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Everything You Need to Know About Off Market Properties

By Brian Chesson

When the supply is low and the demand is high, looking for deals is harder. A multiple listing service (MLS) does not charge for every property you see on the market. As a result, each month, many properties are sold without being listed on the MLS. These pocket listings are lead sources for people who know how to search them.

In the past, listing homes off the market was rare, yet it has reached homeowners’ attention in recent years. This makes these listings a secondary market source of some kind, especially in today’s ever-booming demand. However, these off-market listings are somehow implausible to a seller. Besides, there is an increase in demand than the list of stocks, which means it’s common for the neighbourhood to clash in biddings.

So, how do you, as a buyer, find these listings? And why would sellers want to create a hush-hush listing? Here’s what you need to know about off market properties.

What is an Off-Market Property?

Also known as an off-marketing listing or pocket listing, an off-market property is a property for sale, but it’s not being advertised to the public. Why are there sellers who try to sell properties secretly? Below are some good reasons why they do it.

  • Excellent Deals

An off-market property saves money on commissions. Although commissions on real estate are often negotiable, the MLS sellers usually pay a sales commission of 6% whenever you list a property for sale. Half of the sales commission will go to the seller’s broker, and the other half will go to your (the buyer) broker, with a regular split of commission.

To save money on sales commissions, most rental property investors and homeowners are shifting to online real estate marketplaces. This is because the sales fee is less than 50% compared to a charge fee from a real estate agent.

  • Confidential Transactions

Confidentiality is another reason for selling or buying properties from an off-market. Whenever you list a property on the MLS, everybody will know that your house is for sale, how much it costs, the needed repairs, recent updates and details like the size or age of your home. For typical homeowners who sell their properties to the usual market, the more people know about it, the better.

Nevertheless, for people who want privacy, property listings from an off-market are a better approach. Popular people like celebrities, surely, don’t want anybody to know or come looking at their houses. This is also true for real estate investors who sell rental properties. The tenant will be more apt to stop taking care of the property or break the lease if they know you’re selling such property. This will then lower the home’s value.

The Best Way to Find Off-Market Properties for Sale

An off-market property deal offers multiple perks to investors, which make them in demand afterwards. To find the best deals from off-market real estate, one should go for more than one approach. Here are some of the best methods to distinguish off-market properties for sale.

  • Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to look for off-market property deals. You can describe your target home seller and send ads or postcards that convey your interest in buying their property. Homeowners, sometimes, don’t even know they want to sell their property unless shown with an enticing offer.

Before you apply this marketing technique, make sure to heed your due diligence. Research your target market and find the best ad platforms to reach your audience effectively. From flyers and postcards to online ads, your choices are limitless. If you wish to apply a direct mail marketing strategy, it’s essential to remember that you may not get results in an instant.

  • Networking

This method is arguably the best strategy for lead generation in the world of off-market properties. With time and practice, you may find networking easier. You shouldn’t be afraid to go out and engage your target market.

When it comes to networking, it is highly recommended to search for property events in your area. You might want to check out your local bulletin boards or find groups on Facebook that you could meet easily around. Moreover, you can establish your existing property connections and expand them. Off-market networking is always the most popular option to find leads and get deals because it’s easy and simple.

  • Online Resources

Even though there are online websites that feature properties listed on the MLS, they can also be utilised to occasionally find off-market deals. Some of these websites let sellers list their properties 30 days prior to listing them on MLS. Investors should monitor these sites to keep up with the competition.

Quite a few websites feature off-market property listings. The fact that the Internet is extremely mainstream, off-market listings featured online can be quite competitive. Some offer a great deal of perks for both sellers and buyers. They even allow property transactions to happen without it being listed on the MLS. Nonetheless, keep in mind that you need to be more proactive with your lead generation approaches, even if finding properties online is cost-efficient.

  • Contractors and Builders

These people are your trusted friends if you’re looking for some great off-market deals. Local contractors and builders are often updated regarding properties that an investor or a homeowner abandoned mid-project due to lack of financing. Whilst this is truly a misfortune, this is an opportunity for an investor who’s ready to pounce in, complete the project and end a great deal.

  • Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents are the most familiar when it comes to properties on the MLS. They are even savvy enough to find off-market deals. So, to increase your chances of getting a deal and to stay on top of the competition, it’s best to reach out to a realtor. Real estate agents can also be secretive as to which properties are about to be listed on the market.

  • Public Record

Being updated on public records is a helpful idea to find a short sale or pre-foreclosure properties. Both of these offer valuable investment opportunities. You can check on local and state government websites, as well as newspapers. Sometimes, these sources mention properties that are about to be listed, offering another chance for investors.

  • Wholesale

Wholesalers can also help you with your off-market property search quest. They specialize in the area of property wholesaling so they will surely put you to an advantage. Wholesale’s core is to find a discounted property, place it under a contract, designate the contract to a buyer and charge the buyer a certain fee. Oftentimes, wholesalers find discounted properties from off-market property listings.

  • Driving Around the Area

One of the most effective and interesting ways to look for off-market properties is driving around your neighbourhood to search for potential deals. With this type of search, the most typical deals you will encounter are distressed properties or vacant properties as they are the easiest to spot.

  • Word of Mouth

Property investing is about marketing and business. Reinforcing the word-of-mouth strategy is quite similar to how you build a network. Any person you meet can be a potential connection who can tell you about an off-market property.

  • Property Auctions

Auctions offer a consistent stream of off-market properties, and they are ideal for investors. To find properties that are being auctioned, browse auction websites for potential deals. You can also check property auctions via your local network connections or through the country courthouse.

Benefits of Purchasing Off-Market Properties

Investors are drawn to off-market property deals because they see potential in them. Here are some reasons why you should also consider purchasing off-market properties.

  • Price Sales are Lower

If there is less competition, then sale prices are lower. Properties from off-market listings are not publicized and are usually out of the limelight. This gives you the opportunity to find and close a property deal at an amazing price before it is even listed publicly.

  • Buyers Have Less Competition

Given that off-market properties are not open to many buyers, this puts certain buyers at a great advantage.

  • Transaction Times are Adjustable

Sellers are often not in a rush when it comes to off-market property sales. You can then take your time and think properly before you make any offer as a potential investor. However, you should take note that certain deals, such as short sales or pre-foreclosures, require a faster closing process.

  • Seamless Negotiations

With the fact that these properties go unnoticed by most people, negotiations are more relaxed for both sellers and buyers. This often contributes to contracts that would never occur openly in public. Make sure you’re prepared and know what terms you want prior to the negotiation.


In general, sales from off-market properties provide numerous benefits, especially to those who know what they are doing. Off-market properties can provide you with a large profit margin if there are flexible negotiations and less competition. With the help of different strategies, you can easily find these potential off-market deals.

Are you looking to buy a new property? Or do you have a property to sell? We, at Ray White Balmain, can help you find the best property and maximise your property value. Call us at +61 (2) 9810 3476.

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