Apparently if you really want to be in with the real estate in-crowd, the trick is to get ahead of the game – the game, in this case, being that pesky MLS system. In Friday's Trib, Mary Umberger talked with David Faudman, the San Francisco-based founder of the new Top Agent Network. The website offers "elite" agents (only the top ten percent in an area are eligible for membership) a chance to post and peruse listings before they're included in the MLS or listings that aren't included in the MLS at all.
Known as "pocket listing," this method has long been controversial as avid MLS users see them as a way to undermine the system and others see them as a way for agents to hike up their commission by taking part in both the buying and selling ends of a deal. Faudman's site aims to give these under-the-tableish transactions a more structured platform. He has about 30 chapters across the country so far. Chicago's page currently lists 12 members.