When the real estate market is hot, meaning that houses are selling quickly, you want an agent who has information about back pocket houses, as well as, someone who knows what’s going on on the MLS. What does “back pocket” mean? This is when agents have information about properties for sale that have not hit the MLS or may never be advertised publicly.*
There are a variety of reasons that a property may be back pocket. Maybe the seller is just beginning to entertain the idea of selling, maybe the seller does not want the public or certain persons to know that their house is for sale or maybe they would like some extra assurance that the buyers that are going through are truly qualified.
This year I had a couple of excellent examples of back pocket sales.
House #1: I had sellers that approached me a couple of years ago and told me that they would be retiring outside the province in a few years. Since they had lived in their family home for 20 years, they wanted some advice on repairs/updates that they should do prior to listing. I did a couple of extensive walk-throughs and drew up some lists.
In the meantime, I had a client from out of the country who was looking to buy a house in Saskatoon. When the border was shut down in March due to the pandemic, her need to buy a house didn’t disappear. We resumed our search via Skype/Zoom/FaceTime. It soon became clear to me that everything she needed and wanted in a house could be found in the house that my other clients were looking to sell next year. I approached them with the crazy idea of selling a little bit early to take advantage of our market and the ease of not having to put their house up on the market publicly during a pandemic. Many virtual tours and inspections ensued, and we came to a deal that made everyone happy.
House #2: A neighbour of mine had approached me late last year about meeting to discuss what she would need to do to put her house on the market in the fall of 2020. Of course, at this point we had no idea what was in store for us. Come spring, I had buyers that had sold their house and quickly needed to move into a new one. My neighbourhood was their choice of location and we were having difficulties securing a deal for them. I approached my neighbour with the idea of selling and my buyers were able to make a successful offer on a great home in a fantastic neighbourhood. This was a big win for the seller as well, she didn’t even have to stage her house for sale, no cleaning up, no last-minute showings.
Agents also share pocket listings with each other. It may not be your agent on the listing but one that he or she has heard of from another active agent. Keeping your ear to the ground is key. We all work together to get each other’s properties sold!
Currently, inventory is low and there is a lot of hesitation to open homes up to the public so be sure to ask your agent if he or she knows of any back pocket listings in your desired price range and neighbourhood.
(I have an amazing executive 2-storey in Evergreen in my back pocket for qualified buyers!)
*In these situations, an agent should have an in-house contract with the seller as our regulations state that we are not to market homes without a contract.