I don't know why it took me this long to mention this, but this spring, I had a
client who thought seriously about selling his home off market. Price was important, and privacy was not a big issue. I argued that to get the best price, there's no doubt the best approach is to stage, market a home very strategically, and open it up to the broadest range of potential buyers possible. You want multiple buyers, in part to keep the prevailing buyer "in line." Off market, too often, the sole buyer thinks s/he is doing a seller a big favor, and begins asking for lots of concessions in return.
Of course I know I'm the agent and you're the principal, so I do whatever you tell me to do. In this case, the seller was convinced to list the house off-market with another brokerage in town. They opened it up unstaged, to about a half-dozen buyers working with (only) their agents. None felt the look of love, and the seller felt that none was really properly pre-selected (we agents typically will bring all financially qualified buyers to an off-market listing, in part because our buyers would want to get in when others can't (why? They are hoping for a bargain.....)). The asking price was x. No bites. Not even an offer below asking.
I got the listing a few days later, staged, cleaned up the tax record to reflect about 1000 sf of permitted additional space, did a bang-up marketing job, and put the house on the market shortly thereafter for 93% of x, hoping for x or more. The prevailing buyer closed with zero complications at 27% over x (and 40% over asking).
There were a number of extraordinarily strong offers, and the three strongest were from agents who don't traditionally work in Piedmont--two from Berkeley and one from San Francisco. (You remember my story a few years ago that in a year with say 140 sales or 280 "sides," there were something like 200 different agents and dozens of firms which had participated in the Piedmont market?)