I can't be the only one who enjoys browsing online and looking at homes in my area just for fun. But have you ever thought while examining the exquisite master bathroom fixtures or furniture, that someone actually lives there right now?
When a house is entered into Maine Listings (the online system used by Maine Real Estate Agents to list properties), the photos are there forever, along with the physical address. Some people feel that this is an invasion of privacy.
Additionally, some homeowners don't want a sign put in front of their home, and don’t want the home entered into Maine Listings. In these cases, Realtors can market to other Realtors and their clients. This is called a "pocket listing."
In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, a recent homebuyer was concerned with her privacy after she was unable to get the photos of her new home removed from the internet. In an article on inman.com, Tim Harstead, a Realtor at Kale Realty Chicago stated, "It should be illegal for them to be removed, how else can we do an accurate comparative market analysis?". However, according to Inman, Steve Wynands, the co-founder of Peer Reputation, says "he’s there to promote his client’s best interest before his own, so if a request comes, he’ll accommodate it."
So if you are concerned about your privacy, don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent about a pocket listing. However, keep in mind, you will get the best price for your house when you have the greatest exposure. You have to decide if privacy is more important than getting the best price for your house. It is a hard decision indeed!