Thirteen Damn Good Reasons To Use PocketListings.net & Six Reasons Not To

[Editor’s Note: We posted this on our PocketListings.net BLOG, but felt it important enough to share here too.]

We’ve had a few people ask us what is the point in pocket listing and at what point does a pocket listing become a “listing”? Why should they do it, or not do it, and why should they use PocketListings.net?

As it is right now, each and every brokerage in the land has an internal email system. On that system agents can, and do, frequently send out emails along the lines of “I have a pocket listing, do you have a buyer?” Or “I have a buyer looking for X in this price range, anybody have a pocket listing?” The problem is, that email only goes out to however many people are in their company. There are other products attempting to capture this communication for just top agents, but that’s silly. Why limit your chances. Wouldn’t it be nice if each and every agent was able to market that pocket listing or buyer request with every single agent in their market, every single buyer and seller in the country, be able to search any market without being a member there, and use new and upcoming technology to do so? Wouldn’t your chances of success at either selling or buying a property increase? We think so.

The Multiple Listing Service’s online versions you see today are fashioned off of what they used to be when they were giant sized books (think phone books) that were delivered to different brokerages in each city/county. The thought process is still the same, but things have changed, and are getting a bit out of control. The internet and blogging have changed the game, as has the Department of Justice, because MLSs are required to share their data with sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. The problem with that is feeding data from MLS to other sites is not perfect. Details get screwed up. For example: if the property was previously listed, photos are often still on from the previous listing. Days on market can be off (again tied to the previous listing), open house times are often wrong, Zillow’s Zestimate…don’t get us started, and if you think you’re contacting the agent who has that listing, think again, you’re most likely not going to get them (unless they upgrade to some “Pro” plan, but that’s an entirely different topic). The long and short is, the “listing” information has been clouded, and in order to get the truth and actual information, you still have to go back to the source of that information, and it’s increasingly harder and harder to find that source….the licensed real estate professional who has the listing and put it in MLS. So why not simplify things?

Our intention is to create a marketplace for “not on MLS” real estate opportunities, and keep any and all leads going right back to the original source…the agent/broker that posted it. There is no feed to other sites, there is no DOM ticking down, there is no huge public announcement of price reductions (think about all the blogs that drool over these), and agents control what information they’d like shared. Perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle we’re going to solve is on the buyer side. Allowing agents to share the needs of their buyers!

So why should you as a seller, buyer, or real estate professional use PocketListings.net?

Pros:
1. EXPOSURE! Many of our posts are already getting more “views” than when the same property was on MLS.
2. No D.O.M (Days On Market, which buyers are using these days to warrant low-ball offers.)
3. No public price reductions (Uh oh, they lowered the price! They’re getting desperate!)
4. Only qualified buyers (qualified by your agent) coming through your door.
5. No definitive price, only price ranges (makes it easier to negotiate.)
6. No publicized commission agreement (more room for negotiations.)
7. Agents control the entire process, and all inquiries are directed back to the person that actually did the post (Yes, agents are good at this sh*t, so let them do their job.)
8. A place to “list” your home prior to MLS, or a place to list it if it is unsuccessful selling on MLS (Wouldn’t that be nice?)
9. No agents knocking on your door to get the listing if your current listing expires, because it just vanishes from our site when it’s deleted, and the address was never public.
10. A place for banks to (hopefully) list their REO, Short Sale, and Foreclosure Inventory.
11. You could end up selling for MORE than you thought you’d get on MLS.
12. Potential for a quick sale.
13. Agents, you can reach more people on our site than any email (spam) you could ever send.

Cons:
1. Not as much exposure (This argument is moot, as stated above and will only get more obsolete as we grow.)
2. You’ll never truly know “market price” (Bull sh*t….a home is only worth what one person is willing to sell it for, and another willing to buy it, and you can run comps off of tax records easily, and online, not to mention the appraiser is going to have a say in the price as well. And if we get the exposure we hope to, you’ll have just as much interest as on MLS.)
3. Agents miss the opportunity to pick up buyers at Open Houses (True, but stay tuned for new features on that, and we never said you couldn’t have an Open House.)
4. Your neighbors won’t know you’re selling (Really? Is this a bad thing? What about knocking on their door and telling them?)
5. It’s a FSBO (Not on our site. We hate FSBOs. Don’t want them, don’t need them.)
6. You might leave some money on the table (See #2 above.)

Our site is only in the infant stages of existence and word is spreading. Of course, there are haters and non-believers, but they’ll come around. We have received nothing but positive feedback and comments about how “this is a brilliant idea” from countless real estate professionals. Agents, your colleagues are signing up and beginning to use our site. You should too.

That, our friends, is why PocketListings.net is going to be awesome and every real estate agent in the country is going to want to be a part, and every single buyer and seller is going to know about it soon enough, and this is only the beginning of what we’ve got cooking.

9 thoughts on “Thirteen Damn Good Reasons To Use PocketListings.net & Six Reasons Not To”

  1. interesting reasoning…

    I kind of feel that homebuying is already stacked against the buyer (what incentive does my agent have to get me the lowest possible price when their commission is based on a % of sale price, for example?)

    What you’re suggesting here is that agents need even more control… and that Buyers are unfairly using information (DOM, Public price reductions etc.) against the Agents.

    Seems like PocketListings is all about Agents. What’s in it for the Buyers?

    1. Good question Sam.

      What is stacked against you is the information you’re getting online is not necessarily accurate and you still have to go to the source of that information to get the real scoop. That source is the listing agent. We’ve had multiple discussion on here about the incentives of agents and getting you the lowest price, so we won’t go into that. You can see the thread here: Why are Realtors so Arrogant and Such Assholes.

      What’s in it for the buyers and their agents to use PocketListings.net? Currently, there is no system for an agent or buyer to voice their need and say, “Hey! I’m out here and I’m looking for a place.” Buyers are forced to simply browse what is on MLS and accept that those are the properties to choose from. But the reality is, many home sellers are out there on the fences waiting to “list” on MLS when the time is right. They don’t want to list, because they don’t want DOM ticking, and they don’t want to be scrutinized if they have to lower the price. If they, and their agents, were able to browse a site and see if there is a buyer out there looking for something that matches the description of their home, they might be inclined to contact you, the buyer, and see if you’d like to come take a look. You all then sit down, go over comparables, get an appraisal, and decide…”Okay, I’ll pay that price.”

      We hope to expose more inventory for you to choose from, but if your agent is only looking out for your bottom line, then you need a new agent. Most good honest agents will try to get you the best price, because that’s what they do. If you’re in San Francisco, you have nearly 3000 to choose from, so if yours is shady…find another.

      Yes, we’re suggesting agents need more control, because their duty to their seller is to get them the highest best price and make sure the information presented is accurate. It’s getting harder and harder to do that when all of these sites are feeding information to their sites and clouding the presentation.

  2. What I find amazing is how many agents search for properties according to commission. If I have a property listed at 3% commission for the selling agent and then have one listed at 2.5%, assuming the prices are comparable. I will get twice as many calls on the 3%.

  3. Seems as if Pocketlistings has a great deal to offer. I do like how they will not be posting D.O.M. That was such a pain before and now we’re on a level playing field. Consider me a believer.

  4. Haha, don’t you mean Top Agents!

    I think you’re onto something here by creating an open system. I would recommend that you allow buyers to create “want to buy” ads and allow agents “with QUALIFIED listings” to contact those buyers. That is, force an agent to post their pocket listing if they want to contact a buyer.

    Do you require agents to list the address of their property they are listing on PL.net, even if it is kept confidential? What is stopping agents from cross-listing on MLS and PL.net? You should endeavor to keep the network clean and only to “Pocket Listings”. I would suggest creating a set of guiding principles and standards.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t rule out the FSBO market entirely. This is a lucrative market. But I get why you’re keeping them out for now, and what you’re trying to do. Good luck.

    1. Eddy,

      As always your comments and insight are very much appreciated. Everything you mention is either in line to be built into our site, or has been discussed…except for the “qualified” part. I like that!

      Yes, we take addresses for that very reason, but we do not police…yet. We will have a system for this. Honesty is always the best policy. ;-)

      Keep spreading the word and thanks for the good luck thoughts.

      alex

  5. If you are a buyer or seller, you can do a FSBO transaction under the right circumstances. It’s the same thing as this pocket listings concept, but without agents. If you know the neighborhood, reasonably knowledgeable about properties, are willing to do all the work that an agent would do making sure the paperwork is correct, and have trust between the buyer and seller it can be done. It’s not for everyone, but I have done it – successfully bought and sold.

    As a first time home buyer many years ago I worked with a reputable agent. I purchased a flat in a 100 year old building in San Francisco. This flat ended up having many issues that are common to buildings of that era – plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc. However, neither the agent nor the inspector chosen by the agent identified these issues to me before the sale. Nor did the agent go to bat for me as well as she could have to get concessions from the seller for these issues, as that would have lowered the commission.

    I learned a lot from that experience – paying an agent is no sure thing. And even if you do pay an agent, you have to educate yourself, and do your homework and remember – the agent works for you. Don’t just let them run the game. You still need to be on top of things and knowledgeable to get the most from an agent.

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