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Are Off-Market Listings Banned?

Are Off-Market Listings Banned?

What you need to know about buying and selling pocket listings in Tennessee

A popular way for real estate buyers and sellers to move a property is with unlisted deals. Some investors are willing to pay more for houses that are not listed on the MLS. Part of the reason is they don’t have as much buyer competition. But are off-market listings banned?

This is a common question for those who are new to the real estate market. Some real estate agents frown on pocket listings and discourage buyers and sellers from using them. But what’s the truth and will you cause yourself problems if you buy or sell off-market listings in Sevierville?

What is a pocket listing?

Firstly, a brief description of what off-market or “pocket listings” are, in case you’re unfamiliar: an off-market property is sold without being listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Often, an agent finds a buyer directly without publicly marketing the listing. They may also market publicly using their own channels, but avoid the MLS which shares it with all brokers.

Many home sellers choose to sell off-market if they want to keep the sale private. It’s also a way to test market interest without increasing “days on market,” which could lower a property’s final sale price.

Buyers like pocket listings because there’s less competition if you know where to find them. Deals can also happen faster and without as much hassle if it’s not publicly listed.

Are off-market listings legal?

While it’s not illegal to buy or sell a house off-market, it is discouraged by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In fact, in 2019, they instituted a rule for agents that disincentivizes pocket listings. The “ban” requires agents to list a home on the MLS within one day of marketing it to the public.

The rule is supposed to prevent unfair advantages for some people who may have inside connections. It’s also in the interest of the NAR because it ensures more listings available on the MLS and more accurate data gathered about local markets.

In addition to remaining legal, it’s even uncertain how strictly the NAR rule is enforced. Although there may be fines involved for brokers caught selling off-market, the consequences aren’t always realized. For example, in Texas, many agents are simply ignoring the ban and continuing with “coming soon” listings. Because the NAR leaves enforcement to local chapters, it’s important for agents to know the stance of their local affiliates.

As a home buyer or seller, it’s still very possible to buy and sell properties off-market. You can ask your local agent their attitude toward pocket listings. Some agents and brokers support the NAR policy while others prioritize serving the client first over industry rules.

Where to start if you want to find off-market listings in Sevierville

In short, off-market listings are not illegal. Depending on your real estate strategy, you may want to find an agent who will help you find “coming soon” or “pocket listings.” 

Even better – an agent who pays attention to your priorities and listens to what’s important to you can help. Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty TN specializes in creating customized real estate strategies for clients in East Tennessee. If you’re looking for a pocket listing, visit our exclusive website.

If you know where to find off-market listings, you can still make great real estate deals. All you have to do is work with the right realtor that can get you connected.


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