Pocket Listings in Seattle?

I was a meeting this weekend with an agent in Southern California where he showed me a website he says he visits a couple times a week.   A competitor had built up a large repository of “pocket listings” for the Beverly Hills area and then stuck them behind a registration wall… of which he visited regularly.

Being a Rain City Guide kinda guy, I’m not keen to put things behind registration, but I am fascinated by the idea of putting together a page of pocket listings as a resource for Seattle area agents and consumers.  If you’re an agent who serves any area supported by the NWMLS and you’d like to advertise a pocket listing on RCG, let me know in the comment below.

If I get 5 or more pocket listings in the comment section of this post in the near future, then I’ll assume there really is demand for such a tool in the Seattle area and I’ll start up a new page (right between “About RCG” and “Seattle Agent Recommendations”) for pocket listings.

Here’s the only information I need from you:

  • Neighborhood
  • One to two sentence description of the listing
  • Contact information (name & phone)

For obvious reasons, I’m assuming that most agents won’t want to list the address of the pocket listing, but if you want to include that information as well, all the better.  And just to be clear, this is a free service of RCG.   Assuming it becomes a lot of work, I may charge a nominal fee to cover my time and/or automate the system, but I honestly don’t see that happening in the near future.

Are there rules for getting your pocket listing on RCG? Most definitely!   But I don’t even know what they are yet.   However, I will definitely figure out some rules if people start abusing the system.    Some potential rules that come to mind: (1)  Only allow agents to list their top 3 pocket listings, (2) must let me know if a pocket listing gets listed on the MLS and/or (3) must let me know if a pocket listing is no longer available. But even those rules aren’t hard-and-fast yet until I get some feedback from the community.

So, if you are an agent intersted in getting some additional exposure for your pocket listings, let me know!

Redfin vs. Establishment

Redfin creates Red Faces

With Redfin I think they create red faces in the market, mostly from competitors, not their very own clients. With all the debating taking place (see last few comments) about variations of service levels and discussion about saving $20,000 in commissions but losing $100,000 in price for an agent’s (implying Redfin or similar models) lack of negotiation skill —an argument I disagree with—maybe the only way for consumers to feel like they are being well served is to set their own benchmarks for the people they entrust to help sell and buy homes. Realtors have exceptional value, but as an industry have allowed foolish internal cultural policy to dim the light. Instead of setting benchmarks for delivery of value that consumers get, industry insiders have to spend copious amounts of time trying to tell each other why a model will fail. If you want meaningful debate, invite consumers on a panel telling why one model worked for them vs. another. APB to Brad Inman…. try that.

No industry benchmarks

The real issue, in my opinion, is that consumers are given no tangible and bonafide benchmarks for placing value received for commission they pay. Why should consumers pay an identical commission like the “negotiable

For Mother

[photopress:for_mother.JPG,thumb,alignright]I found this photo on my desktop titled “For Mother”. Isn’t it amazing what kids can do with their cell phones.

Anyway, I really shouldn’t tell this story, but it’s going to fade away if I don’t. I met this young fella at an Open House. He was just the cutest thing and he was all excited about buying his first place. He was asking me if he could make a cutout in this wall between the kitchen and the dining area. Then he wanted to know if he could move the washer and dryer from in the kithen out to near the front door away from the bedrooms. The next day I called him and told him I found a place like the one he was trying to “make” out of the one where I met him. He came over and bought it.

It was dirt cheap. $130,000 for a two bedroom (two years ago in May) and it had a jacuzzi! A huge “yard” open space, fabulous upgrades and it had been on the market for awhile. Crazy. None of the mls photos had any of the upgrades. No real sign on the property. It was just sitting there waiting for someone to steal it. We were so happy.

Then he looked sad, and when I asked him why, he said his Mom in Eastern Washington was very ill, cancer, and she couldn’t come and see his first home. I went over to the property and took photos of all the things the listing agent didn’t. All the upgrades. I made a book that I bound with my GBC of 8X10 color glossies titled “Xs First House”. I went around the complex and took pictures of every different variety of Rhodie in bloom. I made a “frame” with all the Rhodie pictures in pink and red and purple flowers. I gave him two copies of “the book”, one for him and one for his Mom.

His Mom passed away before we closed and he couldn’t express how happy she was to “see his first home” with him before she passed. He brought the book to the hospital and they “walked through the condo” together in book form.

Recently I sold that same condo. He had a net return of $50,000 in two years. Now most people look at the King County appreciation rates at whatever…12%, 20%, whatever per year. The reality is this. He only spent $4,500 out of pocket. He had no downpayment and I wrote most of the closing costs into the offer.

So what is the return on $4,500 that turns into $50,000 in two years? Did his neighbors see that kind of return? No. Why. Why were we so darned lucky on both ends of this transaction? It just had to have something to do with his Mother, don’t you think? It’s just amazing that someone can turn $4,500 into $50,000 after all costs, both the costs of purchase and the costs of sale. And I adore him and he trusts me implicitly and that is really what “selling” real estate is all about. Helping someone else’s kid. Just like someone helps my kid when I’m not around. Everyone is someone’s kid to me…but I really shouldn’t have voted for George for Barbara’s sake 🙂