Agents take aim on their peers' 'pocket listings'November 26, 2012 @ 10:10 am
Off-market listings-also referred to as "pocket listings"-are hurting the housing market by depriving home buyers of a full perspective of what's actually for sale, some real estate agents say.
They argue homes that aren't ever listed on the multiple listing service are then not available to be used as comparable properties for appraisals, other sales, or mortgage refinancing-leaving a skewed picture of the housing market.
A growth in homes unlisted on one regional MLS is prompting real estate leaders to speak out, concerned it's a growing trend. The MLS is a way to share property information and compensation between real estate companies but "pocket listings" are a way for some agents to "keep a bigger piece of the pie" for themselves.
"Pocket listings" are only permitted if the seller agrees to it. If so, agents can withhold the listing from the MLS and just reserve promoting the home among close associates, on the company's website, or through word of mouth. Some agents may be tempted to keep the listing internal because they then may be able to keep nearly every aspect of the sale internal and collect full commission, critics say. Some agencies prohibit pocket listings.
"You can't put a gun to somebody's head to make them put their listing in the MLS," one multiple listing service executive said. "You have a right as a homeowner. But what we want to make sure of is that the agent is really acquiescing to the homeowner's wishes."
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