Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Is listing your home as a "Private Exclusive" the smart way to go?

When you list your home with an agent who markets it effectively, information and photos will be all over the Internet, along with the address and a lot of other information about your home.  And there will be people coming through, either by appointment with their buyer broker or at Open Houses. 

It doesn't have to be this way, but is the alternative in your best interests?

Often, especially for people in upper-brackets homes, a broker will offer to list the property as a "Private Exclusive".  And sometimes this approach makes sense.  In most cases, the result would be that either the listing agent or someone in his company would sell the property.  This is because it will not be placed on the multiple listing service, and agents outside of the listing company are unlikely to know that your property is even for sale.

So who is a good candidate for this approach?

  • If you are a famous American with privacy concerns, selling your home as a private exclusive will cut way down on the number of people who will be traipsing through your home.  
  • If you have a family member who is very ill and at home, there will be fewer showings to inconvenience the patient and the caregivers.

If the company listing your home specializes in your type of property, they could sell it reasonably quickly and perhaps even for close to its market value.  And experienced buyer brokers know which companies keep a lot of certain types of listings in their pockets, and they will call their friends at that company for information.  They also know that there will likely be little or no competition from other buyers, because relatively few people will know this type of listing is for sale - and this often translates into a lower price for the buyer.

But if you are a seller without very special needs, you are better off having your home listed on your local multiple listing service with an agent who will aggressively market the property. 

Bottom line: if you want a quite transaction, it could very will make sense for you in certain situations.  But it will almost certainly result in a lower selling price and a longer time on the market.


 If you are planning a move to or from the Washington, DC area, I can help!  I am licensed in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  Email me at, or call 202-549-5167


Comment balloon 13 commentsPatricia Kennedy • November 26 2012 06:54PM


Pat, We have no such thing as Private Exclusive status. I can see that it could hinder getting the word out and make it harder to sell.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) almost 8 years ago

Yea, I could only see this type of listing for the very exclusive..if yoiu don't need it to be that way, then you are probably shooting yourself in the foot market wise.  

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) almost 8 years ago

Patricia,  If privacy concerns are more important than money, this is a viable option.  Otherwise and especially when prices are getting bid up over asking prices, it's a mistake, in my opinion. Our MLS requires a disclosure that informs the seller that they will not get market value without exposure in the MLS.  But, as you point out,  privacy may be more important than money to some homeowners.



Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) almost 8 years ago

Debbie, in some places they are called "pocket listings".  In most jurisdictions they are sort of frowned on.

Brenda, there are not many times I would suggest this arrangement.

And Lloyd, in this city, there are a lot of people who want to have prospective buyers carefully screened by the listing agent before they will allow them in the door.  I think that may be taking it a little far, but in some cases, I do understand it. 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

exclusive listings dont go over well in my market.  I tried to show one to an interested buyer and the seller would not allow me to show it even with listing agent present that is really exclusive leaving me wondering why there was a sign in the yard...

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Bono Realty) almost 8 years ago

I have done some inspections on houses that fit this category.  It is always interesting.  Once the "famous" seller watched me inspect his office.  Didn't want me in the files!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Pat, seems like there must be another way than the "Exclusive Private" or "Pocket Listings".  I'll bet not all viable buyers would know who to go see to unearth these exclusive treasures and there are probably a lot of buyers who wouldn't even bother to put forth the energy to see the house.

Posted by Mona Gersky, GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate. (MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Pat.  I can see how something like this might be an option for some in your market area.   Mine, not so much.   

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) almost 8 years ago


We see this quite often with our clients.  The sellers may not be known as famous in the public eye, but often are "captains of industry".  The contents of their homes are often very valuable, and some of them are very concerned for their children's safety.  We have a friend who is a "character" actor, ie he works a lot, but people don't know him by name.  When he was selling his home, he did not want it on the MLS (definitely not a showy home), because he did not want people to know where he lived no where his children's bedrooms were.  Savvy agents in this arena have networked among themselves and many of them have buyers perfect for these homes.  They understand.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) almost 8 years ago

PAT unless it is a star or other vip type opf person, i dont think holding a listing internally really helps the client. We have upscale homes where showings are restrcited as well as what goe sinto mls for info and pictures.

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) almost 8 years ago

I remember when the wrestler Hulk Hogan put his home on the market, it was in the MLS and I had several former clients who had NO interest in purchasing call to ask if I would take them through the home. My response was that you had to be prequalified to purchase in order to see it. That wasn't the case, but I wasn't about to be a tour guide.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

Yikes!  I just responded to all of the recent comments and then lost my Internet connection.  Yikes again!


Marilyn, these sellers don't sound real motivated - which may be why they are going the private exclusive route.

Jay, you might have found termites it you'd snooped through his paperwork!

Mona, while buyers might not know how to find them, good buyer brokers have to.

Cal, you must live in an area with informed sellers!

Ron and Alexandra, in DC, they are more likely to be politicians who've just lost their congressional seat!  We don't get too many actors.  Just characters.

Scott, I can think of one couple with a great house who'd want to go private exclusive, and it wouldn't make any difference.  People love them and they have a great house, and the Washington Post would pick up on it immediately if they wanted to sell. 

Barbara Jo, well Hulk Hogan!  How cool is that!  But you're right.  We are not tour guides.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 8 years ago

Pat  - I have a current listing who wanted their property to be quiet... very hard to market a home that way, and after much discussion it has entered the real estate market.. I have secured it in 2 magazines already and it  is gracing the front of our brochure also... If you want  higher price.. then you must advertise - vigorously..


Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) almost 8 years ago