Interview of Real Estate Attorney Roger Wintle on the Epidemic of Pocket Listings/Off-MLS listings and its Ramifications


We are very proud of our series on the epidemic of pocket listings/Off-MLS listings and its ramifications.  This program features Real Estate Attorney Roger D. Wintle and Jim Harrison who is the CEO of in Sunnyvale. This is program 2 of 4 on our Off-MLS/ Pocket-Listings. Kapowich on Real Estate #216  



REALTOR® Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News

Q: We were a little shocked to learn our next door neighbor of twenty years sold their home last week without signs, open houses or brokers coming and going. Days later we were stunned to learn the buyer got a sweetheart of a price.  Now it appears the same “neighborhood specialist” represented the buyer as well as the seller.  How can this possibly be acceptable behavior?


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A: Throughout the buyers market of The Great Recession, regular listing agents were on their knees begging colleagues to show and sell their listings.  As soon as the flood of listings receded into the current Sellers market, many of these same listing agents claimed it was in their seller’s best interest to forego promoting their client’s properties with thousands of fellow REALTORS® through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), or the sea of buyers aboard dozens of websites on the World Wide Web. Instead, as the hired helmsmen, they stow away their clients’ properties in dry dock as they pilot the sales themselves or in-office. These sellers, and by default their neighboring property owners, have unknowingly lost untold oceans of wealth through no fault of their own. The captains they entrusted to navigate the tricky waters of home selling seemingly had foggy moral compasses.

Once any salesperson thinks about his or her own pocketbook instead of their customer’s, they have crossed the ethical line in the sand.

In Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley technology, the local Multiple Listing Service has been painstakingly dredging up the statical rising waves of listings that were withheld from the 15,000 members of the MLS. In 2012 there were 2,700 off-MLS residential transactions that had a median selling price of $64,000 lower than MLS sales.  In 2013, the off-MLS wave grew to a chart topping 3,600 which accounted for a $105,000 lower median selling price compared to MLS sales.

It’s rogue listing agents, not rogue waves, that cause these massive losses. Real estate attorneys have always had cases of sellers selling low and “in-house” but now the “harbor police”  are keeping an eye on this issue as well. Like a tsunamis, indiscernible on the surface, once the massive wave of litigation strikes, it will be “all hands on deck” to defend listing agents selling off-MLS while practicing dual-agency because their navigation on the surface is usually ~ indefensible.



Realtor Pat Kapowich, owns Kapowich Real Estate and instructs quarterly real estate Saturday forums at De Anza College.  Contact him at (408) 245-7700 or via

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What some Sellers are Missing!

MLSListings is where real estate property listings originate, as the authorized trading platform for real estate professionals. Our customers are REALTORS®, brokers and agents throughout northern California. We specialize in the counties of Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Approximately 16,000 real estate professionals in over 6,000 firms representing 28,000 square miles conduct business utilizing our MLS platform. Because their listings originate with us, our real estate data is the most up-to-date, refreshes every five minutes, and is the most accurate information available to buyers, sellers and those seeking real estate information. What is an MLS?

An MLS is a complex database of listings entered directly by real estate professionals and acts as a trading platform to buy and sell real estate properties. When a property is on the market for sale it is added to the database and tracked through the sales transaction cycle - for example, when an offer is accepted by the seller and the property closes escrow, this is known as a ‘status change’ All this information provides a real-time database for real estate professionals to know precisely when a property is available for sale at any given moment and precisely when a property sells and for what price. Interestingly, the MLS is the very source that provides the listing feeds to sites like Zillow, Trulia, and so they have accurate real estate listings. Why does this information matter to me?

The best possible way for you to find and purchase the property that you are searching for is with access to the latest and most accurate information available. is updated every five minutes. This ensures that you always have the most up-to-date information to assist with your search for your new home. Additionally, you can connect on our ‘Meeting Place’ with our real estate professionals who can answer your time-sensitive questions regarding your real estate ssearches and transactions.


Pat Kapowich, REALTOR®

Kapowich Real Estate, Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager

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Contact Pat Kapowich, The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors President's Choice Award Winner for 2013 at (408) 245-7700 and/or