Newest Status Symbol: “Our House Sold Before Going on the Market”. Hip Pocket Sales and Why Brokers Love Them

Published September 18, 2012 by Candy Evans

I call it the Hip Pocket Revolution, and it’s been going on since the market picked up this January. Steve Brown jumped in on something that is growing like hotcakes in Dallas real estate: the Hip Pocket sale. These are off-market deals, says Steve, but I prefer to call them deals where no listing agreement has been signed. The agent carries the property in their “hip pocket” to sell. (Not literally, of course.) Hip Pocket sales are all over Park Cities and Preston Hollow, and growing out in Lakewood and Westlake.

 The number of such off-market home deals has ballooned as the number of properties available (for sale) has declined in Dallas-area neighborhoods. The trend is especially gaining steam in affluent neighborhoods in North Dallas, Highland Park and Lakewood.

“With the shortage of inventory — especially in the Park Cities — more hip-pockets are selling,” said Amy Detwiler, an agent with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “A lot of people prefer private sales because they don’t want to put their house on the open market.

Detwiler estimates that 30 percent of the sales in her office at Briggs Freeman Sothebys are hip-pocket transactions. Sellers vastly prefer these fast and dirty sales to open houses and maintaining a picture perfect home for showings. This also keeps images of the inside of their homes from being plastered all over the Internet,

Essentially, the buyers and their agents keep the listing a secret.

The proliferation of Hip Pocket sales is really good for Realtors, because they are back cutting deals again and doing what they do best: network. Also, it’s good for the brokers, especially if they can get both sides of the sale in the same firm. Yippee to that one!

But here’s what else I’m wondering: Z sales are going away October 15. After that, everyone is going to be required to record what a home sold for. My life is going to get a whole lot easier! Is this hip pocket revolution a backlash to revealing sales prices? And how are we ever going to capture these numbers for sales comps, which is the reason why we are eliminating Z sales, if everyone’s selling out of the MLS?

Like Karen Luter, who is marketing away at the Mary Kay house, said: a hip pocket has to be a Best of Show type home. Like fabulous. That’s what happened to my friend Faye Safavi, who sold her home at 3632 Stratford. She was TALKING about selling it in early spring, by May someone approached her before the $2 to $3 million dollar home ever hit MLS. Though Tim Headington’s $14 million dollar 21st floor at the Residences at the Ritz Carlton (pictured here) started as a hip pocket for Eloy Carmenate, it’s now listed with Pogir at Briggs Freeman Sothebys and still waiting for a buyer, though I hear someone may be circling.

— Daily Local Real Estate Dish By Dallas Real Estate Insider — Candy Evans at