Traditionally, real estate listings are immediately placed in the multiple listing service (MLS) with photos, a description of the property, HOA fees, floor plans, pricing and other items that are relevant to a possible buyer. This allows the listing to be shared with the broadest possible audience of buyers, and buyer agents.
Recently, and especially over the last year with the COVID pandemic, off market and private listings have become much more prevalent. For obvious reasons, sellers didn’t want strangers coming into their homes. Instead, the property is quietly marketed through the listing agent’s network of fellow agents, client list, and sphere of influence. An experienced agent may belong to professional networking group(s).
Besides the changes made due to COVID, the ultra-luxury market is rife with “whisper” listings. Buyers in this category want what others can’t have. It’s exclusive and confidential and they want what their friends can’t get. For the seller, it provides privacy. They don’t want their homes published in MLS, and then propagated to Zillow and countless other public websites.
Case in point, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s Brookline compound recently traded in an exclusive off market transaction (the sale price was kept private, but many speculate it was over $30M). The property had previously been listed on MLS with another agent for several months without finding a buyer. The power couple hired a new broker who deployed the “off market” strategy to selling their house.
My past four sales have all been private deals, priced from $705,000 to $8,450,000. I’ll be curious to see if this trend continues as we start to get more vaccines rolled out and life returns to something more normal for all of us.