What Is a Pocket Listing in Real Estate?

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Written By Justin McGill

DealBloom aims to share the latest tips and strategies to help realtors, brokers, loan officers, and investors navigate the world of real estate.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you may have heard of a “pocket listing.” But what is a pocket listing in real estate?

A pocket listing is when a real estate agent agrees to keep your home off the market for a certain period while they try to find buyers. The idea is that by keeping it off the market, they can create more interest and get you a higher price.

I was considering doing this when I sold my last house. My real estate agent told me that she could get me more money if we did a pocket listing because there would be less competition from other sellers. In the end, I decided not to do it and just listed my house on the MLS like everyone else. But it’s something to consider if you’re looking for ways to maximize your profits when selling your home!

What Is a Pocket Listing in Real Estate?

Sometimes, real estate agents do not market their listings publicly. That is how you define what is a pocket listing in real estate.

The terms of your agreement with your realtor will state how long a listed property will remain confidential.

This means that your home will not be advertised to the general public through common marketing channels. Your home also will not be listed on major real estate websites that are typically used by homebuyers.

If you’re looking to sell, you may want to consider a pocket listing. With a pocket listing, you list your home with an agent, but they keep your listing to themselves. This means it will only be seen by their network.

When you hire a realtor to sell your home, your agreement will specify what they will do to try to find a buyer. This will include listing it on the local multiple listings service.

This makes it easy for buyers’ real estate agents to help their clients find the right homes.

A pocket listing is a type of real estate listing that is not publicly marketed but rather kept within an agent’s network. These types of listings are also known as off-market or exclusive listings. Pocket listings can be a great option for sellers who want to avoid the hassle and expense of a traditional marketing campaign.

So, what are the pros and cons of buying or selling a pocket listing? We have everything you need to know, so you can make an informed choice.

In 2019, the National Association of Realtors spoke out against the practice of pocket listing.

Their Clear Cooperation Policy states all listing information must be submitted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) within 24 hours of being advertised.

Since most realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, this has helped to significantly reduce the amount of pocket listing properties.

There are still ways to sell your house as a pocket listing.

  • Your agent has 24 hours to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service. If you and your agent agree to a listing on a Friday evening, you’ll have the entire weekend to line up buyers.
  • Your home can be listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as soon as your realtor puts it on the market. However, if your agent waits until tomorrow to put it on the MLS, it can be off the listing until the next day.

You can sell your house as a pocket listing if your real estate agent is not a realtor. They won’t be bound by the rules of the National Association of Realtors.

Benefits of a Pocket Listing for Buyers

If you’re working with a well-connected agent, they might be able to offer you a pocket listing. Should you consider it?

If you’re looking for a property that might not have as much competition, a pocket listing could be a good option. Since these listings aren’t marketed as widely, it could take some time before the seller receives an offer.

In a hot market, this could take several months. But, this also allows you the opportunity to potentially buy under market value.

A pocket listing allows you to bid on a property below its list price.

If a seller was in a rush to sell, they would likely list their home with a traditional real estate agent. A house that is advertised to the general public is more likely to sell quickly, and with multiple buyers, for more money.

If you’re looking at a pocket listing, likely, the seller isn’t in a hurry. This can give you more time to get financing in order, settle on a closing date, and so on.

In a hot seller’s market, houses get offers within days of being listed. A pocket listing, on the other hand, won’t.

If you’re the only buyer interested in a particular pocket listing, your offer is more likely to be accepted. This gives you an advantage over buyers who are competing for properties that are widely advertised.

Drawbacks of a Pocket Listing for Buyers

The biggest drawback for homebuyers when shopping for a pocket listing is that it can be difficult to find. This is because real estate agents tend to keep these deals to themselves, so you won’t know of any that come on the market unless you ask your agent.

If you’re looking for that next great property, consider working with a real estate agent who has a large network of contacts. With their large pool of resources, they’ll be able to find you a pocket listing of a property that isn’t on the market yet.

Benefits of a Pocket Listing For Sellers

While it might seem counterintuitive for a seller to opt for a pocket listing, there are some reasons it might make sense.

If you have a friend or family member who is interested in buying your house, you can bypass the headache of going through the traditional process of selling a home. By doing a private sale, you can sell your house quickly and avoid all the stress.

Your agent can sell your property to your preferred buyer through a pocket listing.

One key advantage to a pocket listing for a seller is discretion. Some high-profile people or those with substantial wealth may not want to have their homes listed on the open market.

By working with an agent to sell the property as a pocket listing, these individuals can maintain a higher degree of privacy throughout the process.

Sellers don’t want strangers traipsing around their property unless they’re serious about buying.

Some homeowners choose to keep their property off the market for privacy purposes, such as during a divorce or legal proceeding.

Another advantage of a pocket listing for a seller is that it gives them control over the speed of the sale. If they are not in a rush, they can take the time to find the right buyers and negotiate the best offers.

When a home is listed, the listing typically comes with the number of days the home has been listed. If a property has been listed for a prolonged period, especially in a hot real estate market, many potential buyers may get discouraged, thinking that something is wrong with the home.

A seller who chooses a pocket listing may be able to negotiate their agent’s fee. This is because a pocket listing doesn’t require as much work, such as holding an open house.

Drawbacks of a Pocket Listing for Sellers

The main drawback to selling a pocket listing is that your home is off the market. You’ll likely get fewer bids, and your asking price may not be met.

A house that is listed on a traditional real estate listing service, such as through the local Multiple Listing Service, will likely receive more interest and close more quickly than a house that isn’t.

Should You Look for Pocket Listings?

While pocket listing isn’t for everybody, it could be for you.

If you’re a seller who values privacy over a quick sale, then a pocket listing could be the right choice. However, by limiting the number of potential buyers, you could also miss out on the best offer.

Pocket listings are a good option for home buyers who are looking for more negotiation power and more flexible terms. However, you may have to be a little more realistic about what you’re looking for as not many homes are for sale as a pocket listing.

Pocket listings aren’t for everyone, but you might have to be willing to make some compromises.

Are Pocket Listings Unethical?

A pocket listing is a real estate listing that is not made available to the public but only to a select group of agents or buyers. This practice is considered unethical by many because it gives an unfair advantage to those who are privy to the information. It also means that the property may not be seen by as many potential buyers, which could result in a lower sales price.

What is a Soft Listing in Real Estate?

A soft listing is a real estate listing that is not yet publicly available. The property may be under contract, but the listing has not yet been released to the public. This type of listing allows agents to market the property to potential buyers before it hits the market.


If you’re thinking of selling your home, a pocket listing may be something to consider. What is a pocket listing in real estate? By keeping your home off the market for a certain period, you can create more interest and potentially get a higher price. Just make sure to weigh all your options before making a decision!

Justin McGill