If you have been around the real estate game for any period of time, you must have heard of the term “quiet listing” or “pocket listing.” This means that a realtor has a client who would like to sell their home, but does not want to put it on the market. Here is how it works:
A seller calls their agent and says, “If you know of anyone who might be looking in this neighborhood, could you tell them about our house?” The agent then usually asks a series of questions, not the least of which is, “Do you want to put the house on the market?” This entails a listing agreement, entering it into the multi-list, marketing it, and scheduling showings. This is usually where the conversation ends because the seller doesn’t want to do all that and they just want to sell. They are basically saying that if you run across a buyer in the course of everyday business who may be a fit for their house, you can show it to the buyer and they may entertain an offer.
I know many good agents that take these quiet or pocket listings. In fact, I have taken some myself. The truth is, they aren’t a listing at all. Until there is a written agreement, there is no listing, quiet or not. Moreover, it rarely works. If a seller is not willing to list the home and market the home, then chances are they’re not very serious about selling the home. That also likely means that the home will be overpriced, again preventing it from selling, quiet or not.
If a seller really wants to sell their home, it needs to be in the MLS and marketed properly. There are too many homes that are listed and are being marketed for a quiet listing to compete against. The homes in the MLS and on the web will sell long before the pocket listing ever gets a showing.