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Saying the “Quiet” Part Out Loud – “Pocket Listings”

Saying the “Quiet” Part Out Loud – “Pocket Listings”

It’s a New Year and it’s a new housing market. The market is down over 45% over last year this time in closed sales due to a lack of inventory, and prices remain strong. There is pent up buyer demand, but with homeowners safely in their mortgages at 2.5% it is difficult to find a reason for them to move, so the inventory of housing remains historically low.

In any given community, we have but one or two choices for buyers in every price point. This is the real reason for the slowdown in housing. I keep wondering why journalists are not reporting the real cause of the housing slowdown, but I guess the lack of available homes does not sell headlines. It is more impactful to scare people with increasing interest rate hike stories I suppose, but the truth is interest rates remain historically low. The real story is a lack of housing. We are short five million housing units in the United States. Good Properties are a rare find and when they come up, they get scooped up at every price point. This is not a buyers’ market … at least not yet.

So how do buyers find their dream home in this market?

You need to be flexible. Select many acceptable communities and different types of housing options. Consider fixer uppers and take your chosen contractor with you when house hunting with your agent. Get creative, pick a seasoned agent who has been through several markets and is not afraid to put in the hard work on your behalf. A good buyer’s agent is worth your time, effort, and money as they will help you make a smart investment and help you on your financial housing journey.

“Pocket Listings”

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room - Pocket Listings. I released a blog in January of 2022 which got mad crazy controversy. The reaction to my blog on Excluded Listings and Shadow Inventory was so over blown. There is something BIG about hidden inventory? Going the extra mile for clients seems to be on “their” radar as a possible no-no. https://www.powersrealty.com/real-estate-perspectives-by-suzanne-powers/excluded-listings-milwaukees-shadow-inventory/

“Pocket Listings” “Shadow Inventory” and “Excluded Listings” are properties not shared or featured on MLS or any public website. They are a “quiet off market” listed property using the assistance of a broker.  My 2022 Blog took a deep dive into the types of properties available to buyers. No one wants to talk about “pocket listings” and there are two cases going before the Supreme Court in conjunction with pocket listings and clear cooperation. A lower court has overturned a ruling to eliminate pocket listings. This is good for buyers and sellers in a competitive free market society. Buyers need all the help they can get. If I am your buyer’s agent, then my responsibility is to find you the best property I can. That may mean we may be doing a quiet deal excluded from MLS as I knock on doors and try to find you the BEST property.

Property Types for Sale

First, it is important to understand that not all housing inventory is publicly available through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and therefore, is not syndicated nationally to housing websites. So, why are those homes not on MLS and those national sites? That is shadow inventory and buyers may be missing some of the market simply by not having visibility to all available homes. To never miss a property, discuss the listing options below with your agent.

How properties are listed for sale through a broker:

  • Publicly listed Multiple Listing Properties (the most common) syndicated to all housing websites
  • Publicly listed Multiple Listing Service Properties NOT syndicated – these properties are not displayed on public housing websites like Zillow and Realtor.com but are displayed on MLS
  • Excluded Listings
  • Delayed Listings (aka Coming Soon)
  • Single Party Listings

Listing brokers can help sellers list their properties publicly and privately. Both sellers and buyers should understand all the options in the marketplace to help them navigate the market and make informed real estate decisions. Here are the available options to sellers that buyers should be made aware of in SE Wisconsin housing – including a loophole:

Excluded Listings from MLS (aka Shadow Inventory)

Properties designated as “Excluded Exclusive Right to Sell” are not syndicated to the Multiple Listing Service. In this scenario, a seller enters into a full listing contract with one broker to “quietly” market their property outside of the MLS. There can be no marketing of the property transmitted by any electronic medium -no email promotion, text promotion, or social media. The property will not be displayed on any website and no public marketing of the property may take place by the selected brokerage. The seller maintains their privacy from all syndicated websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com but may make their property known to other MLS members (typically, brokers) through an agent phone campaign only.

This is a private option for sellers with brokers offering cooperation among other brokers. An Excluded Listing significantly limits the marketability of the property to all MLS Members and buyers and as a result, how many buyers are exposed to the property. Buyers in today’s market not being made aware of this type of listing may not know to ask their agent about the shadow market inventory. Now you do.

Single Party Listing

A Single Party listing is just that -a listing contract with a single name or multiple names of buyers on the listing contract. The property is made available for sale only to those buyers listed on the contract. The home is not marketed or featured in the MLS or nationally syndicated to real estate websites. In a single party listing scenario, sellers have the option of multiple brokers featuring their buyers on the contract and having contracts with multiple brokers. For example, a seller could opt to have a Powers Realty Listing Contract, a Shorewest Listing Contract, and a Realty Executives Listing Contract, and each contract would list qualified buyers to whom the listing contract applies. Each broker would then show the home to their list of qualified buyers only.

Delayed Listing and Coming Soon

The “delayed listing” or “coming soon” Listing Status is an exceptional marketing tool for brokers and was developed by Milwaukee Metro MLS within the last two years for publicly listed properties. This status gives brokers an opportunity to market a home publicly to all MLS members for up to 21 days prior to home showings beginning. This window gives the broker and seller the opportunity to stage, paint and prep the home for sale, and make the home publicly known with photos and a full MLS description before the property is nationally syndicated to hundreds of websites. Delayed Status provides a fair and equal balance in a competitive market because no members or buyers are allowed into the property until the showing start date. All MLS members are informed in advance of the start date for showings and can plan their tour of the property with their buyers. It provides an excellent way for buyers relocating from other cities and states to plan their visit to the Milwaukee area and prepare their offer. This is the most fair and equitable tool our Milwaukee Metro MLS has made available to all brokers, buyers, and sellers.


Buyer Hint: Know you can write an offer on these properties sight unseen before they go live. (This happens frequently in a highly competitive market.)


“48-Hour Rule” (a problematic loophole)

There is a thing called the “48-Hour Rule” that is still shaking things up a bit in Milwaukee area real estate. This would not be much of a blog without some spicy inside scoop.

For newly listed properties, the listing agent has 48 hours to enter your newly signed listing into the MLS. So, if your agent takes the listing on Friday, they have a 48-hour window to list your home on the MLS. Theoretically, agents can receive a seller’s signed paperwork on Friday, show the home through the weekend within their own office or company and not put it into the MLS until Monday morning.  Over the weekend, they may have sold it in-house and therefore, the property is entered into the MLS with an Accepted Offer icon. Yep. Buyers reading this, that has happened to you…right? The rules of our Milwaukee Metro MLS in this scenario were followed, however, this is a loophole. Once a listing contract is signed, the agent has 48 hours to submit it to MLS and publish it to the public. The house can be shown (and an offer can be accepted) to anyone during this time even though it is not publicly listed yet.

Publicly Listed Properties through the Multiple Listing Service

These are the traditional listed properties every consumer is exposed to in the marketplace. The Exclusive Right to Sell gives one brokerage the exclusive right to market the property to the Multiple Listing Membership of cooperating brokers. These listed properties are fully displayed in the MLS for all buyers and sellers who are given a membership to the MLS through their real estate agent. These properties may be syndicated to Realtor.com and Zillow websites. These properties can also be excluded from all major housing websites and only displayed on MLS if the seller requests more privacy, however, they are displayed to all cooperating brokers on the MLS.

It is not your imagination. There is a shadow market. Be vigilant and have a conversation with your real estate agent about hidden inventory so you never miss an excluded or single party listing in this time of very low inventory and land your dream home. If you have questions as a buyer or seller, I am happy to personally meet with you to discuss the market.

Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home, Suzanne Powers 414-870-7175.

Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.

Call Suzanne Powers