Having off-market properties in your inventory can help make your clients see you as an inside source of information and win you more deals. But how do you find these hidden gems when they’re off the market? It takes a combination of old-fashioned hard work and a willingness to take advantage of new technology.
What Are Off-Market Properties, and What Are the Benefits of Working with Them?
Off-market properties are properties that aren’t advertised for sale but either are for sale or could be in the near future. There are a number of reasons a home could be off-market.
- The seller may not want to deal with the usual process of tours and open houses.
- The seller may have taken steps towards selling their home but not gotten around to listing it yet.
- An owner may be open to selling for the right price but isn’t actively pursuing a sale.
- An owner who is in the early consideration phase of selling their home and/or buying a new one might be willing to move things along more quickly if the right deal comes along.
If you can find one of these properties, you get a chance for an exclusive listing or at least a head start over other real estate agents. You can also make your sellers happy by skipping or breezing through the parts of the sales process they were dreading. Your buyers who were looking for a home that was just right will also appreciate your inside knowledge and feel that you did more than look at the same websites they did.
How Can You Find Off-Market Real Estate
Unlike other deals where sellers come to you after seeing your advertisements, you’ll need to do some detective work to find off-market properties. It isn’t hard, but a lot of real estate agents aren’t doing it, so it’s a good chance for you to make a name for yourself in your local area.
Search Online and Offline
Even off-market properties could be posted on online and offline resources. Zillow and similar sites allow owners to post their homes before they’re listed on MLS. You may see for-sale-by-owner ads on Craigslist or in classified ads. Homeowners may also post about how they’re selling or considering selling their home in online forums or on social media.
There are two main downsides to this approach. The first is that you’re using public information that any real estate agent has access to. There’s a good chance several people in your area are doing the same thing. The second is that sellers posting these types of ads may have done it because they decided they don’t want to work with a real estate agent. You can try to change their minds, but it will be an uphill battle.
Use Your Network
While networking is always a big part of the real estate business, it becomes even more important for off-market deals. You should look both to other real estate agents and to your general network.
With other real estate agents, they aren’t just your competition. Maybe one of you has a seller and the other has a buyer looking for that type of home. An agent could also need help moving a house that a seller wants to keep off-market.
With your general network, don’t just use it as a passive source of “tell your friends.” People like home contractors, landscapers, and financial advisors may know when their client is thinking about selling or needs to sell.
Talk to Homeowners
If the demand exceeds the listed inventory in a given area, don’t be afraid to talk to homeowners directly. You may catch someone who is planning a future move or who may not have realized how much they can get for their home.
Of course, many people dislike door-to-door salesmen, but you can use less intrusive methods. You might try direct mail to a neighborhood or attending community events.
Use Data Signals
You may have seen news articles about how companies like Facebook and Google track everything consumers do. This is standard practice in modern marketing, and you can use the same type of information to help you find off-market properties.
In some cases, homeowners may have directly shown a willingness to sell. This might include things like searching for how to sell a home or visiting online listing sites. Predictive analytics can also show you who might be willing to sell in the near future. For example, someone might be approaching retirement in an area where most retirees sell their homes and move.
This type of data isn’t widely used in real estate, but it is readily available. Database companies collect the information from advertisers and other sources, combine the data, and rank homes according to likelihood to sell. You can then get the homeowners’ contact information and reach out to them directly, start a direct mail campaign, or target them with online ads.
ProspectNow Can Help You Find Off-Market Real Estate Gems
ProspectNow maintains a database of over 23 million properties that are predicted to sell along with an integrated suite of direct mail and digital marketing tools. You can use the software to lock in on off-market properties in some cases even before the seller knows they’re ready to sell. Instead of spending your time looking for properties that might sell, you can use your closing skills to make sure they will sell. To see how it works, start your free trial to see potential off-market gems in your area.