Boston Condos for Sale Pocket Listing

What is a  Boston condo pocket listing? When the time comes to sell your Beacon Hill condo for sale, most people contact a Beacon Hill real estate broker and get their place listed online on sites like which will hopefully bring droves of interested buyers to their door. Yet there is another way, and it’s called a pocket listing. So what is this type of listing, anyway?

What is a pocket listing?

This is a property that is technically for sale, but agents won’t find it listed on the multiple listing service, the database they use to peruse local options for clients. Likewise, home buyers won’t find pocket listings online or by a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, either. Instead, the real estate agent who’s been hired for a pocket listing keeps it in his metaphorical pocket (along with photos possibly) and shares it only with a smattering of agents he knows and trusts can turn him on to the right clientele.

Pocket listings constitute only a slim percentage of total listings, by most estimates under 10% of the national total. Why would anyone choose this approach? Here’s why:

What are the benefits of a pocket listing?

Certain Beacon Hill condo owners prefer selling their home as a pocket listing for a variety of reasons:

  • To maintain privacy: First and foremost, Some people don’t want the general public to know they’re selling, or don’t want to have pictures of the insides of their homes all over the internet. These sellers also get to sidestep having a bunch of random looky-loos going through their home 
  • To test the market: You can get an idea of what interested buyers are willing to pay for your home before you make the listing public on the MLS. That way, you may be less likely to have to reduce the price if and when you finally do post your property on the MLS (more on why that’s bad next).
  • To spend less time on the MLS: People start to wonder what’s wrong with a property if it’s been on the MLS for weeks and hasn’t sold. Listing a property privately is an attractive option to avoid the gaze of the public eye and to protect the property from the stigma that can develop if it remains on MLS longer than the market average.
  • To give them the push they need to sell: Some people don’t want to list their homes, but would consider selling if they could fetch a certain price. A pocket listing would give a Realtor the leeway to find a motivated buyer who is looking for that exact type of property. In essence it could be a very easy transaction without any marketing expense or the hassle of showings.
  • For a reduced commission: Most Realtors charge a flat 6% of the home’s sale price for commission, but a shrewd negotiator could knock that down a point or two because the Realtor doesn’t have to invest a ton of money or time marketing the property.

The downsides of pocket listings

While pocket listings have privacy going for them, this secrecy does come with some obvious drawbacks:

  • Limited exposure: A property listed on the MLS has the potential to be seen by millions of people, which means odds are good you’ll find a buyer fast.
  • Lack of walk-in traffic: Sure, many people shop homes online, but it’s also common for people to cruise neighborhoods they like to see if any “For Sale” signs are up. Also, neighbors might be looking for a nearby home for friends and family.
  • A lower price: You’ll never know what price the market will bear if you never actually put your home on the market. Less interested home seekers means fewer, and possibly lower, bids.

Due to these downsides, most real estate experts agree that the majority of home sellers are best served listing their home the traditional way on the MLS.


Still, though, home sellers should know that pocket listings aren’t just for the rich and famous, but have benefits for regular home seller, too. So be sure to weigh the pros and cons of both approaches before you start spreading the word.

My Beacon Hill Pocket Listing – Penthouse condo for sale


Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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