There is something new in the real estate industry, or rather, the rebirth of something old. Decades ago, when a buyer bought a house, they got it through the company that the house was listed with. But in the 1960's, the concept of the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, became common. The MLS was a giant leap forward in real estate technology. A Multiple Listing Service is a computer database that includes almost all of the available properties in a market area. Any agent that belongs to this service has access to this information. That means if your house is listed for sale with one company, there is a strong possibility that it will be sold by another company.
The technology has improved to the point where this has become an enormous benefit for both buyers and sellers. Once entered into the MLS, listings will appear on multiple websites. Properties listed with Long & Foster appear on more than forty prominent real estate sites. This means there is a lot more exposure for properties, leading to more competition, faster sales and higher sale prices. Buyers benefit from having easy access to property information and more opportunities to find the right house.
So why are agents and companies reverting back to the time when this technology wasn't available? There is no benefit whatsoever to the seller of a property, to leaving it off of the MLS. There is a reason the idea of a multiple listing service became so popular. It works as advertised! Agents are doing this because they are trying to double up on commissions. If other agents don't know about a property, there is a really good chance the listing agent will sell it themselves. Sellers should be aware. If an agent offers, suggests, encourges or tells you to list a property without putting it on the Multiple Listing Service, THEY ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THEMSELVES, NOT FOR YOU. They can not provide more exposure on their own, then they can by making everyone aware of the property for sale.
This type of listing is called different things. You may see the term private listing, inter-office listing or pocket listing. Whatever name is used, if you do this, you are likely to lose money.