Pocket listings or whisper listings (sometimes called inside listings) exist outside the MLS system. They are basically what we commonly see advertised as “exclusive” listings.
An exclusive listing means your Realtor will be marketing your home without posting it to the MLS and all prospective buyers will inquire directly through him.
This means your home won’t really be on the open market. It will not be available to other realtors through the local real estate board (the back end of the MLS) or to the general public through Realtor.ca. The good thing about this is that your realtor will have more control over who will visit your home. The bad thing is the most powerful marketing tool normally used to sell homes has been taken out of the mix.
Why would you want to list your home exclusively?
To save money. Instead of splitting a 5% commission with a cooperating brokerage, your agent will keep the entire commission. An exclusive listing usually comes at a reduced commission rate of 3.5-4%.
If you have a stigmatized property. Maybe something really horrendously horrible happened in your house (use your imagination) and you don’t want the neighbours and the general public to turn your home into a gawking tour.
Maybe your home is so fabulous that the plebes have no business coming anywhere near it. Only 1% of the population can afford to buy your home and they know people who know people. You don’t need or want the MLS.
Your exclusive listing agent only deals in this end of the business. Everyone know that he is the “go to guy” for properties just like yours.
It’s a secret
You don’t want a sign on the lawn. You don’t want open houses. You want to control the process.
Maybe you’ve got an extreme emotional connection to the home. You’ve got time. If you don’t sell, that’s ok.
It’s a new condo
Newly completed condominiums where the owners have taken occupancy but have not taken ownership are sometimes whisper marketed. The developer does not want to put them on the MLS as he may still be selling units in the building and does not want to compete with you. The occupants (and future owners) cannot place them on the MLS because only owners can do that.
How do I feel about exclusive listings?
I’m glad you asked. I think mostly they are a “soft closing” technique used by realtors to lock up the listing. “Let’s try it out for six weeks as an exclusive listing at 4% commission”, he’ll say, “if that does not work, we’ll put it up on the MLS”.