Part two: should I sell my house off-MLS?

Yesterday we began looking at Paragon’s guide to the pros and cons of off-MLS pocket listings. Today let’s continue that discussion by looking at what technique typically achieves the highest possible sales price.

Often in today’s red-hot market, one specific buyer is willing to pay significantly more than any of the rest of the competition. The goal of comprehensive marketing, which includes placing the property in the Multiple Listing Service, is to reach that highest-paying buyer in addition to generating as much competitive bidding as possible. Failing that, the goal is to orchestrate a scene in the buyers’ mind that suggests intense competition for the property.

If you skip the comprehensive marketing part of the sales strategy, it’s far less likely that the best buyer (in this case, the highest-paying one) will know that your property is up for sale. In addition, it’s also far less likely that an intense competitive bidding situation will be orchestrated. This means that it’s highly possible that your property will sell for less money – and perhaps significantly less – than might have been possible were it on the MLS.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t necessarily find a well-paying buyer when you go off-MLS. However, there’s really no way to tell if you’re getting the best price possible or even getting current fair market value, which is especially true in a rapidly appreciating market.

According to a recent analysis of all residential property transfers reported to the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2013, about 89 percent of that year’s home sales in the city occurred through the MLS and 11 percent occurred off-MLS. That coincides with Paragon research as well. Researchers Matt Fuller and Britton Jackson of JacksonFuller, who conducted the analysis, also found that homes sold off-MLS averaged sales prices of 9 percent to 17 percent less, depending on property type, than MLS-marketed properties.

The choice is yours, of course. Call with any questions.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email