12 Best Reasons to Use a Pocket Listing to Sell Your Home

The housing market may be cooling a bit as mortgage rates rise, but there is still plenty to gain if you’re a seller.
Last updated Aug. 25, 2022 | By Jenny Cohen | Edited By Eric McWhinnie
House for sale

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The housing market may be cooling a bit as mortgage rates rise, but there is still plenty to gain if you’re a seller.

If you’re a seller, you may be planning to go a traditional route through a realtor. But have you asked about putting your home on the market as a pocket listing? 

A pocket listing allows you to put your home on the market without the added work of listing it in the multiple listing services (MLS) database. That means a realtor could keep your listing out of public listing sites and shop your sale around in a more discreet or private way.

Here are a few benefits to consider before you decide if a pocket listing is the right thing for your current home.

You don’t want people in your home

moodboard/Adobe Open house sign in front of a house

It can be disruptive to constantly have showings when you put your house on the market. Perhaps your realtor believes you need to stage your home or you have to constantly have it clean. You may need to make plans anytime they’re showing your house to potential buyers.

Instead, a pocket listing is a more quiet affair, which means your realtor may limit showings only to prospective buyers and not just those who want to stomp around without much of an interest in buying your home.

You can keep the sale private

Rawpixel.com/Adobe family buying new house

Perhaps you may already have a buyer in mind, such as a family member or friend. You might want to keep the sale of the home out of the public eye. Or maybe you just don’t want anyone to know how much money you could potentially receive for the sale of your home.

Whatever the reason, a pocket listing could allow you to work through a sale discreetly without broadcasting to your neighborhood what's happening.

You can test your home price quietly

fizkes/Adobe smiling diverse clients meeting real estate agent at office

You may not be sure how much your home could get on the open market and want to test out a price point quietly before considering a public listing. 

By using a pocket listing, you may be able to hear feedback from potential buyers and get a better idea of how much they may be willing to pay for the house before you settle on a public price.

In the meantime, you’ll also have your home quietly being shopped around, so you could sell it to a pocket buyer with the best terms before you even list it publicly.

You can reduce commissions and fees

Drazen/Adobe insurance agent and senior couple analyzing terms of a contract

If you’re trying to cut back on the costs of selling your home, using a pocket listing may save you money. A pocket listing may not require the same commissions, fees, and other costs that are associated with publicly selling a home.

You can avoid nosy neighbors and surprise visitors

Andrey Popov/Adobe man standing infront of the house knocking the door

You may be trying to have a quiet evening when strangers come knocking on your door to ask questions about your home. Or perhaps you have nosy neighbors who want to know about potential buyers or when you’re moving or where you’re going.

You can skip all of that extra drama by using a pocket listing instead, which may cut out the need for a big for-sale sign in your front yard attracting gawkers.

Your house needs a major rehab

ungvar/Adobe kitchen cabinet installation

You may have an older home that’s dated and needs either quite a bit of interior work or could be a good candidate to be torn down and replaced with a new build. 

If you expect your home to be a tear down or if it needs to be gutted, you may want to consider a pocket listing. That way you can sell it quickly through a realtor who may know a developer involved with real estate investing who is ready to take on a big project.

You could have a quicker sale

winnievinzence/Adobe old couple handshaking with real estate agent

Sure, you may not have a big pool of buyers with a pocket listing compared to if you publicly listed your home, but you also might not have as much paperwork to deal with when accepting an offer from that big pool of buyers. That could cut down on the time needed between accepting an offer and the closing for your home.

You can keep your identity private

1STunningART/Adobe woman covering face using a white paper sheet with drawn question mark

Sellers like celebrities prefer pocket listings because it means they aren’t putting their public home on the market for anyone to see, including gawkers or fans. But you don’t have to be a worldwide personality to want to keep your identity private. 

Using a pocket listing means you can keep your identity as the seller private and not attract the attention of others. Your reasoning for why you don’t want anyone to know you’re the seller is your private business, just as your pocket listing isn’t for public consumption either.

You can avoid a bidding war

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe buyers showing auction paddles with numbers nine and three to auctioneer

Don’t want the hassle of dealing with different buyers and terms from their mortgage lenders during the bidding process? Try a pocket listing instead. 

By listing quietly, you may not attract the extra attention that comes from a public listing, but that also means you may be able to get one or two good bids from buyers instead of several from different real estate agents hounding you.

You’re flexible with your time frame

ymgerman/Adobe browsing properties for sale in United States

A pocket listing doesn’t have to be out there for a specific amount of time. You can privately put the word out and privately take the listing back as well. But with a private listing, you may not get the same amount of foot traffic or interest as with a public listing. 

A pocket listing may be a good alternative if you’re not on a tight deadline or can have your realtor be more restrictive about who does or does not know about your sale.

You don’t have to pay for marketing

Daniel Vincek/Adobe breakfast buffet table filed with assorted foods

Some realtors may have open houses with food and glossy brochures to show to other realtors or potential buyers. Others may pay for online ads on sites like Facebook. 

Those costs could get passed on to you as part of the realtor’s commission. But with a pocket listing, there are no open houses or marketing materials, making it one less cost you have to be concerned about.

You’re promoting exclusivity

ALEKSTOCK.COM/Adobe luxurious villa with palm trees and yacht

Have you ever wanted to get an invite somewhere that only was available for special people? The real estate version of that may be a pocket listing. 

Potential buyers may find a home more inviting due to the exclusive nature of a pocket listing and might be intrigued to give your home a look compared to others that are publicly listed.

Bottom line

BullRun/Adobe confident estate agent showing kitchen to a couple

There are plenty of good reasons why you may choose a pocket listing to sell your home, but it may not be for everyone. Talk to your real estate agent or a real estate lawyer to see if a pocket listing is an option.

The National Association of Realtors actually banned pocket listings for its members, but if you find a real estate agent willing to do a pocket listing, it could help eliminate some of your stress.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.