America is in a seriously hot housing market. Demand for houses doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and home values are steadily rising with no signs of cooling down. This built-in demand combined with a distaste for the usual methods of selling property — like open houses and showings — has many agents and sellers considering the whisper listing.
What Is a Whisper Listing?
Also known as pocket listings, the whisper listing is a quiet sale of a home that is not actually listing on the market. In the past, these listings have been viewed as controversial because the seller is guarding their listing until an agent is able to find a buyer that meets their preferred asking price. This keeps the property from being available on an MLS (Multiple Listing Service), effectively keeping many from knowing the property is available in the first place.
Why Would Seller’s Prefer a Whisper Listing?
Previously the preferred way of selling property for celebrities, whisper listings keep the particulars of the property from being publicized. But more often, lately, sellers just don’t want to commit to the effort and inconvenience of ongoing open house viewings.
Whisper listings can benefit all kinds of sellers, though, whether the interest has to do with specific privacy standards, keeping the sale exclusive to luxury buyers, or they just prefer a sale via word-of-mouth.
Why Would a Buyer Prefer a Whisper Listing?
Two words: Less Competition. A buyer who gets the opportunity to make an offer on a whisper listing has a much greater chance of getting the home.
Since this kind of transaction relies on agents directly connecting buyers and sellers, it is also considerably more likely that the home will meet some very specific needs of the buyer that had been previously expressed to an agent that works on behalf of both parties.
What is the Downside of a Whisper Listing?
By not marketing a home to all buyers, sellers may be hurting themselves. Whisper listings may find them a buyer at their desired price without a lot of the hassles, but this lack of exposure also prevents them from getting the best price for their home. So many homes are selling for over list price with bidding wars among potential buyers!
Are Whisper Listings Actually Happening?
Some fear that whisper listings are too exclusive and secretive and make the real estate market unfair, but the truth is that in today’s extraordinarily active market many homes are being sold even faster than they can be listed — and often even sight-unseen.
The National Association of Realtors recently established a Clear Cooperation Policy requiring all brokers to list homes on the MLS within one business day of marketing a property. But it is common that homes in our Springfield and Burke areas get snatched up so fast that there isn’t even enough time to put them in the MLS. Properties were on the market for an average of just 17 days last month!
A home doesn’t have to be a celebrity or multi-dollar listing to be a whisper listing. Sometimes buyers just test the market before committing to a sale, or to see if their high price request could actually attract any buyers.
But in today’s extra hot market, it just seems to be happening that motivated buyers that have a relationship with their agents are hearing first about homes that are about to go on the market. There’s nothing meant to be secretive or underhanded about it, this market is simply benefitting those with connections and good timing.
We can’t commit to finding or selling our client’s unlisted homes, but we can commit to using all of our resources to help you sell or buy a home that best suits your needs. Develop that beneficial relationship with LIST WITH ELIZABETH® and see what we can do for you!