Agency broker wants to create an MLS for pocket listings

Dyson partnered with Mauricio Umansky and Million Dollar Listings’ James Harris and David Parnes

Aug.August 09, 2017 09:00 AM
From left: Mauricio Umansky, James Harris, David Parnes and Christopher Dyson

Quiet, off-market deals are the lifeblood of some of L.A.’s most high-end boutique brokerages, but one Beverly Hills agent wants to crank up the volume.

Christopher Dyson of the Agency has partnered with the the firm’s CEO Mauricio Umansky and “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” stars James Harris and David Parnes to launch a new online platform dubbed “The Pocket Listing Service,” or, which will allow brokers to share and search nationally for off-market properties.

The site aims to cut down on the legwork required to market a whisper listing, which is typically shared between agents by word-of-mouth or through email blasts to a handful of brokers.

Dyson said more than 400 agents have registered for the service, which launched on Monday. Properties listed on the site so far range in price from $600,000 to $12.5 million. The site is not open to the public.

“[] is really taking the pocket listing landscape and making it more efficient,” Dyson told The Real Deal. “I would receive 10 or 15 emails a day of pocket listings. If I didn’t have a client for it right then, it’d get lost in a wave of emails.”

Whisper listings play a big role in L.A.’s real estate market, as well as in other major cities. They’re particularly common when the client is a celebrity who wants to stay discrete or if a property is particularly expensive or in distress.

Companies such as Top Agent Network, offMLS and Zenlist have already tried to create similar marketplaces but so far, they’ve been unable to grow their businesses beyond a handful of markets.

“I don’t think anything has had a lot of traction,” said Judd Schoenholtz, co-founder and CEO of Open Listings. “There’s an oxymoron – a public platform for pocket listings.”

Dyson said the PLS has an edge over its competition because the site is only available to brokers. Agents must register with a valid license number. After creating a profile, the broker can upload details of their off-market listing and provide as much information as they like, from full listing details to simply an address.

A one-year membership is free for agents who join before September 30, though a membership charge will eventually be introduced.

Dyson said the site also offers an opportunity to test a property’s asking price without accruing “days on the market,” which he described as “every listing agent’s nightmare.”

“If we’re getting feedback from agents that think the price is too high, we can list it to the MLS as a conventional listing using that feedback,” he said.

Mike Shapiro, CEO of HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty, said he isn’t convinced that the listings will be easily vetted.

“There’s no way to know what is real or not,” Shapiro said. “Pockets are done in a close-knit kind of way that ensures others with absolute confidence that there’s someone legit on the other end. This is nothing but a shadow MLS.”

Related Articles

Jamie Waryck (Credit: iStock)

Agency broker starts petition to overturn pocket listings ban

Anna and David Solomon with the Douglas Elliman's Beverly Hills offices at 150 El Camino Drive (Credit: Solomon Property Group, Google Maps)

Oh, mother: David Solomon leaves Agency for Elliman

Heather Sinclair and Lisa Hatem are first hires in Agency’s Aspen bureau

The Agency expands into Aspen

Anastasia Soare and the mansion (Credit: Getty Images and Realtor)

Billionaire “Eyebrow Queen” pays $20M for “development opportunity”

Sean Landon and Brendan Fitzpatrick

The Agency loses another two brokers to Douglas Elliman

Mauricio Umansky (Credit: Getty Images)

5 things we learned from Reddit’s obsession with Mauricio Umansky

Malibu Real Estate Investments principals Bedros Oruncakiel and Kirkor Suri

Malibu spec mansion lists amid softening luxury market

Joon Choi, principal at Harbor Associates, and 2400 Conejo Spectrum Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Harbor Associates leases up then sells off its Thousand Oaks office park