There are a lot of estates and luxury homes in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills that are made available by the seller without ever going on the MLS. The definition of "off market" means selling a home off the MLS. Since the MLS is considered "the market" and a very public place to promote a property, many sellers of luxury homes and estates decide for privacy purposes to sell "off market".
Placing a home for sale off market in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills means that the listing agent will make an active effort to promote the property in every means possible with two exceptions - no print ads and no placement on the MLS. Everything else is the same as any other property - professional photos, staging, virtual tours, and more. The details of the homes will be marketed to every agent in the area in an active effort to get a buyer. That's the important difference, making an active effort to find a buyer.
The term "pocket listing" is generally regarded as being much less active and may be perfect for a seller for is just waiting to see if a buyer is interested. The listing agent, if an active listing agreement is in place, will mentioned the property to a few agents but otherwise it's kept relatively quiet until a buyer makes their interest known. What typically happens is that a buyer (or an agent with a buyer) will talk about an estate or luxury home in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills they're looking for but unable to find. The agent with the "pocket listing" will pick up on this and mention the available property. There is seldom anything more than the tax records and perhaps a photo or two but nothing else. If the buyer is interested in the basic parameters of the property then a showing is scheduled. If the home is a major estate, particularly those in Los Altos Hills, the potential buyer may need to sign a non-disclosure agreement indicating that all discussions of a sale are to be kept secret.
When negotiating the sale of a luxury home or estate in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills that is for sale off market, the question of price is always brought up early in the discussions. The off market listing will often have a price already set but not mentioned specifically in the marketing materials. They usually say "Price upon request". The pocket listing may not have that figure in mind and will want the buyer to make an offer. When determining the price of an off market property, the comparable sales used to determine that price should include both on market (via the MLS) and off market sales. An experienced real estate broker can combine the two figures to arrive at a price.
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Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: email@example.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022