pocketlist Photos: PocketList

A new app called PocketList that connects buyers with pre-market and privately listed homes has just launched in the Bay Area. Why? Because nearly 25 percent of all San Francisco home sales — worth about $2 billion — were private in 2014, according to a study based on data from the City Assessor’s Office. PocketList’s angle is exclusivity from the public’s prying eyes, and the houses listed are some of the most lavish in the city.

How it works

After downloading the app, you’re asked to create a login and become verified. If your finances pass the verification process, then you’ll be connected with an agent who will privately message you through a “Conversations” feature. There you can chat with your agent and ask questions about specific properties while home browsing. Some property listings are so new that only a single photo or rendering is available, while others you can swipe through room-by-furnished-room.

While the process of buying a multi-million dollar home isn’t streamlined to the degree of purchasing directly through the app, you can schedule viewings through the in-app messaging feature.

CEO of PocketList, Tom MacLeod, was nice enough to answer BuzzBuzzHome’s questions about the company’s inner workings.

How was the idea of PocketList conceived?

Tom MacLeod: Scott Braunstein and I both had the experience of looking for housing in the Bay Area and we worked with agents who were able to connect us to pre-market and privately marketed listings. We saw a tremendous value in seeing future inventory of homes for sale and decided to build a business around it.

What is the threshold of funds for an applicant to become approved?

TM: So long as our applicant is approved (or working through approval) and willing to work with our partner agent, they’ll gain access to listings that meet their search criteria.

How are you targeting your marketing strategy for this new app, especially in a city filled with new apps?

TM: We’ve found that the majority of our users are serious about buying a home within the next three to five months. We feel we are unlike other apps in that our users are extremely purposeful.

What is the demographic of users of PocketList? Out of state? Age range? Single/married?

TM: All over the place, but many who are taking it upon themselves to find a property (versus relying on an agent). We offer to connect 100 percent of our users to a local, specialized, top agent in the community to complement their search. So it’s important to note that you must work with an agent to access our channel of properties.

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