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How to Find Off-Market Properties: A Treasure Hunt for Real Estate Agents




Finding off-market properties can be like searching for hidden treasure. Knowing where to look can give you a great advantage and impress your buyers. Here are some effective strategies to uncover these hidden gems:


The Old Stand-by: FSBOs

It's a tried and true group. Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist often list FSBO's. Contact them to ask to see the property for your buyer. Ask about buyer's compensation, and or establish a relationship in case they decide to list their property.


Leverage Your Agent Network

Connect with real estate agents in your desired area who might have off-market properties or insider knowledge. Start with colleagues in your office and expand by reaching out to agents with recent sales in the area via the MLS.


Utilize Direct Mail

Send targeted direct mail to homeowners, especially those who purchased 7-10 years ago, as they might be looking to upgrade or downsize. Tailor your postcards or newsletters to highlight interested buyers.


Make Cold Calls

Reach out to FSBOs and expired listings. Use the MLS or platforms like Vulcan7 to compile lists and make calls. These sellers are often eager to sell, making them warm leads.


Drive Neighborhoods

Explore neighborhoods where your buyers are interested, looking for distressed properties. Knock on doors to build personal connections, positioning yourself as the go-to agent for future listings.


Partner With Banks & Credit Unions

Build relationships with financial institutions that handle defaulted mortgages. Present your comparative market analysis (CMA) to show the value you bring and develop a network for potential off-market properties.


Collaborate With Homebuilders

Since many homebuilders don’t list on the MLS, form partnerships with them to stay informed about upcoming projects. Offer to create promotional content for their properties to gain early access to new listings.


Lawyer up!

Partner with attorneys who specialize in life-changing events like divorce, marriage or estates. These attorneys often know about homes before they hit the market. Build these relationships by scheduling meetings and discussing mutual benefits.


Explore Auction Sites

Use real estate auction sites like Foreclosure.com to find foreclosures and bank-owned properties before they become public. These platforms provide a wide range of property types and early access to deals.


Network on Investor Sites

Join real estate networking sites to find off-market properties and connect with potential clients. These platforms are valuable for finding deals not listed elsewhere.


Check Rental Property Sites

Look at rental sites like Craigslist, Rentals.com, VRBO, and Airbnb. Note if properties are listed for a long time-- it could indicate owners struggling to find tenants and may be open to selling. Present a CMA to discuss current values.


Your MLS

While looking for off-market properties, the MLS can still be useful for gathering information for direct mail campaigns, identifying expired listings, finding rentals, and running CMAs. Some have additional resources available to suggest homes that might be considering selling by watching their google habits like "local movers" or "Houses for Sale in Florida". (Watching their search inquiries? Yep! Scary, but true.)


With these strategies, you have a map to off-market property treasure. Start with a few methods, adjust as needed, and always secure commission agreements with off-market sellers before proceeding. Happy hunting!


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