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What Does “Off Market” Really Mean?

What Does "Off Market" Really Mean?


“Off Market” simply refers to a home that’s offered for sale with no public advertising. Off-market homes can be offered by anyone, but when deciding how to sell your home, the way that you get the word out matters. Most homes, of course, are offered through MLS listings. MLS listings give your home a chance for all of the area’s home shoppers to see your home, and what you’re offering. Listing through an MLS service isn’t the only option, though. For some, it’s a time-consuming and frustrating process to meet party after party, and a different method is needed. This is when an off-market home offers another way out for buyers that would prefer another way of selling their home. Selling a home privately has its benefits as well as its concerns, but many people feel that overall, it’s a good route to go.


Some Like It Hot 

Off-market listings have always been around, but they started to gain popularity in the early 2010s. Off-market properties have several names by which they’re known: some call off-market listings ‘quiet listings.’ As much as the name would insinuate, this version came from the clear fact that you’re not networking the home or property in a public place or in a public way. ‘Pocket listings’ are another way to indicate homes being offered outside of a more common MLS listing. The name for pocket listings is a reference to these listings being hidden in a real estate agent’s back pocket. The sense of eliteness and exclusivity that comes from private listings draws more people to seek off-market homes every year. In active, competitive markets, off-market listings can be especially appealing because a buyer may feel they’re getting special treatment, or a peek into another, wealthier lifestyle.


On the seller’s side, it takes off some of the pressure to host numerous open houses, sell the home quickly, or wait for the end of a bidding war. If you are considering selling your home off-market, this usually means that you’re in no hurry to sell your home, either. With off-market listings, you can take your time looking for a new home, or downsizing. One of the benefits for potential buyers is the opportunity to negotiate the price of the home. Some sellers are flexible, and just want to sell their home for as close to the asking price as possible. When sellers are flexible with the price, buyers will always benefit.


Some sellers choose to sell their home off-market for the sake of privacy. In instances where a seller doesn’t want neighbors or acquaintances to know that they’re planning to move, selling their home off-market saves them from having to add signage to their home, alerting the world to a soon-to-be-unoccupied home. This could also prevent break-ins by criminals who think that a home for sale might be empty.


Another oft-referenced benefit of listing homes off-market is the opportunity to test the real estate market. While putting the word out about the home’s availability, you’ll be able to see if the price you’re asking garners the response you want. If you’re feeling that you may have other opportunities if you change the price, you can seize those opportunities much more easily than you would have with a home that’s been listed.  If selling your home off-market doesn’t work as well as expected, listing your home publicly is absolutely still an option. Your real estate agent might warn you of the possibility of low offers after a house has been on the market for 30 days. If this happens, don’t be discouraged. You can re-list your home, and you can help your real estate agent network your home with friends and fellow homeowners.


The Stronger the Market, the Harder the Search


off market real estateExtremely competitive markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, among others, have a huge share of the off-market residential market. For potential buyers, these markets pose a huge challenge: they can easily be outbid for the home that they love, and lose a great deal of time while waiting for sellers and agents to get back to them.  While it is possible that private listings could have a negative effect on the overall housing market, it remains advantageous to anyone shopping for a home. One of the reasons is opportunity: with only a few people privy to the availability of an off-market home, the chances that a buyer that truly wants the home will get it. In active markets, this is advantageous to buyers. In slow markets, this can go either way. It could be detrimental to keep homes in private listings for mid-range homes, and less so for expensive homes, relative to the average cost of on-market, publicly-listed homes.


Your Real Estate Agent Is Your Best Friend


Selling your home off-market will inevitably be a time-consuming and daunting process without the help of a local, experienced real estate agent. Choosing to work through a local real estate agent means you’ll be better able to reach the types of individuals that could be interested in purchasing your off-market home. Your local real estate agent will network your off-market home through phone calls, email, and maybe even flyers sent to clients, both past and future. If you’re interested in moving the sale along, reach out to people around you. You might be surprised by who’s looking for a new home.


Off-Market Sales Could Work for You


Selling a home off-market isn’t the right option for everyone. It could end up taking longer to sell your home. If you have an extremely well-connected real estate agent on your side, though, your home could be sold before you know it. Selling your home on your terms is what’s most important to anyone selling their home, and having the option to sell your property off-market could be a new opportunity for you and your loved ones to leave your home when you’re ready. Whether you’re buying or selling, always start with a call to a local, experienced real estate agent. You’ll save stress, and come much closer to the profit that you deserve.