Pocket listings — off-market listings that are marketed directly by the seller’s real estate agent or broker — are growing in number, according to news reports.

Sellers must agree to “pocket listings”; otherwise they aren’t permitted. Some sellers agree to such arrangements to “test the waters” first with selling or to avoid a large number of people from entering their home, or they may seek privacy, like in cases of celebrities or public figures.

Some real estate professionals argue the rise in pocket listings is hurting the housing market because these homes are given limited exposure and are making it more difficult to compare homes and prices.

Usually with pocket listings, brokerages complete the entire transaction in-house, thus collecting both the seller and buyer commission.

“Pocket listings are a good segment of our business,” writes one real estate professional on the RISMedia Facebook page. “Regarding cons with agents taking in full commissions … we charge a flat rate for our pocket sales, much less than a full-percent commission.”

But many agents note that the majority of pocket listings are eventually entered into the MLS.

Source: “Pocket Listings: Helpful or Harmful?” RISMedia (March 14, 2013)

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Will Nesbitt

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Will is the principal broker of Nesbitt Realty and Condo Alexandria. He is licensed in anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but focuses on those communities found in and around Alexandria, Arlington, Mount Vernon and Springfield/Franconia. Will has been involved in real estate management, sales and investment for more than twenty years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. While in the army, he studied Russian at Monterey's Defense Language Institute. He is also a "veteran of the dotcom wars" and built most of the sites associated with NesbittRealty.com Will currently resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Old Town, overlooking New Alexandria. He is a former president of the Mount Vernon Youth Athletic Association and founded the Alexandria Fun with Friends Group. Will is the author of BattlestorM, a tabletop fantasy game, which was published by Ral Partha Publishing in the late '90's, and Arthur's Realm, a boardgame available at the Gamecrafter.