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What Does Off Market Mean in Real Estate? 7 FAQs for Buyers

If you 're looking at houses or investment properties, you may be curious about the term "off market." Off market properties aren't necessarily off the market. Find out more about what off-market properties in real estate are and how you can benefit from them.
If you 're looking at houses or investment properties, you may be curious about the term "off market." Off market properties aren't necessarily off the market. Find out more about what off-market properties in real estate are and how you can benefit from them.

If you’re in the market for a new house or an investment property, chances are you’ve been doing your research and have come across the term “off market.” While it sounds like off market means that a property isn’t for sale, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Many buyers are unaware of non-traditional routes to finding a sweet property at an excellent price. If you’re interested in exploring what off market properties can offer you, you’ll need an expert buyer agent to find them first.

In the meantime, these seven questions should fill you in on what off market means in real estate.

What does off market mean in real estate?

Off market in real estate means properties that are for sale but aren’t listed on the Multiple Listing Services (MLS.) When a property is for sale but not listed on the MLS, it won’t be submitted to websites like Zillow or Trulia that feed off of the MLS unless the agents place the listings on their site manually. Off market can also mean a property is not advertised other than by word of mouth between a network of brokers and agents. There is also an agents-only platform “Pocket Listing Service” for agents find off-market, coming soon, and pocket listing properties available to them.

What is a pocket listing?

A pocket listing is a property that the listing agent keeps off the market for showing to a select few clients. The seller has signed a listing agreement with a real estate agent and the property is for sale, but it isn’t listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Pocket listings are also known as “quiet” listings or “off-market listings.” The seller agent only shares the pocket listing with a few other agents he or she knows or trusts.

How do I find off market property?

The best way to find off market properties is to contact an experienced realtor in your neighborhood or city. Expert agents with experience in their local markets have connections that allow them to know of any off market properties or pocket listings available in their marketplace. They may even have their own off market properties.

What are the pros of buying a house off market?

There is less competition for an off-market house because there are fewer buyers who know about it. In a seller’s market where there is limited inventory, this is a big advantage. A buyer has a chance of being the only offer, or one of few offers, on the house which could result in getting the house for less. A seller who is selling a house off market may also be more flexible about moving dates and time limits unless they’re in a hurry to sell the house, in which case the buyer may even be able to get the house below market value.

What are the cons of buying a house off market?

Some sellers list their house off market to try and gauge the market and try different price points. This means that a seller may not be serious. While some sellers may be willing to accept a lower price, others may be selling off market because they have a set price in mind and aren’t willing to negotiate. An off market house won’t be advertised so the buyer has less information about the house. But an expert buyer agent will be able to fill in the gaps.

What are the pros of buying an off-market investment property?

There is usually less competition for an off-market investment property which makes it a great find, especially in a seller’s market. Bidding on an off-market investment property means that you have less of a chance of paying more than you could because their most likely won’t be a bidding war for the sale. Buying an off market investment property can be less hurried because they take longer. This gives the buyer more time to check out the property thoroughly and do their due diligence.

What are the cons of buying an off market investment property?

Buying off market properties make it especially important for the buyer to do their due diligence. You’ll need to do a lot of research and networking. Also, because the property is being sold off market you won’t really know how it stands up in the official real estate market in terms of its competitive market value. This is especially poignant for flippers who seek to pick up an off market property for below market value to flip it on the market for a profit. However, a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) performed by an expert buyer agent can easily mitigate this issue.

If you’re interested in buying off market houses or investment properties, you going to need an expert agent who has years of experience in their local market with excellent negotiating skills. It’s highly unlikely that inexperienced agents will even know how to find off market properties. Clever can help.

Clever Partner Agents are top in their local markets and carefully vetted for both experience and performance. When you work with a Clever Agent to seek an off market property, you may even qualify for a buyer rebate to put some cash back in your pocket. Find a top buyer’s agent today and find out if you qualify for a home buyer rebate.


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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