An interesting phenomenon that is starting to occur in the real estate market lately is non-MLS (multiple listing service) or pocket listings. What this does to the exposure of your home for sale seems quite evident but some agents are promoting this method as a way to reduce tire kickers through your home… but is that the real reason? Sellers need to recognize that only allowing that listing agent to promote your property and hold it off the multiple listing service (MLS) greatly reduces the exposure. Unless there is a security issue or privacy concern, it is not in your best interest and most agents have ways to work around those problems.
According to some brokers privacy and security became more of an issue as the real estate market started to pull out of the recession… coincidentally just as the availability of homes for sale started to wane. Could there be a conflict of interest? What I’m suggesting is that sellers be aware of agents who insist they have a buyer ready to purchase their home. If the agent insists upon representing both the buyer and seller and you just met this person perhaps you need to step back and reconsider. Whose interests will this agent focus on? Will your interests be compromised?
One way to ensure a good overview of the available services from local Realtors (and I would insist upon working with a Realtor®) is to interview at least three people. Do let them know they are just one of a few agents you are interviewing. Having a friend or other person sit through the presentation will also give you another perspective on that candidate. The main reason to insist upon a Realtor® is because they belong to the local board and are subject to the professional standards and bylaws. Non-members have no allegiance to the local board nor is there any accountability in place so keep this in mind as real estate is a self-policing profession.
A final thought on keeping your home off the MLS would be during the preparation period. Some agents will pre-market to test the waters (Coming Soon) and see how much activity there is in your price range. Should you decide to allow this realize that the exposure is limited to whatever means the agent uses to market and most likely will produce a buyer represented by the same agent. Ideally this is someone you have vetted and trust to represent you well during the transaction. Although dual-agency is not common it does happen occasionally, however if an agent uses this as their main method of marketing you might want to re-think your selection.
I’ve been selling real estate since 1999 and have only represented both sides of the transaction 3 times in my career. However, I always offer to refer a buyer I found to another agent when representing the seller just in case they feel uncomfortable with that situation. I’ve yet to have that happen but wouldn’t think less of my sellers should they not want me representing both sides. After all, they are the ones paying for my services and I respect their decision when it comes to representation of their interests.
Beth Moran is a Broker Associate with REMAX Gold and holds the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), the Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist (CPRES) and serves on the Professional Standards for the Sacramento Association of Realtors. She is also trained by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. You can contact her at Beth@SacAgent.com or (916)947-3993