The illustrious ‘off-market’ deal is a rare and mysterious beast reserved only for the savviest of real estate investors.
An ‘off-market’ deal refers to a property that hasn’t been publicly listed for sale or advertised through a real estate agent.
Now, you might be wondering why anyone would choose not to advertise their property, especially if they’re trying to sell it. The first answer to this question is usually privacy. The seller may not want to spook their tenants by putting the property publicly up for sale. The second is that the seller may be looking to save money by not avoiding real estate agents and their subsequent fees and commission.
If you’re interested in tracking down one of these elusive property deals, the next 3 steps will make this process much, much easier.
#1: Make Friends With Real Estate Agents
You might be wondering why the first step to finding an off-market deal is to start networking with real estate agents. Surely if an agent knows of a property going up for sale, it’s already too late, right? Wrong.
Real estate agents have these things called buyers and sellers lists. Getting access to local agents’ sellers lists can be a huge win for you as a bargain hunter. Real estate agents keep a sellers list so that they can prompt property owners on these lists to start getting ready to sell if they think that market conditions are becoming more favourable.
Furthermore, many agents often have these things called ‘pocket listings’. A pocket listing is a listing for which an agent has exclusive rights to sell and won’t be listed publicly. Many local real estate agents may keep the listing in their ‘pocket’ (hence the name) to keep word from getting out, which can be a benefit to the seller.
Once you’re able to establish yourself as a serious buyer and investor, agents will take you more seriously and actually want to bring you deals because they know that you’ll follow through and close sales quickly.
#2: Get In Touch With Tradies
Tradies and contractors can be a great way to find off-market deals because they’re usually working with property owners.
If an owner is prepping their property to be sold by fixing it up, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll share that information with their contractor. If you can get in touch with a bunch of contractors in the area you’re scouting out, you can figure out which properties are going to be sold before they’re even listed.
Occasionally, a property owner may even ask their contractor if they have any other clients that would be interested in buying their property. As a property investor, having good working relationships with contractors can often prove to be majorly advantageous and put you miles ahead of the rest of the market.
#4: Take A Drive
Driving around neighbourhoods can be an interesting yet effective way to find off-market properties. Drive around an area and look for vacant or ‘distressed’ properties, as these will be the easiest potentially off-market homes to spot with very little effort. To spot these sorts of properties, keep an eye out for overgrown yards, scattered items in the yard, or boarded-up windows.
Jot down the addresses of the properties you find and search for the owner’s contact information in local council records. While this process can be a little time-consuming, it’s an entirely free strategy. Depending on the area you’re checking out, it can be a super-efficient way to find off-market gems.
Overall, off-market properties offer serious benefits for investors who know what they’re doing. By offering less competition and flexible negotiations, off-market real estate can land you some impressive profit margins.
Once you have used these tips to find an off-market deal, make sure to run it by a trusted real estate professional before making an offer – this will prevent any unwanted surprises, legal or otherwise.