One problem with pocket listings — for-sale properties held off the multiple listing service (MLS) — is their limited reach. Getting these homes on the radar of all agents who might have ready and willing buyers can be next to impossible.
That’s why Beverly Hills, California Realtor Christopher Dyson has launched ThePLS.com (The Pocket Listing Service): to replace today’s scattershot marketing of pocket listings with a central repository accessible to all real estate agents — and no one else.
The service is designed to enhance the value proposition of real estate agents by restoring their role as data gatekeepers to at least some degree, and by providing them with a way to test price points for homes before listing them on the MLS.
Similar efforts have included offMLS, Zenlist and Prevali.
“I was frustrated that I would get maybe 10, 15, 20 emails a day with agents already sharing information saying, ‘You know I have this pocket listings,'” said Dyson, an agent at luxury brokerage The Agency. “I wanted to create a platform that could aggregate and consolidate that information that agents were already sharing.”
Marketing homes off the MLS is controversial. The practice denies a home exposure to the full universe of buyers, creating the potential for it to sell for less than it should, critics say.
But Beverly Hills-based Dyson says that many of his clients “are in the public eye,” and to keep a low profile, they will keep their homes off the MLS — whether he likes it or not.
So, reasons Dyson, if some homes are always going to be listed off the MLS, why not at least make those properties visible to as many agents as possible (short of displaying them publicly)?
“The hope is that there is enough volume of agents that the seller will gain the same access to eyeballs and agent audience if they would be on the MLS,” he said about his long-term vision for the site.
On ThePLS.com, agents can post as much or as little information on a property as they like. Unlike the MLS, listing agents don’t have offer compensation to buyer’s agents.
“The onus is on the selling agent and the buying agent to qualify those terms,” Dyson said.
Dyson has been piloting ThePLS in the Los Angeles area, with the platform currently hosting around 100 listings.
Now he’s launching ThePLS nationwide, touting the public support of three well-known agents: Mauricio Umanksy, CEO of The Agency (and Dyson’s boss); and James Harris and David Parnes, both of the TV show Million Dollar Listing.
“It is just like the MLS, but for pockets,” Harris said in a statement. “David [Parnes] and I could not be more excited to be a part of this innovative platform that we believe will disrupt the industry and allow agents across the U.S. the opportunity to better serve their clients.”
By creating an exclusive listing network for all agents, ThePLS.com can help “preserve agent value and significance,” Dyson said.
“Not only is it a site where agents can share and market their off-market properties, but it’s also a site where agents can be offered a competitive edge in the marketplace again,” he said.
Dyson also envisions the service as a way for agents to test price points for a home, including a client’s preferred price, which is often unrealistic.
If the home doesn’t get any bites on ThePLS.com, then the agent can make a compelling argument for listing the home at a lower price on the MLS, and without the property formally having accumulated any days on market.
Many MLSs require members to obtain consent from a seller to hold a home off the MLS for longer than a certain period of time, such as more than 24 or 48 hours after signing a listing agreement.
Dyson said ThePLS.com’s terms and conditions state that members must comply with their local MLS rules.