Sellers opting for private listings

Real Estate

As the novel coronavirus continues its deadly spread, some sellers are understandably skittish about letting a parade of potential buyers traipse through their homes day after day. That’s leading some sellers to consider a more discreet sales strategy usually reserved for public figures or the very wealthy: the private listing.

As the name implies, private listings are just that — private, said Brian Dougherty, managing director of Compass in Boston. Agents don’t have to put the property on the Multiple Listing Service, “where it gets exposed to the entire brokerage community and general public,’’ Dougherty said. Many MLS chapters, Dougherty explained, including MLS PIN in the Boston area, have arrangements where they syndicate the listing information and property photos to dozens, even hundreds, of partner sites, such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Realtor.com.

That broad reach is typically a good thing for both buyers and sellers; the more people who see a home, the more interest and offers it may receive. That helps ensure a level playing field for buyers and the highest market price for sellers. “A seller is usually best served by taking advantage of the incredible exposure that MLS provides,’’ Dougherty said.

However, some clients — particularly at the higher end of the housing market — simply don’t want it known that they’re selling, Dougherty said. “They may not want the entire brokerage community and the public and press to see photos of their home, their art collection, their children’s bedrooms,’’ he said.

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