Pocket Listings, Secret Listings or Future listings- ARE they legal???
Pocket listings or Future listings is an advertising method of withholding a property from the local MLS and advertising it within a brokerage (company) or network. This is perhaps a selling point to a buyer looking for a home that wants the “true inside scoop” on listings and future listings. This way they can get a head start on the competition and get “That” house before anyone else. Sounds good, but is it?
Perhaps to the buyer, but what about the seller? The job of the listing agent is to get the highest price and best terms possible for the seller! Will that normally happen in a so-called “Pocket Listing”? A very few number of agents say yes, but the majority of agents agree that selling a home in the open market with the best advertising will get that seller the Highest price and best terms possible for them.
So why do it? It is a tool to attract more buyers. OUR COMPANY HAS SECRET LISTINGS!!! This practice seems to many agents and others including legislators to be an unfair practice, so much so that many states have laws against this. Virginia is one of those states that tries to make it a fair system in the legal sense and has to (from time to time) be wordy, because saying it is not allowed is not enough? What about not agreed to in writing but advertised, what about advertised in passing, slight mention online, or an email to a friend, or to state that it will be on the market soon!
So here is an excerpt from the state code of Virginia:
Specifically, VA Code § 54.1-2131(A)(2)(a), states, "marketing activities on behalf of the seller" shall be conducted "in accordance with the brokerage agreement," which brokerage agreement must be in writing (Va. Code § 54.1-2137(A) and (B)). VAC-135-20-190(E)(4) requires a written agreement to be signed before an agent can advertise the sale of any specifically identifiable property.
Our Local MLS the Real Estate Information Network ( REIN) covering Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas to include a portion of North Carolina, then becomes a bit more specific about that meaning:
The listing must be input into the REIN System within two (2) days, excluding weekends and Federal holidays, from the "List Date," which is the date the property may be first advertised. (The List Date may be different than the date the seller(s) signed the listing agreement.) These requirements apply to all such Sales Agreement(s), including actual listing agreements, agency or brokerage agreements, or any other written permission to advertise the property in any medium (e.g., social media, internet, print ).
I am sure many internet companies will try to skirt this, we shall see.
Word to the wise (home buyer) don’t put that much weight onto the “Pocket/Secret Listing”.
Can you imagine the Listing Agent being open and honest by telling the home seller, “we will try to get you a contract on the house without letting the majority of competing home buyer know…” Home Seller will most likely NOT say “Alrighty then, sounds good, let’s not murky up the waters with more offers, sign me up!!!”- Your Thoughts?Thinking of selling?
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Carlos A Cardo – Assoc Broker, RE/MAX Allegiance
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