Hidden In Plain Sight: Understanding Off-Market Real Estate Deals

Are you new to real estate investing? Maybe just the real estate market in general? When searching for a property, you may hear about people buying real estate you didn’t even know was on the market. As described in this article, “Off-market real estate deals were once the preserve of ultra-high-end properties. But whisper listings—or pocket listings as they are also known—have spread to a range of price points as more buyers and sellers realize the advantages of keeping things hush-hush.” With an evolving market, this has become a more common approach.

Typically when selling a piece of real estate, the owner uses an agent to promote and ultimately sell it. The agent then advertises the property through a Multiple Listing Service database more commonly known as MLS and handles coordinating open houses and walkthroughs from there. Now, especially in areas or with properties in high-demand, pocket-listings have become a more discrete approach to getting your property sold.

Of course, there are a few factors when veering away from listing your property with an agent for this more atypical approach. Sellers usually aren’t as eager to get out of their property. They accept that less exposure potentially extends their selling timelines. Rather, they wait for the right buyer at the right time with the right price all of which off-market deals can offer. The obvious enticing factor is also the discretion associated with off-market details. Instead of giving the general public an all-access look inside your home, brokers work directly with buyers who actually want something like your home and aren’t just open-house hopping to find interior design inspiration or see how their neighbors decorate.  

For buyers, off-market deals tend to pay off as well. They usually don’t compete with other bids since these listings are less widely known about. The price is also usually more reasonable since the seller’s commission is typically lower. Buyers looking to flip a property often find deals in this section of the market, but it takes experience and the right amount of background real estate knowledge. To reap the benefits as an off-market buyer, you also need to do your homework. These properties aren’t out for the world to see, so you or your agent need to ensure that agents with off-market properties know that you want in the ring.

This variety of listings isn’t limited to million dollar deals or celebrity sellers either. While some high-end properties take this approach for more discretion, others choose the pocket listing option because they were approached directly by a broker with a buyer in mind. It’s particularly common in an empty market where people aren’t particularly eager to sell like the Bay area where inventory is low, but the demand remains high.

When deciding whether off-market transactions are the option for you, consider these questions. Do you have a particular property in mind that isn’t on the market, but is the only option for you? If yes, then finding an agent to set up an off-market buy may be your best option. Are you looking for a unique or high-end home in an empty market? Again, pocket deals could be your best alternative. No matter the case, a skilled real estate agent can help you find the property for you whether it’s in the MLS Database or not.

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