POCKET LISTINGS ARE A HOT ISSUE; EXPERTS WEIGH IN

Source from RE/MAX News 8-4-2021

Pocket listings are one of the most hotly debated topics in real estate right now. The purpose of pocket listings, which don’t appear on an MLS, is currently in question, but the answer remains a gray area. Greg Robertson, real estate technology expert and founder of WR Studios (which was recently acquired by Lone Wolf), and Craig McClelland, Vice President and COO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Georgia, joined Keepin’ It Real with Nick Bailey to share where they agree – and disagree – on the subject. RE/MAX President and show host Nick Bailey wasted no time getting to the burning question at hand: Do pocket listings have a place in the real estate industry? While the panelists hold different stances, both agree it’s a complicated issue. What are pocket listings – and why do they exist? McClelland describes a pocket listing as a property intentionally held away from full-market exposure. This means only some agents even know about the property, because it doesn’t appear in any MLS database. Essentially, the listing is private – and exclusive. The concept of pocket listings may have been born out of safety concerns for high-profile clients, but some industry experts disagree with them – and suggest they could be used for the wrong reasons. Robertson, for his part, asserts that pocket listings are often deployed to benefit the broker. McClelland believes pocket listings simply provide an option some clients should be free to choose. “If the consumer is fully informed and this is the experience that they're choosing, they should have the right to have that experience regardless of what NAR’s [the National Association of REALTORS'] rules are [and] regardless of the MLS,” McClelland says. How are they problematic? A primary concern with pocket listings is their disconnect from the MLS. “The MLS is cooperative at the root – it's all about cooperation and compensation,” Robertson says. “If you're a broker and you don't want to participate in that and [with] those being the rules, then don’t join the MLS … When you join an MLS, you're agreeing to sharing listings.” The fact that the practice could be considered exclusionary is another concern of Robertson’s. “[Does the buyer] have to make a certain amount of money? Do they have to have a certain socio-economic background?” he asks. “It seems to be very problematic to start going down this road of, ‘I'm going to show [the home] to only certain people.’” Agreeing that fair housing must be upheld across the industry in all practices, McClelland adds that pocket listings are an alternative route of business and the concept itself doesn’t promote discrimination. “My concern is [that] the MLSs, [when] joined with NAR [and] joined with the associations, aren't moving quick enough to meet the pace of business,” McClelland says. “I think that we need to look at pocket listings from a different lens and say, ‘Yeah, if consumers are educated [and] they want this type of experience, we have to figure out a way to give it to them and enable agents to perform litigiously.’” Where will pocket listings stand in the future? The demand of consumers, as well as local rules and regulations, vary greatly in each individual market, making it difficult to draw a sweeping conclusion on how to address the issues with pocket listings going forward. “These are not things that can be solved very easily,” Robertson says. “It's not going to happen overnight. Nothing like this happens overnight.” Catch a replay of "Keepin’ It Real with Nick Bailey" any time on YouTube. And don’t miss the next episode on Wednesday, September 8, at 9 a.m. ET.


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