Tips and ideas for how real estate agents can do marketing for a pocket listing which isn't included in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
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What Is A Pocket Listing?
Before we get too far into marketing, let's talk about what a pocket listing is!
This is where a seller has asked the real estate agent NOT to include the listing in the MLS as a house for sale. It can also be called an “off market listing”.
This can be for many different reasons including:
- Not wanting a buyer's agent commission paid
- FSBOs who do not want to “officially” list their home for sale to other real estate agents
- Investors selling while renters still live in the home
- Sellers who do not want to publicly list their home for sale for privacy reasons
- Wealthy sellers who do not want to disclose their home is for sale
- Employees who don't want their employers to know they are selling their home and possibly moving
That is not comprehensive, but does give us an idea about why a home seller might want to list their home as a pocket listing.
Additional Resource : NAR bans putting pocket listings in the MLS (November, 2019)
5 Creative Ideas For Marketing A Pocket Listing
Some of these ideas require that you have either a database or strong marketing budget, but since you can't rely on another real estate agent to bring a buyer, you will have to be willing to do more marketing.
1. Email Marketing
I know this is hard if you have not been working on it already, but if you are going to take pocket listings, you have to have an email database of buyers that are looking to buy in your area.
If you do not already have a list, you can set up a free giveaway on your website for a “Relocation Guide” or “7 Moving Day Tips” that will attract buyers to sign up to get on your list.
You might also ask your client if they have a list of business contacts or friend who you can email the listing details to!
The key here is to have a chance to contact as many people as possible in hopes of finding someone who is interested in moving to your area!
- What Should Be On Your Real Estate Website
- Mailing list service for Affluent and Wealthy Individuals
- I recommend ConvertKit for email marketing
2. Every Door Direct Mail
The USPS Every Door Direct service let's you deliver flyers or postcards to individual mail carrier routes.
In this way you can target people living around your listing and let them know they can “help pick their neighbors” by telling their friends and loved ones about the “exclusive listing” that is on the market.
You can also target a “move up” mailing to neighborhoods that are lower priced than your listing.
This is a really good way to leverage your current pocket listing to get even more listings as you double dip their sale and your pocket listing sale!
3. Sign Riders
If you are able to put up a yard sign, make sure to you have “Call for appointment” on the sign rider.
Many people looking to move into an area will cruise around and might see your sign and give you a call.
I KNOW! You will get some calls from agents representing buyers, simply let them know that the seller is working exclusively with you as the listing agent.
Also be sure to qualify that any buyers who call are not working any other real estate professionals before giving them the details of the property.
This can get a little tricky, but that yard sign is great exposure if you can talk the seller into having one!
4. Local Magazines
There are always high end magazines that you can advertise in! The “Tampa Bay” magazine in my area lists pictures and articles about all the important political, business and personal events in the area.
Many times affluent people who are looking to relocate will subscribe to these prior to moving to the area.
Call or email the magazine and ask for a media kit which will show the pricing for different sized advertisement.
Many times you can negotiate lower rates if purchasing multiple entries or if you are willing to be ready for last minute placements.
5. Contact Local HR People
This is another marketing strategy that work for you long after you have sold your pocket listing!
Local Human Relations directors at larger companies, hospitals and colleges often know of employees who will be transferring into the area.
You can either drop in or call and politely ask the HR rep if you can send over information about an exclusive listing that is on the market close to their location.
Many large companies have relocation departments or vendors who handle all of the details of moving, getting passed on to them is GREAT… they may have more than a handful of people who are looking for homes your area.
Letting them know about your pocket listing is a great way to jump start a relationship that could result in a lot of future business!
Marketing Your Pocket Listing Wrapup
There are a couple more things to think about when considering marketing an off market listing.
It Costs A Lot To Market Pocket Listings
It costs a lot of time and money for marketing pocket listings. I KNOW your seller said they don't care how long it takes, but having been on the receiving end of “any leads” calls weekly myself, know that the seller will expect you to work hard to sell their listing.
With that in mind, I would have a range of pricing that you are willing to accept as pocket listings OR add a marketing fee to your contract so that you are repaid if the house doesn't sell.
They Are Great For Generating Leads!
While your first mission is to selling your private listings, because of all the marketing you have to do, selling an off market listing will sometimes result in more than just 2 buyers sales (the industry standard).
As you contact HR departments and mail into local neighborhoods, you may find that this is a great way to generate listing leads. That can help to offset some of the additional marketing costs if it is a really amazing property!