When a real estate broker takes a home listing, those listings are usually advertised for sale to other brokers and the general public through an MLS listing. When a listing is kept off the market but advertised to a select network of the broker’s associates and buyers, it is known as a pocket listing.
Legitimate pocket listings exist when a seller doesn’t want to expose their home to the broad market and requests quieter, more secretive marketing of the home. Illegitimate pocket listings occur when a broker procures a listing and markets it only to their network while ignoring requirements to post the listing to the MLS.
Generally, a home seller will receive the best market exposure by listing a home to the broadest possible audience on the MLS. A broker who intentionally holds a listing back from the MLS is compromising the seller’s ability to obtain the most offers. They are also very likely violating MLS rules.