The hunt for a dream home can involve drastic measures. Rather than go to multi-listing services like Zillow or similar sites that aggregate data from publicly listed properties, some believe that whisper listings are a better option, mainly if they are buying or selling a rare, unusual or luxury property. Still, the concept also holds when a realtor says something like, “I have a new property that hasn’t hit the market.” Fresh properties can move quickly, with the motivated buyer striking a deal before competitors have seen the property or got financing.
There is nothing new about whisper listings, but everyone does not embrace them. For example, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) created the Clear Cooperation Policy, which requires the listing broker working with multiple platforms to submit the listing within one business day. Public listing can be as old school as a paper flyer or sign, or a modern-day online listing or email. NAR may require this unless the seller stipulates that they do not want the property publicly listed.
A healthy bidding war created by a public listing can benefit the seller and their time, but there are pros to whisper listings:
- The seller may like the idea of hand-picking who they pass the property.
- The seller may be a celebrity or want to avoid making their space open to the public, who may be more curious than motivated.
- The seller wants to avoid the stress, expense, and time of staging their home.
- The buyer likely faces less competition.
- The buyer has access to what they perceive as a special or desirable property.
- If the home never officially hits the market, the listing agent may represent both the seller and the buyer, broker a deal and keep the entire commission.
Attorneys more important than ever
The thrill of the real estate hunt can be exhilarating as well as rewarding, but buyers and sellers still need to be thorough. The terms of the unusual transaction need to make sense and adhere to all applicable rules and regulations surrounding the building, the City and business organizations. Working with an attorney can help minimize the risk of violations or an unfair deal.