Technology

Pocket listing database opens arms to ‘coming soon’ listings

HipPocketz lets agents market off-MLS listings privately or publicly

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HipPocketz, a platform designed to make it easier for real estate agents to market homes off the multiple listing service (MLS), has added a feature that allows members posting properties to specify whether they plan to eventually list those properties on an MLS.

“Pocket listings” are active listings that real estate agents don’t list on an MLS — sometimes for a short period of time, and sometimes indefinitely.

HipPocketz is one of a growing number of online channels — including Prevali, Pocketlist.co, Zillow and Rebls — that’s working to aggregate listings marketed to real estate agents off the MLS.

“We have seen a huge increase in agents pre-marketing listings through eflyers and on Facebook, but until now there hasn’t been an organized, searchable, responsive database for these properties,” said Megan DiBartolo, CEO of HipPocketz. “Our home city of Austin has a record number of homes with 0 or 1 day on the market recorded in the MLS.”

HipPocketz’s database of pocket listings listings that real estate agents hold off the MLS indefinitely, has accumulated properties worth more than $200 million since launching in beta in January, according to HipPocketz.

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Screenshot from hippocketz.com

Pocket listings aren’t the only type of listings that spend time off the multiple listing service. Another type are “pre-MLS” listings, also known as “coming soon” listings. Unlike pocket listings, real estate agents shopping around pre-MLS listings plan to eventually list them on the MLS.

DiBartolo said HipPocketz’s collection of off MLS listings has a “good balance” between pocket listings and pre-MLS listings.

HipPocketz’s new “pre-MLS” listings feature now allows members to easily tell the two apart.

Some consumer advocates say listing platforms like HipPocketz adversely impact sellers. Homes marketed off the MLS, critics say, may not fetch market value because they aren’t exposed to the full universe of buyers.

But supporters of off-MLS marketing channels say it’s better to have a database of pocket and pre-MLS listings than none at all.

Real estate agents who sign up for HipPocketz, which remains in beta mode, can choose whether to market their properties privately to other member agents or to the public through a shareable link.

Real estate agents marketing “pocket listings” often keep properties off the MLS to offer their clients more privacy, so they might be more inclined to share their listings only with other real estate agents.

On the other hand, “pre-MLS” listings, or “coming soon” listings, are typically marketed to generate buzz around properties before they are exposed to a wider audience on the MLS. So agents representing “coming soon” listings might be more inclined to bring them to attention of buyers.

Prevali, a competitor of HipPocketz’s, has been “overwhelmed” by positive feedback since launching in beta mode in May, said Prevali Co-Founder Jenny Sharpe.

“Respected industry veterans” from top markets have signed up to work with with Prevali, she said.

Prevali plans to launch out of beta in late June as it adds additional features, such as fully embedded 3-D tours of listings, she said.

Email Teke Wiggin.