Pocket listings seem to be the new buzz word in Calgary real estate. But with the internet’s explosive growth in the last years, selling your house via the MLS is without a doubt your best option to get your house sold.
What is a pocket listing
Pocket listings are homes that are for sale, but not listed on the MLS. You inform one or more realtors that you want to sell your house. Then those realtors will go into their (often pretend) database to find buyers for your house. Or those realtors let other agents know about the pocket listing, in the hope that other realtors know any buyers to make a deal with. At this point, Facebook is a great medium for that. However, we believe it doesn’t necessarily serve you as a home seller.
Make sure your savings on commissions are worth the money you miss out on with your sale price
Why keep your home a pocket listing?
Sellers can have several reasons to sell their home as a pocket listing:
- The seller wants to keep everything confidential.
- The seller is very old and doesn’t want to be bothered with showings and having to leave the house.
- A seller has no aspiration to bring the house to show condition on short notices and around the clock due to pets.
At this point, we can come up with very few reasons why you would want to sell your house as a pocket listing. Perhaps testing the market for a price setting may be a reason to create a pocket listing? But testing the market for price point will require more than a handful of opinions. And you won’t get many people through your home when you keep your house ‘in a pocket’. Perhaps a lower commission? Make sure your savings on commissions are worth the money you miss out on with your sale price.
The realtor gets the listing, and you get talked down to lower your price
The power of the MLS vs your pocket listing
The benefits of selling your house as a pocket listing hardly ever outweigh the advantages of listing your house on the MLS. If you list your house on the MLS, thousands of buyers see your home for sale. The MLS is so incredibly powerful, why not showcase it to every potential buyer in Calgary and area, including everyone in Canada that is relocating to Calgary?
Every seller wants the most money for his/her home. And offering that home more or less privately via a pocket listing will seldom result in the best price for it.
Another danger is that realtors become ‘transactional’ in both the sale and the purchase of your home. And becoming that dual agent, can potentially open a “can of worms”. Whom will the realtor favor? You may never find out.
We’re sorry to say this, but a Calgary realtor telling you, “I may know a buyer for your home”, is in 99% of the cases a flat out cheap comment, to get your listing. Apparently, sadly, it still works in this industry.
“if you know a buyer for my house who will give me a good price, let me know”. Again, there is a very slim chance that this proposal will work in your favour.
The pretend of Realtors
The MLS is so incredibly powerful, why not showcase it to every potential buyer in Calgary
The impact of the internet on real estate
The rise of the internet had, and still has, a huge impact on the real estate business. Not even that long ago, all homes for sale were listed in a booklet; yes, a printed booklet! And the realtor had to flip pages through a printed booklet database and visit the homes to see its location and interior. Those were the days where the neighborhood specialist earned that title. Today we browse the internet, see images, get details, and Google street view to show us the neighborhood. That neighborhood specialist is a marketing buzz word from the 1990’s. The neighborhood specialist doesn’t exist anymore, other than in the form of marketing for the realtor him or herself. There is a distinction between marketing your home and marketing the realtor.
The above is based on a regular market. Calgary has seen a few hot markets in the past, and things may have been different then, as every market brings its own scenario’s.
Classic sales tactics of a realtor
At last, here are a few classic lines that realtors still use today to get a foot in your door:
- “I have a buyer for your house.”
- “I think we can get $ … for your house”. That dollar amount is just too good to believe. The realtor gets the listing, and you get talked down to lower your price after you are stuck in a contract.
- “I am the neighborhood specialist”. This realtor must still live in the early 90’s and be pre-internet.
- “…% of my transactions are double-enders”. That is a tricky statement too. The fact is that more than 97% of all home buying and home selling transactions are done with two agents: a buying agent and a selling agent. So that percentage can never be higher than 1 or 2%. Yet, we have heard of Calgary realtors claiming that more than 20% of their transactions are double-enders. Which almost seems suspicious or is simply a lie.
So, obviously, depending on your personal situation, we believe pocket listings most often don’t serve a seller in Calgary. Get your house for sale out there, on the MLS, and showcase it the very best way you can.
Disclaimer: this is not meant to be legal advice. Please contact a real estate lawyer if you have any questions about this subject.