My contribution to a big article on pocket listings in the OC Register:

Other agents say pocket listings are never a good idea.

If being on the open market is good enough for Kobe Bryant, arguably the biggest celebrity in the O.C., then it’s good enough for everyone,” said Jim Klinge, a Carlsbad Realtor. Bryant’s 8,471-square-foot home in Newport Coast’s gated Pelican Ridge, with a shark tank, hair salon and “extra deep” swimming pool, went on the MLS in August for $8.59 million. The home is still for sale.

Often, homes start out as de facto pocket listings without the sellers’ knowledge, Klinge said, as many agents ask sellers to sign a form allowing them to exclude a home from the MLS for longer than a 48-hour period.

“Agents will tell you it’s because they need time to develop their marketing, but in reality they are shopping around the listing first to their own buyers, then among agents in their office and their waiting buyers, and then if all else fails, the listing gets inputted onto the MLS,” he said. “This practice happens in virtually every office, big and small, and among the most successful agents to the rookies.”

His advice? “Sellers should check the Internet themselves to verify their home has been properly listed on the MLS for sale, and advertised to the open market, before negotiating an offer.”

Klinge thinks that off-MLS listings hurt not only sellers, but buyers, too.

“If a seller has found a buyer, and wants to dupe him into paying too much, he might try to tantalize the buyer with an ‘off-market opportunity,” Klinge said. “It is the reason why buyers should insist on buying only those homes on the open market.”

Read the full article here:

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