Off Market Sales and Pocket Listings

Redondo Beach "Off Market" Kitchen
Walk into any open house these days in Southern CA and chances are the agent working the OH (who may or may not be the listing agent) will tell you that they have access to a list of off market pocket listings and they can get you in to see these properties if you work with them. Hopefully you won't fall for this line because it is simply a sales trick to get your contact info and try to sell you a house. Because of the low inventory environment we've been in for a while some buyers fall for this. Don't.

There was a variation of this pitch a few years ago when short sales and foreclosures were what every buyer was looking for. At that time, agents working open houses all seemed to have secret list of foreclosure that, you can guess what's coming next, they could get you in to see if they represented you.

I'm sure whatever the unicorn is in a few years, agents will have some new secret list that you can get your hands on if you work with them. Don't fall for it.

But there really are properties sold "off market" and there are pocket listings. Let me share with you what's really going on.
I'm doing an off market sale right now. Its a really nice 4 bedroom townhouse (pictured above and below) on Carnegie Lane in North Redondo and is selling for mid $700's. I am representing the buyer and seller (at a discount). After it closes escrow it will be in the MLS "for comp purposes" as we say but really to boost the agent's production numbers. (Some off market sales never make it to the MLS even after they close.)

Here's what's going on and why the public is mostly misled about pocket listings.

Redondo Beach Pocket Listing Tonwhouse

The seller was going to list the property as a normal MLS listing. But someone he and I mutually know had previously expressed an interest in buying it. We were able to work out price and terms that were a win-win for each party meaning better for both than if they purchased a home as an arm's length transaction.

While this doesn't happen that often, it does happen. But this home was never going to be on a secret "list" that buyers could only see if they were working with me.

Here's another variation of "pocket listings".

I have a listing in North Torrance coming on the market in a few weeks (see below). Between the time that it can be shown and when it is in the MLS do you think I'll be marketing it to try to find a buyer? Absolutely. For those few weeks is it a pocket listing? You betcha! Do I know other agents who have listings that are coming on the market soon? Yes because I belong to a number of networking groups.

Is chasing off market pocket listings something you should be doing as part of your home buying strategy?

That's for you to decide but don't fall for the pitch when you hear it at the next open house you go to in Redondo Beach.

North Torrance Pocket Listing