Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Home buyers, home sellers and pocket listings

If you're a home buyer in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, you may be asking all of your contacts, and your Realtor, for "pocket" listings -- those homes that sell before they ever go on the market.  Since the home buying public doesn't know about these listings, there isn't the frantic purchasing competition that drives up the prices.

If you're a seller, you may also be looking to list your home as a "pocket" as it's a much more convenient sales process. You don't have tons of people traipsing through your house, you don't have to be gone for the open houses, etc.  Your Realtor just networks with other agents and brings you a buyer that way.  It's especially nice and convenient for sellers during our current hot real estate market.

Those are the high points of pocket listings.  Here's the downside for buyers.

I just represented buyers who purchased a pocket listing in west Burbank. George and Yvonne, like most buyers, had been looking for quite awhile and had made a lot of good offers on other properties.  They were thrilled to find a four bedroom, 1900+ sf. home in their price range without having to compete with 25 other buyer groups.  What a relief!

Then, we had the physical inspection.  Lots and lots was wrong with the house, including major structural stuff.  The seller would not consider crediting any money for the work that would need to be done, including health and safety items. The buyers even lost $1000 of termite work. We implored the seller and even asked to meet with her. No dice. The seller's position was that if the buyers didn't want to take the house absolutely as is, the seller would just put it on the mls and probably make even more money. 

The buyers went forward with the sale because, as we all know, inventory is limited, that's a large house in a good neighborhood, etc.  So here's the take-away for you buyers considering purchasing pocket listings:  While it might be easier to buy a "pocketed" home, your negotiating power (such as it is) is seriously diminished because the seller has nothing to lose by cancelling your sale and starting over with the process.

George and Yvonne are very creative and I'm sure they'll have great success in turning this home back into the gem it once was.

1 comment:

  1. There's actually a lot of debate whether pocket listing is good for real estate or not.

    Although most of the realtor experts say that pocket listings are treated well and fair, it could still affect the housing market entirely in the future.

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