I recently came across an article about the new real estate listing website TheUnlisted.com. But before you get excited, it’s only open to a limited number of agents and is only in one city, Dallas.
Doesn’t sound like much of a listing website, does it? But the three Dallas real estate agents (whose bio pics are as slick as they website they founded, I might add) have good reason, according to them. The real estate market in Dallas, as in other major metropoles like Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago, where they hope to launch in the near future, is in extreme short supply of homes for sale. Even worse, homes that are for sale end up selling before they get listed publicly.
Since about 30 percent of residential real estate transactions happen outside the MLS in Dallas, the entrepreneurs devised a way for agents representing these home sellers to connect more efficiently with other agents in the network. Each agent is vetted by TheUnlisted.com and are what they call “high performing”, so they guarantee only a trusted group of agents.
Right now, 300 Dallas agents have subscribed (there’s a 90-day trial available) with a few dozen homes listed. With a limited offering of subscriptions being given, they hope to perfect the site with the agents they do have as the first-adopters, scale it properly in Dallas, then roll out the concept to Houston, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco.
So how will TheUnlisted.com actually be that much more efficient or better at marketing these pocket listings? It’s all about exclusivity, privacy, demand and networking. Clients of pocket listings still want the privacy and and exclusivity that private listings provide but agents need more demand that they just won’t get through emails, calls and word-of-mouth alone. TheUnlisted.com will provide that network of trusted agents while clients enjoy the same benefits as the old way.
But what happens when demand goes south (whenever that is)?
I asked a couple agents about this, and, while they thought it was in general a good idea, they had a few qualms:
- How will agreements between agents be monitored?
- Could the ability for selling agents to share limited information with limited people compromise transparency about the homes for sale?
- Would this also compromise the potential market of buyers available to an agent if the best buyer does not have access through an approved agent?
These are good questions, but it seems that the founders are confident in their product and that the process will be no different from agents’ current way of marketing pocket listings, namely through word of mouth, email and phone to people they know. One question I have: If only certain agents are approved, will the membership and therefore the number of exclusive listings cap out, too?
What do you think about this concept? Do you think it will work? If you were in one of the major cities where they will be launching, would you use it?