Finding Off-Market Listings in 2023
Most people looking for properties typically follow this trajectory:
- They check a real estate marketplace like Zillow or Redfin with properties from multiple listing services.
- They contact the realtor or real estate agent that listed the property on a multiple listing service (MLS).
- When they’ve settled on a few potential properties, they attend an open house arranged by the realtor or real estate agent.
While you can find most properties in the United States on an MLS, properties that aren’t listed — known as ‘off-market’ properties — sometimes offer the best investment opportunities. You won’t find these residential and commercial units on any listing service!
In this guide from ProspectNow, learn the benefits of off-market properties and where to find them.
Off-Market Properties, Explained
In real estate, an off-market property is a residential or commercial unit not listed with the MLS. Off-market properties are either not currently for sale or not listed by the current owner for other reasons, such as:
- The seller doesn’t want to sell their property conventionally.
- The seller doesn’t want to go through a realtor or agent and pay a commission.
- The seller wants to maintain privacy.
- The seller wants to gauge interest in their property before listing it on the open market.
Because unlisted properties are harder to find, buyers and investors find this exclusivity attractive.
Did you know that 11 percent of sellers don’t list their properties on the real estate market?
Benefits of Off-Market Properties
Off-market properties provide more options than those listed on an MLS. These properties can sell faster because a realtor or agent is often not involved, and transactions happen directly between the seller and buyer.
There are other advantages of investing in an off-market property:
- Off-market properties can sell for less money because only a select few people know about them. There’s unlikely to be a ‘bidding war‘ where multiple buyers make an offer on a home and drive up the selling price.
- There are fewer conditions on an off-market property sale. Fewer conditions mean fewer restrictions, making buying and selling easier.
- Properties currently undergoing foreclosure are often not listed on an MLS. These ‘distressed’ units—that might be owned or controlled by a financial institution or the government—could be cheaper to buy than other properties and purchased quickly. Many properties in the post-foreclosure stage sell at an auction house.
How to Find Off-Market Properties in 2023
Many off-market properties aren’t available for long, so buyers and investors need to find them quickly.
Here’s how to search for these unlisted units in your local area:
Contact Local Realtors, Estate Agents, and Brokers
While realtors and estate agents list most properties on an MLS, they might know about unique properties not currently listed for one reason or another. The same goes for brokers.
Contact these professionals and tell them you’re interested in hearing about local unlisted units. You might have to prove you are a genuine buyer or investor who can close a property. However, once you have established yourself, you could find amazing deals ‘under the table’ that are better than those listed on the open market.
Reach Out to Attorneys in Your Area
All sellers have to use an attorney at some point in the process. Therefore, attorneys often know about off-market properties that realtors, estate agents, and brokers have no clue about. Contact local attorneys and establish yourself as a credible buyer or investor. An attorney or two might offer info about motivated sellers interested in working with people like you.
Talk to Local Contractors
Many sellers-to-be work with contracting companies to renovate or upgrade their properties before putting them on the market. Talking to contractors about the units they’re currently working on might help you find a property that will soon be up for sale. You can then establish a relationship with the property owner and convince them you’re the right buyer for their residential or commercial unit.
Now, this method isn’t foolproof. Talking to contractors about properties involves lots of trial and error. Contractors might not want to disclose information about properties they’re renovating because it violates a contract, the owner’s privacy, or — simply put — they don’t know your intentions. That said, many buyers and investors have found lucrative properties with this strategy, so you might want to try it yourself.
Use Websites Advertising Foreclosure Properties
As previously mentioned, some off-market properties are in the midst of or have just finalized the foreclosure process. These properties could be available at a cheaper cost. The following websites advertise distressed properties, typically in the post-foreclosure stage:
- HomePath (owned by Fannie Mae)
- HomeSteps (owned by Freddie Mac)
- Realtor.com Foreclosures
- Zillow Foreclosure Center
Local bank and credit union websites might also list distressed properties, some of which could be incredible investment opportunities. Contact the financial institution directly if it doesn’t post this information on its website.
While these are all valid property search methods, none of the above methods guarantee you’ll find any off-market properties because:
- What if an attorney doesn’t know anything about unlisted properties in your area?
- Maybe the realtor, broker, or contractor you contact doesn’t feel comfortable divulging information.
- The foreclosure website you visited is full of listings — but none of them have that X factor you’re looking for.
Thankfully, there’s a much easier way to discover unlisted units in your area.
Use ProspectNow to Uncover Off-Market Properties
ProspectNow is a database of every single property in the U.S. It uses predictive analytics to find the latest property ownership data, sales data, loan origination insights, and more for residential and commercial units. Use ProspectNow’s centralized database and contact property owners directly about off-market properties.
ProspectNow has helped tens of thousands of people find unlisted properties since 2008.
Off-market properties are those not listed on the open market. You can find the latest unlisted units by contacting real estate professionals and contractors or using websites that list properties undergoing foreclosure. Alternatively, use ProspectNow to uncover the best investment opportunities.
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