One thing I love about investing in real estate is that it fuels my competitive nature. I have to find deals that no one else has, close them before anyone else does, and sell in a way that makes me stand out among the competition. It’s so exciting!
But as much as I love the excitement, in this industry, it’s best to avoid the competition as much as possible. Instead, take the advantage you have over your peers—be it knowledge or resources—and access property before they even have the chance to. Being able to access off-market real estate deals helps keep your listing prices low and increases your chances of closing.
Now, you may be wondering how you can find these properties if they aren’t on the market. Well, I’m going to tell you. But first, let’s talk about the benefits of off-market properties.
The Benefits of Off-Market Properties
By definition, an off-market property is one that isn’t listed in the MLS, making it inaccessible via traditional portals. If you have the proper tools and resources, you’ll have access to properties that aren’t listed and the chance to reap the benefits.
With off-market properties, you’ll likely have:
- More of a chance to talk to the seller/seller’s agent directly, establishing rapport
- More time to make an offer before the next person and more time to conduct due diligence (unless the seller is in a hurry)
- Fewer potential buyers, which means fewer people competing that drive up the price
The last one is crucial. Once a house is listed, there’s the potential that several investors will inquire about it, creating a lot of noise that can be hard to break through—for both you and the seller.
The best type of off-market property, often referred to as distressed, is owned by someone looking to sell quickly. They are likely looking to sell because they’re facing foreclosure, inherited the property, or because they have to move suddenly. Getting in touch with distressed homeowners who are ready to sell is no easy feat but once you do, you’ll likely be glad you did.
Ways To Access Off-Market Real Estate Deals
There are a few ways to find distressed homeowners and gain access to off-market real estate deals. Here are a few to consider:
Use Online Resources
It’s true that sites like Zillow are mostly concerned with properties that are already listed on the MLS. But there are rules that allow for sellers and their agents to list properties up to 30 days before it officially goes on the market. Sellers do this mostly to test the waters. The drawback to relying on these sites alone is that you might be wasting your time if the homeowner isn’t ready to sell.
Create Relationships With Realtors and Agents
Realtors and agents have their ears to the ground. They are talking to a potential seller before their mind is made up. They might be able to cue you in on a deal before it goes on the market. That’s why joining real estate investment clubs can be so valuable: it’s your way to get to know others in the industry. After all, real estate investing is a business based on relationships.
The potential drawback here is that the realtor has an incentive to sell fast and for the highest possible price. That’s fair; that’s their job. But that likely means they are going to talk to multiple prospective buyers. There will be less competition than if they put it online, but competition nonetheless.
Talk to Wholesalers
Wholesalers are great for off-market properties. They’re typically always in the market to sell. The best part about working with wholesalers is that you’re usually dealing with a professional who knows how valuable time is in this industry. They understand the importance of selling as soon as possible.
Building relationships with wholesalers is important, as is finding a network of pros who always have a deal to sell. This is a great way to gain access to off-market real estate deals, though, ideally, you would prefer to pay the price the wholesaler paid before they sold it to you.
Back in the day, one way we found distressed properties was by driving around and looking to see if houses were dilapidated or abandoned. Today you can still do that, but you can augment it with research. Are there any neighborhoods having a rough spell? Are there articles about abandoned properties in specific areas? What areas have been hit hard by the economy and filled with people who would love to sell their houses? There’s nothing wrong with the old-fashioned methods just be sure to use the resources at your disposal to enhance them.
Cold Calling and Door Knocking
If you’ve done the research, knock on a few doors. Make a few phone calls, mail out letters or pamphlets with your information. Many homeowners in tough situations might not even realize how easy it can be to sell their house.
However, if you take this approach remember that you don’t want to be just another pushy voice rushing them to make a decision. Be respectful, be honest, and be fair. Also, make sure you are in compliance with all laws, including checking against the “Do Not Call” lists, “Do Not Mail” lists, and the no solicitation laws that many communities have passed.
This is a little less direct than cold-calling. Put your name on a bus station bench in a prospective area. Purchase a billboard. If there are people looking to sell—or who might just be considering the idea—hopefully they’ll see you.
The problem is that you have to hope your message reaches the person right at the right time. Many people could see your face on the bus bench and have no interest or need to sell their house. It costs to be top-of-mind in the right moment.
There are many ways to access off-market real estate but there are no guarantees. It’s best to be equipped with the necessary tools and resources for the moment you get in front of the right seller.
The Best Way To Access Off-Market Real Estate Deals
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the best deal comes when the homeowner wants to sell but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of listing their property. I’ve found that the best way to find these homeowners is to partner with a well-known brand.
Once I became an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchise, I could participate in the nationally recognized “We Buy Ugly Houses®” marketing campaign. I’ve found that many homeowners are familiar with the slogan. They call HomeVestors, often before listing their property, and I can receive their call in real time. I now have a lead who is ready to sell. The first barrier of connection is broken.
Of course, I still have to do research, build trust, and make a fair offer before I can close the deal. But I was able to access an off-market real estate deal before the competition. Not only that, but HomeVestors also lets you plug into a network of wholesalers who are always looking to sell.
Off-market real estate typically means less competition and less wasted time. That’s what I call a win-win. If you are interested in gaining access to real estate deals before the competition, request information about becoming a franchise today.
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