David Tapper

What is a “Pocket Listing”?

A pocket listing is when a seller gives their real estate agent, a signed contract to sell their home, but without putting it on the active market or MLS.

Why might a seller do this? The most typical reason is because of privacy. The seller does not want people coming and going through their home at open houses, and they don’t want their friends and neighbors to know what they are selling their home.

There are drawbacks to selling a home this way. It can cost the seller thousands of dollars by not marketing their home to the public, but it’s generally not the money that motivates this particular seller.

How do buyers find these pocket listings if they aren’t on the MLS or marketed online?

You would need to work with an active real estate agent or team of agents who network and work well with other brokers and agents in the area.

This is a good way for buyers to purchase a home and make them aware of the pocket listings available.

When sellers list their properties with Cashin Company Realtors, they have the assurance that all pocket listing will be exposed to other Cashin agents through the company email alert system. This will notify all the agents that a pocket listing is available.

This helps twofold. First, it helps the seller market their home without putting it on the MLS, or having open houses. Second, it allows the buyer’s agent the opportunity to share with their buyer that there is a possible match for them that isn’t exposed to others in the area.

At Team Tapper, we always keep our eyes open for pocket listings because we have a lot of clients that have specific needs or wants. When our buyers can’t find what they are looking for on the open market, we go the extra mile to help find them the perfect match to the properties they are looking for.


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32 Responses to “What is a “Pocket Listing”?”

  1. Chris Moran on November 9th, 2008 6:55 pm

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Real Estate Newbie Info » Blog Archive » What is a “Pocket Listing”? on November 9th, 2008 7:31 pm

    […] David Tapper wrote an interesting post today onWhat is a â??Pocket Listingâ???Here’s a quick excerptHow do buyers find these pocket listings if they aren’t on the MLS or marketed online? You would need to work with an active real estate agent or team of agents who network and work well with other brokers and agents in the area. … […]

  3. David Tapper on January 24th, 2009 10:21 pm

    Thanks Chris, let me know if you have any real estate questions I can answer. Have a great weekend.


  4. Chad@Myrtle Beach Real Estate on February 17th, 2009 8:45 pm

    Well I have never heard of this phrase – I guess I learn something new everyday =)
    Nice Blog also – I like the theme very much!

  5. David Tapper on February 19th, 2009 5:35 pm


    Thanks our new theme was made by Chad Johnson at

    Pocket Listings are becoming more and more popular. I am glad you found the article useful!


  6. Increase in Peninsula Pocket Listings! - Team Tapper Realtors | on March 6th, 2009 8:13 am

    […] mentioned in my blog post “What is a pocket listing”, I receive emails when a pocket listing becomes available. I also receive tips on pocket listing […]

  7. Geoff@San Diego Homes For Sale on August 23rd, 2009 3:38 pm

    In my experience the pocket listings do not serve home sellers very well. The objective of any listing agent and home seller should be to expose the property to as many potential buyers as possible. Keeping a property off the Multiple Listing service defeats this objective. Very few sellers of San Diego homes choose to go the pocket listing route, and for good reason. It makes sense for only a few upper-end (tens of millions of dollars) properties, and only if the property is advertised heavily through other channels (Wall Street Journal, Dream Homes Magazine, etc.).
    .-= Geoff@San Diego Homes For Sale´s last blog ..SanDiego Real Estate Prices Up Again =-.

  8. Brendan Aiello on August 24th, 2009 2:19 pm


    I completely agree. However, in certain circumstances pocket listings work for certain individuals. For example, some people are very private about their business and don’t want people to know their house is for sale until it is sold. Another reason is some people simply know they overpricing their home and wish to “chase the market” this usually results in tons of “Days on Market”. By chasing the market off MLS the DOM rating is more or less hidden from the buyer (unless their agent knows how long it has been available).


  9. Susan@Palmdale Homes on July 19th, 2010 8:58 am

    I can understand how some sellers want the sale of their home to be kept private. Putting a house on the mls is a very public experience. A pocket listing is great to avoid ex’s, nosey neighbors or even collection agencies that won’t stop harassing a seller.

  10. Antelope Valley Houses on August 16th, 2010 2:35 pm

    I have never run across anyone who wanted a pocket listing. Who cares what your neighbors think if your moving anyway?

  11. jacque on March 2nd, 2011 5:19 pm

    Can you set a time limit on a “pocket listing”? Maybe something like a 30 day listing with an agreement that when and if you were to list the home again , it would be with the same real estate agent.

  12. David Tapper on March 4th, 2011 9:08 am

    Hi Jacque,

    It’s negotiable. You can pretty much do as you wish. Most agents will only take a minimum 90 listing.

    Even if I were to take a 30 listing, I would need another 30 days to allow for the home to close escrow, which is normally 30 days.

    Thanks for your question, feel free to write or call anytime.


  13. Jeffery@Terra Group on June 1st, 2012 5:49 pm

    A true pocket listing is that when a seller and an agent have a casual agreement that if the agent comes across the buyers than the agent will bring that buyer to see the house.

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