Real Estate Units: Pocket Lists

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“Pocket Listing” refers to a listing of properties that, like almost all properties, is not found in the standard Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Video transcript

A tight housing market and a shortage of inventory are forcing many to seek creative ways to find housing here in North Texas. In today’s article “One thing about real estate,” we look at the controversial practice of so-called pocket listing.

It cannot be denied that finding a home to buy in this North Texas market is very difficult, mainly because there is not much to choose from. Realtors and clients are forced to be creative. And many resort to the so-called pocket list.

RENE GALICIA: The term “pocket listings” usually refers to situations in which a real estate broker intentionally stores information about a home that is being sold under a multiple listing service, restricting access to that property to only an exclusive group of potential buyers.

Rene Galicia of the National Association of Realtors says there is something else besides pocket listings called whisper listings.

RENE GALICIA: Whispering Listing is usually the term used to describe verbal agreements between Sellers and brokers where a property is sold without an actual listing agreement until a buyer is identified.

Both pocket listings and whisper listings are commonly referred to as OTC listings. And here in Texas they are not illegal. However, Galicia argues that such practices may violate ethical principles related to fair housing rules set by the local MLS and NAR markets.

RENE GALICIA: Our rules and code of ethics are promoting key players in what constitutes a multiple listing service that creates an efficient marketplace with a focus on accuracy, collaboration and transparency.

He says that the fines can endanger the realtor and, accordingly, unfinished transactions.

RENE GALICIA: – which could lead to training, fines, suspension from classes, and sometimes even to termination.

In addition to potential violations of fair housing and ethical standards, Galicia said the practice puts additional strain on an already limited supply. And this can negatively affect the housing market, affecting prices that are usually dictated by the market itself.

RENE GALICIA: Limited access to listings limits the options for buyers. And buyers should really be able to choose where they want to live based on all the inventory available.

Galicia says that if you have ethical questions related to a particular transaction, you can speak directly with a real estate broker or the local MLS board of directors.

RENE GALICIA: This is a tricky market with limited supplies. But we are also interested in our realtors promoting the interests of their sellers and buyers and creating an effective market.

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