Why are Bay Area homeowners opting for private home sales?

Why are Bay Area homeowners opting for private home sales?

The Bay Area is seeing a growing trend of off-market home sales, often referred to as “Pocket Listings.”  In recent years, estimates suggest that as many as 25-35% of all Bay Area home sales were done so privately, without ever going to the public market.


Every seller has different objectives for their home sale so the folks here at PocketList made an attempt to learn more about those who’ve opted for this alternative marketplace.  We have learned that there are 5 “archetypes” of private sellers:  

  1. Strategic: This seller sees value in privately marketing their property in order to drive up demand from buyers who want to keep it from going to the public market.  If necessary, this seller is willing to take their property to the public market, but really prefers to have a focused group of motivated buyers compete for their home.
  2. Confidential: For a number of reasons (privacy, illness, public persona), this seller does not want to place signs in their yard, let the public walk through their home, or see their property listed on public websites.  The goal for this seller is finding a focused group of motivated buyers versus “maximum exposure” on the public market.
  3. Convenience: This type of seller does not want to rearrange their life to market and sell their home.  They have a price, and if you bring it to them without requiring them to stage the house or conduct public open houses, they will sell.  This seller wants maximum exposure so long as they are not inconvenienced.
  4. Test demand: When you put your home on the public market, each day that goes by is added up in the dreaded “days on market” counter.  Properties that do not sell immediately may be considered “stale,” incorrectly priced, or undesirable.   This home seller wants to test demand before – or in lieu – of going to the public market.  If they get demand at a certain price, they will sell.
  5. For Sale By Owners: Some sellers have enough experience, market knowledge, or both, to represent themselves in a home sale.  Often times, these sellers want to avoid paying agent commissions and find various channels to market their homes directly to buyers.


Obviously, many sellers crossover into multiple archetypes and ultimately believe that marketing their home privately will generate ideal results.


PocketList seeks to organize the private marketplace for homes in the Bay Area by connecting qualified buyers to privately marketed homes.  For buyers, access is everything

Tom MacLeod
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