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What Is A Pocket Listing & How To Find One

When it comes to real estate, the concept of a "pocket listing" may pique your interest. But what exactly does it mean? In this article, we'll delve into the world of pocket listings, shedding light...

When it comes to real estate, the concept of a "pocket listing" may pique your interest. But what exactly does it mean? In this article, we'll delve into the world of pocket listings, shedding light on their nature, benefits, and how you can find them. Pocket listings offer a unique opportunity in the real estate market, and understanding them can be a significant advantage, whether you are a buyer or a seller.

What Is A Pocket Listing?

Pocket Listing Meaning

A pocket listing, also known as an off-market listing, is a property for sale that is not publicly advertised on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Real estate agents keep these listings "in their pocket," hence the name. Unlike traditional listings, which are widely marketed and accessible to the general public, pocket listings are more exclusive and typically shared within private networks or among select clients.

How Do Pocket Listings Work?

In a pocket listing, the seller and the real estate agent agree to market the property discreetly. The agent relies on their personal network, reaching out to potential buyers they believe would be interested in the property. This approach allows for a more controlled and private sale process, catering to sellers who prefer to keep their transactions away from the public eye.

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Why Pocket Listings Exist

Why Sellers Use Pocket Listings

So, why would a seller choose a pocket listing instead of listing their property on the MLS? There are several possible reasons, including:

  • Selling to a friend or family member
  • Avoiding bidding wars
  • Testing the market without committing to a sale
  • Preserving privacy as a public figure or victim of abuse
  • Targeting a more exclusive audience
  • Avoiding price reductions on the MLS
  • Negotiating a reduced commission with their agent

In most cases, sellers either want to market their home to a limited audience or keep the sale information private.

Why Buyers Use Pocket Listings

As a buyer, a pocket listing presents a unique opportunity. You can get a head start on the market and make an offer before anyone else even knows the property is available. In theory, this can help you secure a better price, especially if the seller is motivated to sell quickly.

However, keep in mind that you're working with the seller's agent, not your own. Their goal is to secure the highest possible price, so getting a better deal than on the open market may be challenging. Nevertheless, buying a pocket listing can save you time, as you can avoid multiple showings and bidding wars when trying to purchase an exclusive property quickly.

The Pros and Cons of Pocket Listings


  • Privacy: Sellers maintain a high level of discretion throughout the sale.
  • Control: Sellers and agents can carefully select potential buyers.
  • Market Testing: Allows for gauging interest and price without public listing.
  • Exclusivity: Appeals to buyers seeking unique or luxury properties.


  • Limited Exposure: Fewer potential buyers may see the property.
  • Potential for Lower Offers: With less competition, offers may be lower.
  • Lack of Transparency: Buyers may have less information about the property.

How To Find Pocket Listings

So, how can you find pocket listings as a buyer? Here are a few simple steps:

Building Relationships with Real Estate Agents

To find pocket listings, establishing strong relationships with real estate agents is crucial. Agents with extensive networks often have access to multiple pocket listings. Express your interest and be specific about what you are looking for. Trust and communication are key; let them know you are a serious buyer and ready to move quickly if the right opportunity arises.

Utilizing Online Resources

While pocket listings are not widely advertised, some online platforms and forums may offer leads. Be vigilant and conduct due diligence to ensure the listings are legitimate. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Networking and Word-of-Mouth

Leveraging your personal network can also lead to pocket listing opportunities. Talk to friends, family, and colleagues who are connected to the real estate industry. Attending local real estate events and gatherings can also help you meet industry professionals who might have access to off-market listings.

Navigating the Pocket Listing Process

Assessing and Making an Offer

When you find a pocket listing that interests you, carefully assess the property. Consider its condition, location, and potential for appreciation. If it meets your criteria, be prepared to act swiftly. Making a compelling offer promptly is crucial in the competitive world of pocket listings.

Negotiating and Closing the Deal

Negotiating a pocket listing can be nuanced due to its private nature. Work closely with your agent to devise a negotiation strategy. Once you reach an agreement, the closing process is similar to that of a traditional listing, involving inspections, appraisals, and finalizing financial transactions.


Pocket listings have their own advantages and disadvantages. For sellers, they offer a discreet way to sell their home, while buyers can close a deal quickly without the hassle of bidding wars. By networking, exploring online resources, and working with the right agent, you can navigate the pocket listing process efficiently and effectively.

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