REAL ESTATE

Council Post: 13 Top Strategies For Finding Off-Market Properties

With low inventory and high demand, acquiring property in the current real estate market is becoming an increasingly difficult endeavor. Off-market properties offer real estate professionals a way to gain an advantage over the competition by sourcing great deals not found on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). 

However, off-market properties are only a viable option if one knows how to properly locate them. To help make it easier to obtain these deals, 13 members of Forbes Biz Council offer strategies for finding off-market properties and share why these tips are so effective.

1. Cultivate Relationships With Brokers

The key to success is understanding exactly what your clients want and having strong relationships with the brokers who typically represent that product. If you have a reputation for having strong buyers and being easy to work with, it will incentivize those brokers to contact you first. Relationships are a two-way street, so consider keeping them in the loop with your own listings. – Ryan Preuett, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty

2. Keep A Log Of Potential Sellers

Knowing the community and the owners is a huge advantage. Use a log to record what owners intend to do over time. Then, when a client needs a specific property, it will be easy to find a match. It can even be a resource for other real estate professionals. Being the go-to person for off-market properties will give you an edge over the competition. – Marco Del Zotto, LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty – Breckenridge CO

3. Source Properties Yourself

The best way of sourcing off-market properties is going directly to the source. I started my business by identifying properties with deferred maintenance in neighborhoods by knocking on doors and cold calling. Seeing I had legitimate buyers for these properties, I was able to bring win-win opportunities to my clients—both buyers and sellers. I continue to do about 35% of my business off-market. – Ryan Jancula, Compass

4. Search Tax Records

Usually, off-market properties are due to the fact that the owner didn’t realize they wanted to sell (yet). Searching the tax records of non-owner-occupied homes could suggest the property is a rental. Who wouldn’t want to sell their rental property after all the Covid nonpayments? Contacting an owner with a surprising current value proposition is sometimes just the trigger! – Eileen Lacerte, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Island Lifestyle

5. Search Rental Listings That Match Your Desirable Criteria

One often overlooked strategy for sourcing off-market properties is to research rental listings that match your desired parameters. Every real estate investor has a target exit price in mind. Reach out to the lease listing agent and submit an offer. Searching active lease listings in addition to lease listings that have closed over the past three to five years can turn out to be a hidden inventory gold mine! – Tara Hotchkis, Compass

6. Send Letters On Behalf Of Clients

When my buyers have a particular neighborhood or even street in mind, I ask my title company to pull a list of homeowners. We send a very specific and personal letter on behalf of my buyers. Include personal details and wishlist items to make it feel less like promotional spam, and not only does it typically result in a great lead, sometimes it even converts to a second client in the seller. – Jennifer Anderson, Anderson Coastal Group

7. Find Investors Offering Cash Deals

Find out who is offering cash-only deals on homes in your area. It shouldn’t be hard because this is an increasingly common practice. Then, partner with these investors. They will ultimately want to turn over the properties in question, and that’s where you and your clients can both benefit. – Kevin Markarian, Marker Real Estate

8. A strong network of real estate professionals is the best

A strong network of real estate professionals is the best source for off-market properties. We get further when we collaborate rather than when we compete. When I am looking for off-market properties for my buyer clients, I send out an e-flyer to my database with their search criteria. I also use e-flyer companies while also posting to Top Agent Network, the Austin Luxury Network and social media groups. – Kristee Leonard, The Leaders Realty, LLC

9. Connect With Unlikely Knowledge Sources

In my experience, the golden strategy is keeping good relations not only with your peers but also with people who might have precious information. You can sometimes find an off-market property after a conversation with the front desk, the building manager or even the janitor. Many underestimate how much information these people have as they interact on a daily basis with potential sellers. – Adam Redolfi, Barnes International Realty

10. Leverage Homeowners Associations

Reach out to the managers of homeowners associations and let them know what you are looking for. Often, these contacts have knowledge of upcoming listings or potential owners that might be interested in selling. – Mor Zucker, Team Denver Homes – RE/MAX Professionals

11. Use Websites To Source Potential Sales

There are websites we use where you can find properties that are delinquent in property tax, have tax liens, are pre-foreclosed or are distressed properties. These properties most likely will be for sale soon, so contacting these property owners in advance is a big plus. – Valon Nikci, Link NY Realty

12. Partner With Probate Lawyers And Trust Administrators

Probate lawyers and trust administrators often have access to real estate that will require a sale. In some cases, the properties require work and, if someone is willing to do the work or take it as is, they can obtain a great deal. This usually helps the trust, lawyers and all parties involved who do not have to fix up a home to sell it. – Steven Minchen, Minchen Team

13. Use Public Media Sources To Find Major Area Events

Use public media sources to search for trigger events in your market. Set up Google alerts for obituaries, retirements, divorces and marriages in your area. These major life changes often lead to property sales. In some cases, sellers will need to move quickly and want to avoid the cost and hassle of hiring a real estate agent to prepare a home for sale. – Megan Micco, Compass

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