Most people interested in buying a home seek real estate listings online or work with a real estate agent. While that may be the method many use to locate their next home or piece of investment property, there is another category of real estate you might have overlooked.
Locating “off-market” homes can reveal listings you may not find otherwise. Some sellers choose to list their homes in this manner for a variety of reasons. Potential buyers can benefit, as well. Here’s a closer look at off-market homes and why you may want to consider them as you search for property.
The term “off-market” has two meanings:
- A property that is not listed for sale.
- A property that is for sale but not listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the database of for-sale properties.
In the latter case, an off-market property may also be referred to as a “pocket listing.”
Some sellers want to maintain their privacy when selling their home, or they choose an off-market listing to save money as they will pay a lower commission. They may also want to avoid open houses or the need to have a lot of showings. They may count on a real estate agent to find them qualified, interested buyers or sell their homes without help.
For buyers, benefits include finding properties that most buyers won’t see or access. You may also be able to get a better deal on the property because the commission of the real estate agent (if there is one involved) is lower and you’re not competing against as many buyers. You could also have more time to do due diligence on the property because off-market sellers are typically not in a hurry to sell.
To find off-market listings, look for agents who sell property in the neighborhood(s) you’re interested in and contact them to see if they have these listings. You can also look for non-MLS-listing websites such as ForSaleByOwner.com and BuyOwner.com, newspaper classifieds, and local sites such as Nextdoor. You can also approach homeowners directly; properties that are in clear need of repair or care may have homeowners who are interested in selling.
Once you’ve found a property you want, you’ll execute a real estate contract with the agent, if there is one, or directly with the buyer. The accompanying resource describes more about how off-market listings may offer real estate opportunities you wouldn’t find otherwise.