What is an Off-Market Property?
Recently, I’ve had a few clients ask me about finding “Off-market” properties. Off-market means that the house is not in the MLS, Zillow, or any of the other home search websites. Real estate agents call these opportunities “pocket listings”. And until recently, an agent could tell other agents and their own clients about these pocket listings and the home could be sold without putting it in the MLS. However, things have changed.
Rules To Follow
In the spring of 2020, the National Association of REALTORS(R) and the MLS that we use in our region (BRIGHT), implemented a rule saying that agents could no longer market homes outside of their brokerage without it being in the MLS. This is why finding an off market property has become a lot more challenging. The intention of this rule was to give all buyers a fair chance at finding a home.
Another rule that was recently implemented is in regards to marketing. The rule states that if a home is publicly marketed for sale, it has to be entered into the MLS within one business day. This means, if you see a social media post about a home or a For Sale yard sign, it has to be in the MLS. If agents do not follow these rules, they can be charged a hefty fine, starting at $5,000.
You Are Not Missing Out
The most important take away is this: Do not feel like you are missing out on secret homes for sale. In this low inventory market, sellers want to put their home in the MLS to gain as much exposure and generate multiple offers and terms that work best for them.
What Can You Do?
First and foremost, you must be pre-approved for a mortgage and preferably with a local lender who can write you an updated pre-approval letter on an evening or weekend when you are submitting an offer.
Also, you want to work with an agent that really knows the area you are looking in. Their experience and knowledge is priceless, and not just in terms of knowing the neighborhoods. But in terms of possibly knowing what other buyers have had to do with their offer to get the home. And, it helps if they know the listing agent representing the seller. A prior relationship or understanding of how the agent works, can help in huge ways. And, do not get discouraged and stay persistent. I truly believe that if it is meant to be, it will.
When you start working with an agent, they will set you up with an MLS search. As soon as a new listing is entered into the system, you will get notified. This includes “Coming Soon” properties that aren’t available on other home search websites.
You do have to act quickly if you see a home you like. Schedule a showing within a day or two of it being on the market to better your chances.
The seller ultimately wants to get to closing without delays or risk, so talk to your agent about strategies on how to position your offer so that it is strong and desirable to the seller.
Please reach out anytime you have questions or thoughts that you’d like to talk about. I LOVE real estate and helping sellers and buyers navigate this market.