If you’re currently on the hunt for an affordable home that you love, you likely know just how topsy-turvy the market can be for buying and selling houses. Prices are higher than ever, competition is fierce, and it seems like no matter how much time you devote to the search, you’re just never the first one to an open house.
Does this sound familiar? If so, then you’re probably looking for alternative methods for finding properties for sale — and you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about off-market real estate, whether it might be the right choice for you, and how you can get started in your private listing search.
What Is Off-Market Real Estate?
When a house is for sale, owners work with a real estate agent to find buyers. Rather than only work within the one real estate agent’s network, listings go on multiple listing services (MLS): online lists of properties for sale that can be accessed by cooperating real estate agents.
The National Association of Realtors requires agents to list properties on an MLS to market a home publicly. However, an off-market real estate industry remains alive and well.
By selling outside of an MLS, owners can either cut out commissions entirely or limit a commission to only one agent. People may also privately sell their home without public advertising because they find a buyer before even listing publicly, or they want to test the sales waters before putting their home on the market. After all, once a home reaches the dreaded “30 days listed” mark, the allure drops sharply.
Why Buy Off-Market Real Estate
It’s easy to see why sellers may sell or at least try to sell outside public channels. But why should buyers check out off-market real estate?
Here are some benefits for you as a buyer:
- Find listings that haven’t hit the public and avoid competition.
- Save money by cutting a deal with a seller who doesn’t have to pay any commission.
- Discover cheap properties for flipping investment opportunities.
- Access more options in your search — the perfect home could be for sale, just not publicly.
Are you sold on the idea of purchasing your next home off the market? Learn how to find properties that aren’t attached to the bidding wars and competition you get with multiple listing services.
How to Find Off-Market Real Estate
1. Go Directly to the Agents
Just because a real estate agent hasn’t publicly marketed a home yet, doesn’t mean they don’t have hot leads for you. People may discuss selling their home with an agent before it’s time to put up a “for sale” sign. If an agent can make a sale without putting any marketing work into it, they’ll likely be happy to oblige.
Compile a list of local agents and start making some calls. Be specific in what you’re looking for, and they may have the perfect match for you.
2. Rentals by Owners
Landlords likely don’t want to be landlords forever. So when you see a “for rent” sign, don’t ignore it. This could be the perfect timing to convince a property owner it’s time to collect their final check for the house.
The key to this tactic is finding a landlord in the right spot. This is by no means a 100% guarantee, and you’ll hear many rejections. But contact enough owners of rental properties, and you may find a yes.
3. Make It Public That You’re Looking
Just because a seller is being discreet doesn’t mean you need to. Let the sellers come to you. Put up signs, social media posts, and listings. Specify what you’re looking for so you don’t have to wade through useless replies. But letting people know you’re interested may be enough to get a homeowner to go from considering selling to sealing the deal.
4. Estate Sales
When someone passes, their family often ends up with the home. At a real estate sale, so soon after a loved one’s passing, family members may have the intention of selling but haven’t started any marketing yet. If you come in the right offer, you could walk away from an estate sale with much more than just some new decor.
5. Online Private Listings
If homeowners are looking to sell without a real estate agent, they’re likely on social media. Check out common places online for buying and selling, like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There, you may find people who are casually looking for buyers while you avoid stiff competition.
6. Public Records
When homeowners can no longer make their mortgage payments, they foreclose on their homes.
Public records will reveal if a home is in the pre-foreclosure stage. Before a home goes to auction, you can swoop in and buy the house. Check for pre-foreclosures, and see if someone is ready to release the burden of their mortgage and give you a great deal on a home.
7. Work With a Professional
Wholesalers are people who contract with sellers of distressed properties and find buyers for quick cash. While this doesn’t cut out the middleman completely, you can find excellent investment opportunities for flipping houses at a much better price than you’ll find on public real estate markets.
Find Funding For Your Off-Market Property
Once you find your dream private listing, you’ll need the money to buy it before you miss this golden opportunity. But getting the right loans for purchasing your next house can be complicated.
If you’re interested in buying off-market real estate, make sure that you understand your financing options to take full advantage of the private listings you find. An easy way to get started is to contact the team at Associates Home Loan. We will give you information about which loans you’re eligible for while finding you the best interest rates and long-term benefits.
Find your dream home with off-market real estate strategies and get the financing you need from the Associates Home Loan team today.