PocketListings.net Founder Alexander Clark To Join Top Agent Network As Advisor

The big news in Off Market real estate to start the year…

Top Agent Network, Inc. (TAN) announced January 3rd that Alexander Clark, founder and CEO of the online real estate platform PocketListings.net, has agreed to become an industry and technology advisor to Top Agent Network. TAN is also acquiring the pocketlistings.net domain name from Mr. Clark.

Top Agent Network CEO/Founder David Faudman says of the new arrangement, “I have great respect for Alexander as a true real estate entrepreneur. We are excited to bring his insight and expertise into Top Agent Network.”

Mr. Clark, currently a real estate agent at Paragon Real Estate Group and an active member of Top Agent Network’s San Francisco chapter, founded PocketListings.net in 2010. While switching his brokerage affiliation, Mr. Clark became acutely aware of how fragmented non-MLS networking was between brokerages. To help solve this problem, he started Pocketlistings.net, a brokerage independent non-MLS listing exchange service.

As a top-producing broker in Marin County, California, David Faudman had recognized similar needs in his own real estate sales business. He developed Top Agent Network in the mid-1990s, originally as a simple email list-serve for local high producing agents, then as the online application in 2009. Top Agent Network allows members to exchange pre-MLS and non-MLS information across all brokerages. This exchange includes: Listings, Buyer Needs, Service Provider Recommendations and Industry Discussion.

“Restricting membership to verified high-ranking professionals makes for a highly trusted, productive online exchange,” notes Mr. Faudman. “Our members use TAN enthusiastically in the markets we have launched so far.” Top Agent Network currently has 30 chapters nationwide and has attracted a broad roster of some of the highest producing agents throughout the country.

“That’s what interested me in joining TAN,” said Mr. Clark. “Technologically, the real estate industry is a step or two behind. But TAN members here in San Francisco use Top Agent Network religiously. TAN is a cutting edge real estate company that is changing the way top agents conduct their business. I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience to Top Agent Network.”

Top Agent Network is a paid membership available to qualified top producers in local chapters by invitation only.

For more information, please contact me.

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 2: Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically

Yesterday, we educated you on the first and most important step in the San Francisco home buying process, so today we’re moving on…

Step 2 – Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically (via Email or Text)

stuffing-his-face

Our market moves fast, and so must you. You might have thought the next step would be to contact a Realtor. You can certainly do this now, but it’s not necessary. You can preview all the property you want yourself, right here online, and very soon we’ll show you just how easy it is to get dialed in to seeing these homes on your own.

So how do you get these new listings “fed” to you?
a. Get dialed into MLS. Contact us with your criteria (desired # of beds, baths, parking spaces, size, price, location, and your email) and we can set you up with behind the scenes access to what we call our “Client Portal”. You’ll receive new listings to your inbox the second they hit MLS, you can save, reject, and track what properties are selling for (very important), and you can request showings from within the application. This way, you’ll also be on our radar for potential off market matches should any pop up.
b. A different variation of the same theme, but without the need to contact anyone. It’s called MyZephyr, and you can get alerts, save, search, and track property from the comfort of your own home. The only downfall to this, is that we have so many people in this system using this tool, we simply do not have time to track your activity (some might consider this a plus), and therefore we probably won’t know who you are should something great pop up “not on MLS”.
c. Browse MLS: Even less intrusive, and way more stealth, MLS is actually there and available to you 24/7. No really…it is.
d. Redfin. Hands down the best way to search property if you’re not searching with one of the tools provided above. It’s a great site, with a ton of great info, and incredibly accurate data. If you don’t choose a. or b. above, use this over option c. It’s better.
e. Trulia, Zillow, or Realtor.com. These three are crap, inaccurate, and not worth your time. The only saving grace is Trulia’s community or “Voices” area. There is some good info to be found there. Zillow Zestimates are awful, and when we’re sipping a Cerveza after we hand you the keys to your house, we’ll make sure the beers are on you if you mention one word about “but the Zestimate said it’s worth this.”

What about all of the “off market” listings that are becoming so popular, and how do you get clued in to them?
a. PocketListings.net: It’s growing, more agents are using it, and you (the buyer) can certainly browse it for “off market” opportunities. You can follow PocketListings on Twitter for instant notification of new listings, and you can even have your “buyer need” added to it…but for that you’ll need a Realtor.
b. A Realtor: At this stage, there is no way around it, and it’s the very reason Pocket Listings are growing in popularity…Realtors are taking back the control of their listings, and they’re doing this to keep themselves relevant. Listing aggregators like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Realtor.com don’t always portray the most accurate data, agent contact info, pictures, and local information. The system needs to change, and Realtors are taking it back. And guess what? A human is actually a really useful tool in the home searching process and if you find the right one, said human can provide a wealth of accurate and opinionated information. If you want off market opportunities, and want to truly feel like you’re getting in the loop of what most people aren’t, you need a Realtor. If you want to just browse MLS, PocketListings.net, and go at your own pace, you can still get by without contacting one.

So now you’ve proven to all involved you have the money, you’re getting listings fed to you from all angles, and you’re ready to take the next step…Check back tomorrow, and we’ll let you know what to do.

MLS Alternative, And Real Estate Match Making Service Is Here To Stay

As many of you know, I founded a website for agents to share (and hopefully sell) more real estate (PocketListings.net). A website designed to give sellers an alternative to listing on the MLS, and a way to give buyers a voice in regards to what they desire. Put the two together and it only makes sense that you’d find a match, which we do. Some agents have embraced the site (1,176 members so far), and many of the tech savvy agents around the country are starting to “get it”. But still many don’t. And that’s okay.

Our industry moves at a Neolithic pace, and I’m used to it. Heck, when I started real estate over 10 years ago, my broker told me, “I don’t need email,” and when I started sfnewsletter as a way to keep my clients informed of recent sales and new listings, fellow agents regarded email marketing as a waste of time. Then I started a blog, which none of my colleagues could grasp as a real form of information sharing and client acquisition. Then I did a “Tour de San Francisco” to help people get a grasp of neighborhoods (now we have Google street view, Google earth, and neighborhood social networks/blogs). And now I want everyone to get used to the idea of PocketListings.net.

The concept is here to stay, and I’ve partnered with a new real estate marketing pro to help get the word out, and get the word out she is. Site traffic has gone way up, blog posts are flying, and information is being shared. It’s just a matter of time before more deals start happening, so agents, wake up and get on board!

To learn more, and keep up on all things PocketListings.net: bookmark, Feed, follow, and friend us all over the place @pocketlistings. And most definitely read the PocketListings blog. You’ll be glad you did.

Buyers and Sellers, you can search the site too! Tell your agent about it, keep an eye on it, ask to have your criteria posted there.

-PocketListings.net

“Web 2.0 Remaking Real Estate, Again”- SFGate Gives Props To PocketListings.net!

Featured on SFGate (San Francisco) yesterday.

PocketListings.net

Much like finding love on a dating site, Web 2.0 lets buyers meet their dream homes and sellers meet their dream buyers in a direct, match-making process– without the MLS.

Because of new technology, many agents and their clients are turning to unconventional ways to list property for sale, and the increasing speed and reach of the internet (especially social networking) makes it easier to get attention to a property for sale, attention that was previously reserved for listings on the MLS. As more and more agents and their clients begin to achieve an “off market” sale at a desirable price and terms for all parties, the boundaries of ‘one national listing place’ expand– potentially to the point of blowing apart.

That’s what PocketListings.net is all about. Says co-founder Alex Clark: “We’ve already seen a high volume of posts for higher end property and I expect that will continue, and we’re seeing a much larger number of agents using our service to promote ‘buyer needs,’ which bring fence sitting sellers and their agents out of the woodwork, and into contract. As we develop our technology further to simplify the process of posting pocket listings and buyer needs to our site, we suspect many more brokerages to get in the game as their clients (the buyers and sellers) become more and more savvy to the alternatives available to them.”

-Web 2.0 Remaking Real Estate, Again [SF Gate]

Why PocketListings.net Is Awesome, And Every Real Estate Agent Should Use It

It’s true, I’m the founder of PocketListings.net, and I want everybody to use it. But it’s also true, if you’re an agent in San Francisco, and you’re not using it, you’re missing out. Have a look at this email that just came my way as a result of a Buyer Need post I did on PocketListings.net.

Hi Alex,

My wife and I are looking to relocate to Marin, and are currently deciding on whether or not to sell our flat (or rent it out and rent in Marin). I noticed on your pocket listing, http://pocketlistings.net/pl/662, that you had some clients that are looking for a place in our neighborhood, and I wanted to find out if perhaps they would be interested in our place?

We have a ~1914 sq foot condo (it is a 2 unit bldg with 3 floors, we have the top 2) with a huge 2 car garage w/storage, 2 fantastic roof decks, a backyard and is on a quiet cul-de-sac near USF. It is a 3 br (with an additional office that is bedroom sized but lacks a closet, currently used as a nursery) 2ba unit, with an updated kitchen and bathrooms (we just did the bathrooms in june ’11). It has been a great family home, we have 3 kids, and we have absolutely loved living there. The address is [removed].

I have not decided if we want to sell, hence why I think a pocket listing inquiry makes sense, but I would certainly entertain interested parties. I think there are some pictures still online at Zillow, but if not I can get you some further details. Thanks Alex,

-[Potential Seller]

This is awesome on many levels. For one, my vision of a network where buyers, sellers, AND agents can get together and shore opportunity is slowly coming to fruition, but also because not only is this a chance for my buyers to get a property that may be a match, it’s also a chance for this seller to “quietly” sell their home, and a chance for me to potentially get a listing.

It’s a new way to think about our industry, and I know it will take more time. Slowly but surely other agents will realize that just like email newsletter and blogs were considered unneccesary, this PocketListings.net thing is for real, and it is an opportunity no agent should pass up.

Follow The PocketListings.net BLOG And Support Our Endeavor

It’s no secret I wear many hats. I am a Realtor here in San Francisco, I run this here blog, I’m a dad, and now I have a new project, PocketListings.net. I’ve been scolded by some of you readers for not posting here enough, and I’ve been scolded for posting too much about all the great opportunities popping up on PocketListings.net. What is a guy supposed to do!? Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I will do my best to continue to post here about all things San Francisco, particularly San Francisco real estate. But our new version of PocketListings.net is just around the corner and when it goes live, I’m all in. So rather than hearing from you all about how little I’m doing on theFrontSteps, I’d appreciate support and your help spreading the word about how much we’re doing with PocketListings.net, and how much more information and opportunities will present themselves for you…the buyer and seller.

The first step to supporting this endeavor would be to follow the PocketListings.net BLOG. Add it to your readers, subscribe to receive updates via email, and bookmark it. Other bloggers, feel free to grab any posts we do there and share with your readers. Please link to it, Tweet about it, and share it on Facebook.

We have gained considerable traction already on PocketListings.net. We expect the site to grow much more rapidly and steadily with the release of our next version, and the BLOG is our sounding board. So get to know the BLOG, tell your friends about it, and better yet…keep an eye on the mother ship: PocketListings.net.

Thank you,
alex

-PocketListings.net
-Facebook.com/pocketlistings
-Twitter.com/pocketlistings
-PocketListings BLOG

Pocket Listing. Not On MLS. Buyer In Need. No Problem. PocketListings.net Launches Nationwide!

Although you might think theFrontSteps has been completely sleeping these past months, you probably forgot we’ve been busy building a place for real estate agents to post the thousands and thousands of pocket listings they have throughout the year. Not only can they post pocket listings available to be sold, but post they have buyers who are looking for something they just can’t seem to find on MLS. There is no limit on how many times you can post, it’s completely FREE to join, and any type of property is fair game (Commercial, Residential, Land, Houseboat, etc.). It’s kind of like Craigslist meets Google meets eHarmony for off market real estate, and we’re not just for San Francisco. Today, we go nationwide!

Yup, we’re live (in beta) and we want you, and you, and you to check it out, use it, and tell 100 of your bestest of best Friends.

Non agents (i.e. Public) are welcome too! Just contact your agent if you see something you like.

Here’s the best thing…we’ve quietly been live and testing the site for a couple of weeks, and trying to keep it relatively under wraps, but already have agents who have joined us from Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Diego, Burlingame, Belmont, Pacific Palisades, and Palo Alto, CA to name a few. Still other agents in Scottsdale, AZ, Miami Beach, FL, Bend, Oregon, and the number of agents joining are growing at a very surprising rate.

We’ve had great feedback from our initial users, four agents who’ve already contacted each other about potential matches, and we think we’re ready for all of you. So go check out and use PocketListings.net.

Here are some direct links to some noteworthy pocket listings already posted:
-Click here to see the very first pocket listing ever posted on our site (A $2.4M home in Scottsdale, AZ).
-Click here to see the most expensive pocket listing posted so far (A $5.5M home in Palo Alto, CA).
-Click here to see the most unexpected post so far (A $60,000 parking space in San Francisco, CA).

PocketListings.net is absolutely ROCKING and we haven’t even begun. Don’t wait, get in the game!

To keep updated on our happenings, we have a substantial number of “Friends” already on our Facebook Profile (also serving as our blog), so we’d be delighted to have you come join us there.

Our Twitter page is growing every day, and is also the place every single one of our posts is fed. Huh? Fed? Yep, you can follow us on Twitter, you can follow our hashtags for #plcity, and you’ll see every single post in real time. No need to search, no need to sort. Just browsing for all of you real estate porn addicts. Follow us @PocketListings.

If you liked watching theFrontSteps grow to over 500,000 readers*, you’re going to be more impressed with what we do with PocketListings.net, so we hope you find a way to be a part.

-PocketListings.net
-Facebook.com/pocketlistings
-Twitter.com/pocketlistings

*in our heyday, we had ~500,000 unique visitors per year, right here on these very theFrontSteps.

Getting Close To One Place For Pocket Listings (“Off Market” Real Estate)

It’s no secret we’ve been incredibly quiet here on theFrontSteps, but we’ve been incredibly busy building a site we think will be a tremendous boost to real estate agents and their clients, not just here in San Francisco, but across the nation.

The launch of our site is getting nearer and you can either follow us on Twitter, or better yet, go to our site enter your email (Agents, Brokers, Buyers, Sellers all welcome!), and you’ll be notified as soon as we launch.

Please help us by forwarding this post. If you’re a Real Estate professional, please tell every Real Estate Agent/Broker you know and put yourself on a path to “do more deals”.

PocketListings.net was conceived by professionals in the real estate industry. We know what it takes to be successful in real estate, and we see a need for this site. We want real estate agents to sell more real estate, and buyers and sellers to have purchasing and selling opportunities beyond your local MLS. We hope you will join us.

-PocketListings.net [Off Market Real Estate Network Coming Soon]

Pocket Listings And “Off Market” Real Estate

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve already heard. There will soon be a network to post, search, and sell pocket listings (PocketListings.NET). Off-market, pocket listings, whatever…they’re out there, they’re bought and sold, and real estate agents will soon be able to share information amongst themselves on a much larger scale, which we hope will increase an agent’s opportunity to sell their pocket listings, and ultimately open up some doors for buyers and sellers beyond what is listed on the MLS.

The market has changed, the internet is here and not going anywhere, agents have valuable information about off-market properties that until now (when we launch) has been difficult to communicate to a large audience, and it’s time for something new. We can’t tell you everything, but we can tell you it will be cool. So get yourself a Twitter account and follow @pocketlistings for updates.

-PocketListings.NET [coming soon!]

From Fractional To Full And Almost On: 181 O’Farrell #513 @ Odeon $2,349,000

It was years ago when we broke the news of a luxury fractional ownership in the heart of San Francisco, and here we are again. The Odeon is back on the screen and the penthouse is coming to an MLS near you (assuming you live in or near San Francisco).

odeonfront1

The fractional ownership of this unit went “pending” in March 2008 at $375,000, but never did hit “sold” status. The pictures are the same then as now, so we’re wondering what exactly is the deal.

odeonkitchen1

It will soon be on MLS for $2,349,000 and available for all to see. Until then, you’ll have to take our word that it’s a pretty darn sweet pad, so if you can picture yourself living down in the heart of San Francisco and wished you could get one of the units without the annoyance of fractional ownership, your day as come. And if you can’t picture yourself there, maybe this little floorplan photo can help.

odeonfloorplan1

So many excellent homes and neighborhoods in San Francisco…what are we supposed to do!?

-181 O’Farrell, 3 bed, 2 bath, $2,349,000…and coming soon [181ofarrel.com]

Off Market Ocean Views

If it is ocean views that you covet (the views below actually do exist in San Francisco), or you’re searching for that perfect San Francisco surf pad, but have thus far come up empty, give us a shout. We know of a couple off market homes/condos that might be of interest to you.

San Francisco Ocean Views

As for help finding the perfect surf spot in San Francisco, you’re on your own.