Psst...what’s an exclusive listing?

Psst...what’s an exclusive listing?
  • An exclusive listing is one that isn’t on the MLS, and the listing agent is the only one who can bring in buyers

  • The downside: the property doesn’t get a lot of exposure, so it may sell for less than on an open market

  • The upside: privacy for sellers, testing out how it might do on an open market, generating buzz before putting it on MLS

  • Benefit for buyers: less competition, but you have to know how to find these listings. Registered condos.ca users have access to all our exclusive listings


Did you know there are real estate listings that don’t appear on the MLS? It’s true. Exclusive listings (also called pocket listings) are properties that won’t come up if you search for them on MLS or realtor.com. They are for sale, but only clients of the listing agent or brokerage have access to them. Exclusive listings aren’t very common, but they do come up every once in a while. Here’s what you need to know:

What is an exclusive listing?

It’s an arrangement where a specific agent is the only one who can bring potential buyers to see a property. Agents from other brokerages don’t have access. The practice has very definite pros and cons: the biggest downside for sellers is that it limits exposure, and potentially, selling price. But it does have some benefits.

Exclusive listings on condos.ca

If you’re registered on condos.ca, you can see all our exclusive listings...it’s a unique opportunity to access properties others don’t know about!

Why would a seller choose to limit exposure (and potentially, profit)?

Some agents use it to do a test-run on price. If sellers are hoping to get more than current market value, an exclusive listing is a good way to gauge interest before listing on MLS. You don’t want to do this kind of test on the MLS: pricing too high and then discounting impacts perceived value and is likely to backfire.

  • It’s more private. Famous and high net worth clients don’t want just anyone to have access to their home. (You probably won’t find Drake’s place listed on the open market.) An agent with a good network of luxury clients can find a buyer discreetly, without multiple showings and curious people wandering through. Any seller who values privacy can benefit from this approach: if a couple is getting divorced, or their financial circumstances have changed, for example, they may not want to announce it to the world by putting their home on MLS.

  • It’s part of a “pre-marketing” strategy. Having an exclusive listing lets agents put up those “coming soon” signs that build anticipation. If a place isn’t quite ready for showings yet (perhaps it’s being renovated, or the sellers are traveling), it’s a good way to “get it out there” and generate some buzz. You can’t do that on MLS: if a property is listed there, it has to be available for showings.

  • It cuts down the number of people coming through the home. While having fewer people decreases market exposure, it also means the sellers are being exposed to fewer people – a significant concern during COVID. In a hot market, a well-connected agent can find a buyer without the hassle (and risk) of constant showings: for some sellers, that’s worth the tradeoff of not getting the highest possible price.

Generally, it’s better for sellers to list on the open market, but there are exceptions. Your agent can help you understand if it’s the right move. Thinking of selling your home? Talk to a condos.ca agent about the best selling strategy for you.

Is there a benefit for buyers?

Less competition is definitely an advantage: it means there’s a greater chance of their offer being accepted. The downside, of course, is that you have to know how to find those exclusive listings. That’s where condos.ca makes things a little easier: we usually post our agents’ exclusive listings on the site – anyone who has registered as a user can access them, and they’ll come up in your search just like an MLS listing. Or you can talk to a condos.ca agent...they have access to all the company’s exclusive listings.

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