Gullicksen Doesn’t See Benefit to ‘Pocket Listing’ for Middle Class

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Soaring Bay Area home prices have led some sellers to go at it alone, but real estate agent Tim Gullicksen thinks using a realtor offers more.

The past few years have seen inventory tighten as prices soar in San Francisco. The resulting competition has created, among other things, a brisk new marketplace for off-market listings. Properties sold off-market (aka “pocket listings”) were once confined to the rich and famous: folks who preferred not having a “For Sale” sign on their homes or public open houses. There are many reasons why a high profile seller might want to sell their home discreetly, but Bay Area real estate agent Tim Gullicksen asserts that regular folks do not benefit from this trend.

Sites such as Top Agent Network promise great results for sellers because only the top 10 percent of agents (by sales volume) are allowed into the network. Setting aside the concerns Gullicksen has about the unfairness of excluding 90 percent of licensed agents, he questions whether this exclusivity really benefits sellers.

“I understand the convenience of listing agents selling property off-market,” he said. “They don't have to hold open houses or brokers tours. Their sellers, perhaps, can be sold on the cost savings of not staging, painting and otherwise preparing their homes for sale. But the convenience and cost savings will cost them plenty in the sale of their homes.”

Gullicksen says that without exposure to the broader marketplace, a home will sell for less, period.

“Maximum exposure to potential buyers equals maximum competition,” he said. “That's the best way to get the highest price the market will support. Taking shortcuts for a huge asset such as your home strikes me as pennywise and pound foolish - on steroids.”

There are no statistics on off-market homes vs. MLS-listed homes, but there is information about for sale by owner properties vs. realtor represented properties. Statistics show that selling a home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as make some money. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was 16 percent less than the average price for a home represented by an agent.

Why to Sell With a Realtor

Choosing to sell with a professional makes sense for a variety of reasons:

  • A realtor has access to market data about recent sales and other homes on the market that can be used to price a home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced right when they’re first listed sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that linger on the market.
  • A realtor can show a home when the owner isn’t available, can respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents, and can get valuable feedback from visitors – all things that save time.
  • A realtor can look at a home objectively and suggest ways to improve its appearance – by staging and minor repairs – so it appeals to more buyers.
  • Buyers typically prefer to look at a home without the seller present so they can feel more comfortable exploring the rooms and visualizing themselves in the property. At an FSBO sale, the seller must be present.
  • A realtor can screen visitors to a home, which provides a measure of safety that FSBO sellers don’t have. In addition, by checking to see if the buyers are legitimate and can afford to purchase the home, a realtor can help sellers avoid wasting time showing a home to unrealistic buyers.
  • Realtors have marketing expertise, contacts with other realtors who work with buyers, and the support of a brokerage that can market a home more widely than an individual.
  • A realtor can help negotiate a sale that not only sees an appropriate price for a home, but one that meets any need for a settlement date and perhaps even includes a period where the seller can rent back the home from the buyer. In addition, a realtor can make sure the contract is in compliance with all local regulations.

About the company:
Tim Gullicksen has been a top-producing real estate agent since he first entered into the business and takes great pride in managing every aspect of each transaction. After graduating from high school in the South Bay, Tim earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of California-Berkeley. He went on to earn his teaching credentials from JFK University in Orinda and taught kindergarten in the San Jose Unified School District. He brings an educational approach to real estate developed from that background and sees himself as a facilitator of property transactions. For more information, visit his website at

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