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Avoid trouble with pocket listings

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12/08/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Pocket listings, off-MLS listings, coming soon, whisper listings—whatever you call them, these listings can lead to problems if you don’t know the rules concerning them.

What are pocket listings?
Pocket listings refer to a listing arrangement or agreement in which the seller decides to keep the property off the MLS.

Are pocket listings illegal?
No. There are no state, local, or federal laws that prohibit pocket listings. However, you could run into trouble from issues related to antitrust, fair housing, or not meeting your fiduciary obligations.

Who can decide to keep a listing off the MLS?
Only the seller may decide to keep a listing off the MLS—not a broker or agent.

What should I do if my seller wants to keep her listing off the MLS?
Check with your local MLS to see how it treats these types of listings. Section 1 of the Model Rules requires listings to be submitted to the MLS within a certain time frame. Section 1.3 provides an exemption if your seller refuses to allow the listing to be disseminated through the MLS. Section 1.3 allows a participant to file the listing with the MLS without it being disseminated to other MLS participants, but a signed certification by the seller should accompany the listing as evidence of the seller’s refusal to disseminate it through the MLS.

Remember when you take a pocket listing, you are still acting in a fiduciary capacity and should put your clients’ interests above your own. You should also consider the Code of Ethics, as well as Texas Real Estate Commission rules. In fact, TREC says that you could be in violation of its rules and subject to disciplinary action if you did not obtain a seller’s informed consent after fully disclosing that limited exposure could result in fewer showings and offers.

Learn more about pocket listings and how to avoid trouble in “Why isn’t that house on the MLS?” from the August 2013 issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine.

Categories: Legal
Tags: legal, pocket listings, selling

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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