Are pocket listings common in Chicago?

A recent webinar in California suggested that “pocket listings,” i.e. listings represented by an agent that are on the market but not on the MLS, are a growing concern.

Off-MLS listings are more common in a tight-inventory market, as we’re currently experiencing in Chicago. In Silicon Valley off-MLS listings are approaching 20% of the market, according to data presented in the webinar.

One presenter suggested that properties listed on the MLS typically sell at higher prices than off-MLS listings, raising questions as to whether agents are breaching their duties to sellers by limiting exposure of the properties to a broader market. The “circulated by the few for a few” listings also raise fair housing questions.

Are off-MLS listings currently common in Chicago?


  • Here are some quick, possibly flawed thoughts…I think if the seller is OKAY with their broker trying to sell the property off the MLS for whatever reason that’s their prerogative (and there are good reasons like a seller’s privacy for one). We see this for upper bracket properties and their important or famous owners with little questions. Dare I say it may be an expectation the sales are handled more privately.

    Of course the brokers need to be in compliance with fair housing and advertising rules etc. I don’t have a study to back it up but I’m sure there is just as high a percentage of broker violations and improprieties for MLS listed properties as “off MLS” properties.

    I can understand the heightened “perception” there would be some sort of funny business involved with a “pocket listing” but that does not make off MLS listing wrong. To use a phrase… “Don’t hate the game (off MLS properties for sale by broker), hate the player”.

    One more point: The seller has no obligation to let a hundred showings into their house just because a potential buyer/ broker thinks that’s “fair”. If a seller gets an offer and wants to accept it prior to many extremely intrusive showings that is also their prerogative (regardless of on or off MLS) .

    Unless there is a law that all properties for sale and represented by an agent/broker/ Realtor must be listed on the MLS or it’s equivalent I think there has to be some preservation of the property owner’s rights and privacy when selling.

  • SheridanB 5 years

    Why is it called a “pocket” listing? In the agents pocket?