Where readers ask, and we try to answer.

Why do agents shop houses off-MLS or before they hit the market?-E.S.

I shop places off the market simply because my clients say, “If you find me a buyer, I’ll sell it, but I’m not listing it on MLS, not doing open houses, and not doing signs.” I’ve sold a few BIG listings off the market, and truth be told, they’re sweet. Commissions are more negotiable on these as well.

Some other agents shop it off market to gauge a price, like that 1188 Green post on TFS the other day. It may never hit MLS (I haven’t checked), because they’re getting a ton of interest. So every agent has their own reasons for doing off market deals, but for me it generally comes down to my clients not wanting to deal with “selling” and they don’t need to move. It’s kind of like the Zillow “make me move” thing.

The bottom line is if the seller is happy, the buyer is happy, why not make the deal. But the clients need to be counseled that there is no true “market price” when a home is sold this way. You can comp it and appraise it all you want, but the truth is, multiple offers are still a possibility on almost every listing (if priced right.) Some buyers can end up spending way too much, and some sellers can end up getting way too little.

As you’ve probably seen, I have a couple pocket listings in the Marketplace, on this very site, and I expect we’re going to see a lot more pocket listings in the coming months as sellers hesitate to “list” their homes.

That’s my take, any other agents care to elaborate?

All you agents might want to consider getting your properties in the Marketplace. The page gets a ton of traffic. (Of course it’s not free, don’t be silly, but it’s pretty cheap considering the exposure, and I’ll even let you advertise yourself there.)


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