Some real estate agents will try to convince you that they have a buyer already lined up, and that you shouldn’t list your time on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is bad advice.

What is the MLS?

The MLS is a database of homes and properties for sale that is accessible to subscribing realtors. This allows a much wider range of realtors - and their clients - to see exactly what is on the market at any time.

The key elements here is the free market. When your property is listed on the MLS, you have the opportunity to showcase it in front the widest audience possible. After all, you want to get the most offers for your home, right? On the MLS, you’ll get the exposure you need to get the most offers possible. And more offers oftentimes translates into a higher selling price.

Pocket Listings

Some realtors will try to convince you not to place your property on the MLS. This is known as a “pocket listing.” Instead, they want to offer your property to what they’ll call their “exclusive” prospective buyers before the home hits the market. To be fair, there are reasons why you might not want to list your home in the MLS. If you are famous and want to keep your plans quiet, this is a good option. Perhaps you have a rental property and do not want to alert your tenants. Or perhaps you aren’t ready to show your home - either it’s not prepped, or it doesn’t show well - and you don’t want strangers stopping by. If you don’t fit into any of these categories, however, do not let your real estate agent talk you into keeping your property off the MLS. You will almost certainly lose money.

This Tactic Only Hurts the Seller

First, by not listing your property on the MLS, you are missing out on the opportunity to put your property on the open market. You are limiting the number of people who could make an offer to just those your agent selects, leaving thousands of potential buyers in the dark.

Second, an agent who doesn’t want you to is not looking after your best interests. He’s motivated by greed. Realtors who push for pocket listings don’t want to share the commission with another agent. By acquiescing to your realtor’s greed, you will get a lower sale price for your home.

This unscrupulous tactic has become popular in the Twin Cities region lately. Don’t be deceived. You deserve to sell your home for the highest price that the free market commands. Anything less is unacceptable.

About the author: Tony Lipa is an appraiser and realtor who lives in Northeast Minneapolis and works throughout the Twin Cities metro region. Tony has over 15 years of experience in Minnesota's largest market, and works with both buyers and sellers.