Broaden Your Search With Unlisted Homes
In a seller’s market, expanding your real estate search to off-market properties can provide you with access to a world of unlisted homes. There are several advantages to pursuing houses that aren’t necessarily listed “for sale,” especially when the demand for homes is high, and there’s a limited selection to choose from.
- There’s less competition for unlisted homes because they are not on the MLS or advertised publicly. In a seller’s market, listed homes may receive multiple offers and create a bidding war between buyers. An unlisted home is an opportunity to avoid the stress of competing with more than one potential buyer.
- Off-market homes can also come in handy if you have a particular wish list. If you need a home with a specific feature, you may have better luck finding what you’re looking for with this approach.
- They’re a great way to find fixer-uppers.
- They offer an alternative way into desirable neighborhoods that may be out of reach if you only search for properties on the MLS.
Using ingenuity and resourcefulness, there are several ways savvy buyers can land their dream home, whether or not it’s listed. If you’re interested in learning how to find off-market properties, read on for useful tips we’ve compiled to incorporate into your search.
Work With a Real Estate Agent
Local real estate agents know their neighborhoods and are privy to homes that are just about to go on the market. Although they typically use their local MLS system to find available homes, a good agent will also have connections and insider knowledge about unlisted properties. Agents can also tell you about properties that have lingered on the market for longer than expected due to a situation with the owner or the property itself.
Explore The Neighborhood
One tried-and-true way to find off-market properties is to explore your desired neighborhood(s). Before you hit the road, make a wish list to get a good idea of your ideal home. Use that list to identify properties that meet your criteria.
Once you’ve identified a few properties of interest, identify the owners and ask if they’re willing to sell.
Pro Tip: Snail mail is a great method for approaching a conversation with a potential owner. Write a letter to the potential seller to express your interest in the home. They can read it on their own time, and it will catch their attention. You can use public county records to find an owner’s contact information.
Advertise To Existing Owners
Sometimes, homeowners do not consider selling until they discover an opportunity. Knowing this, many real estate agents will use direct mail and other advertising methods to connect with potential sellers. Approach this topic with your real estate agent to see what marketing efforts they can implement to help.
Find Foreclosures and Short Sales
You can also find properties under foreclosure or up for short sale before they hit the market. Many people use word-of-mouth to find out about these homes, or you might participate in a courthouse auction to buy a property that’s under judicial review. You can use public records to find auction information.
Network To Find Unlisted Homes
Making your network work for you is the real key to finding unlisted homes to buy. Professionals such as CPAs, estate attorneys, and contractors all have insider knowledge about homes that have not hit the market:
- CPAs: A CPA may be able to connect you with a client that may benefit financially from selling a property.
- Estate Attorneys: Estates often have a myriad of issues and creditors who need to be paid off. Therefore, estate attorneys are a great source for investors to find out about properties that may become available shortly.
- Contractors: Contractors work directly with homeowners and have inside knowledge about the status of several properties. Contractors may be fixing up a home that a seller is preparing to list. They may also know about a home with issues within the property itself.
Once you have decided that you’re ready to move, there are several steps you can take to make the home-buying process smoother. For example, have your financing lined up and a down payment already set aside. This will make for a speedier closing and give the seller less time to get cold feet.