The Truth About Pocket Listings

We ask an expert why some homes aren’t marketed in certain ways.
The Truth About Pocket Listings


“Do you have any pocket listings that would work for me?” It’s not an unusual question for a real estate agent to hear. But what exactly does that mean?


For most home shoppers, it means, “Do you know of a property not currently listed whose owner might be willing to sell?” And sure, if you work in real estate, you are a connector of people and homes, buyers and sellers, and you might know someone who may consider selling a home that suits your buyer’s needs. However, that’s not truly a pocket listing.


A pocket listing, or private pocket listing, is a property that has been listed with an agent through a signed listing agreement; however, the seller has requested the home not be marketed in certain ways. In most instances, that’s because the seller wants to preserve their privacy. A home listed on the Multiple Listing Service includes not only information about the home, but often detailed photos that appear on the MLS or the web services it feeds, such as Zillow, Trulia and It also includes a link to tax data, which shows the owner’s name.


The Truth About Pocket Listings


“It really is all about privacy,” says Ruthie Kaminskas of Elite Pacific Properties, who has worked with sellers to sell luxury homes on O‘ahu privately. “There is a niche of luxury clients that truly don’t want their home visible on the MLS.” Kaminskas only markets such properties through direct contact with potential buyers and their agents. Her strong network allows her to reach out to the people who have the means and interest in a property, all while protecting her seller’s privacy by only showing the residences to qualified and interested buyers.


Private pocket listings also have a very specific type of buyer. They don’t want people to know what they’re spending, they don’t want there to be an update on the MLS when the home sells that piques interest, and they often hold their property in an LLC with a local agent as the contact to ensure no one knows who has purchased a property.