You’ve probably also heard the terms pocket listings and off market listings as those are definitely the buzz words of the moment.
So what do these words really mean and how do you find out about them?
Pocket listings and off market listings can mean several things, but basically they are homes that agents may, or may not, have formal agreements to sell, but are aware the sellers are interested in selling. Most often the realtor has a written agreement to represent the sellers, but for one reason or another, the sellers either don’t want their home to be put on the MLS or perhaps they just aren’t quite ready. In other situations it may be far more informal with either the homeowner telling a realtor “bring me a buyer and maybe I’ll sell” or something in which the owner would only consider selling at a price over the market value of the home.
So how does this help you?
The concept is pretty simple….the fewer buyers that know about a home the better the chances of having your offer considered and accepted. Without the buyer frenzy that comes with most new listings these days the price may be kept at a reasonable level as well.
The best way to find these off market listings is to work with a successful local agent that specializes in the area you’re interested in. It’s all about networking and the more owners, sellers and other agents the realtor is in contact with the more likely they may have ways of finding listings the public isn’t aware of. Good agents will also actively seek out some unknown sellers with letters or even by door knocking. Buyers can certainly try this on their own as well, but just won’t have the same reach as a well connected local agent. If you would like us to help simply fill out our “let me know about pocket listings form” and specify if you want us to update you on all listings….or just the homes not on the market.
Although many deals are happening off market and it is a very good way of trying to find a home in a very challenging sellers market, buyers must be realistic. Finding something off market generally doesn’t mean paying 70% of it’s value. In our very high end market in which sellers have resources and information to know what their homes are worth, sellers are very savvy and often only willing to sell their homes off market if the price is right.