When you’re looking through online real estate listings you may assume that you’re seeing everything that’s available. But the truth is there are plenty of off-market properties that aren’t advertised through conventional channels.
In fact, over 25% of commercial real estate transactions happen off-market. And it just so happens that these properties often provide investors with the best deals.
Typically when someone decides to sell a property they do so through a real estate broker. The broker then lists the property through conventional marketing channels where it is publicly advertised for everyone to see.
However, sometimes properties that are for sale aren’t listed through public real estate listings. This can occur for a number of reasons. The buyer may not want to publicly advertise that they’re selling, or the property may be for sale by the owner. In any case, while these properties are available they can be a little harder to track down.
You might be wondering if it’s worth the hassle of locating off-market commercial properties. While there is more work required to find these listings there are also a number of benefits if you’re willing to put in the effort:
Less Competition: The obvious advantage is that there’s less competition. Most people just stick to conventional listings when they’re looking for real estate. This means you’ll be up against fewer buyers, and you may even be the only interested party.
Better Prices: Because there’s often a lack of competition there’s less chance you’ll end up in a bidding war that will drive the price up. This leads to better prices for buyers.
More Time to Make a Deal: With fewer buyers putting pressure on the seller there’s often more time to negotiate. This can take the pressure off and allow you to consider all of your options before agreeing to anything.
Privacy: Are you someone who wants your real estate purchases to stay out of the public eye? Buying off-marketing properties allows your deals to remain private.
Whether you want to avoid competition, are seeking a little more discretion, or simply looking to find some hidden real estate gems, searching for off-market listings is an excellent investment strategy.
We’ve established all the reasons why you should be looking for listings that aren’t widely advertised. But how exactly do you find these properties?
Here are 12 strategies to try:
When it comes to how to access off-market properties, the best place to start is a good real estate broker. There’s a common misconception that brokers only have access to real estate listings, when in fact they can help you find virtually any property you’re looking for.
These professionals have numerous industry connections and are often the first to know when a property becomes available, even if it’s off-market. The best brokers can give you inside information and know exactly where to find off-market properties.
Speak with a number of brokers and find one you trust who’s also well connected. If you partner with the right one they’ll be able to inform you as soon as they hear about any properties you might be interested in.
Another person who can help you is a real estate wholesaler. These people aren’t registered real estate agents. Rather, they are savvy investors who find properties, negotiate a selling price, and then assign the contract to another investor for a fee.
More often than not, the deals wholesalers are involved in are off-market. So, if you’re wondering where to find off-market properties wholesalers may be the answer. Check with your network to see if you can locate any wholesalers in your area. They’ll likely be a valuable contact for you during your search.
You may be surprised to learn that when it comes to real estate it isn’t just sellers who are advertising. Many savvy investors also pay for advertising to let potential sellers know that they’re looking to buy.
Today’s online ads give you plenty of options that allow you to reach a number of sellers in your area. Google Ads and Facebook advertising are the two most prominent and can be used together to target your ideal property owner.
Do your research and determine which demographics are most likely to be selling the type of property you’re looking for. Once you’re ready, launch your campaign and see if anyone contacts you with a potential deal.
This is an extension of our last tip, but it’s a little more old school. Believe it or not, direct mail marketing is still extremely effective and a number of investors regularly use it to find off-market properties for sale.
Like advertising, the key here is to research your ideal seller to ensure you’re targeting the right people with your campaign. Then, send postcards or letters to possible sellers that outline your interest and your proposal.
Oftentimes, people aren’t even thinking about selling until someone puts the idea in their head. Because of this, a good direct mail campaign can help you gain access to properties before anyone else.
Just because a property isn’t listed on conventional listings doesn’t mean you can’t find it online. There are a number of sites where sellers can post their property if they’re selling it themselves, so it’s worth performing a search.
Some of the best places to look are:
For Sale by Owner
It’s a good idea to check these listings regularly. While they’re not viewed as often as more conventional real estate listings there are still a number of investors who are reviewing these sites for deals. The sooner you spot an off-market property for sale the better chance you have to get to the seller before someone else does.
It’s not as common anymore with so many online listings available, but you might occasionally find a potential investment property listed in the newspaper. These are likely off-market properties being sold directly by the owner, meaning they aren’t as widely advertised as those on conventional real estate listings.
Like online listings, it’s a good idea to check newspapers regularly and often to help you beat out other investors who have the same idea.
If you really think about it you likely have a large network of people you know in your local area. Just because they aren’t brokers or investors doesn’t mean they can’t help you in your search. It’s possible they’ve heard of an off-market commercial property for sale that meets your criteria.
Get in the habit of mentioning to people that you’re looking to buy. Have business cards ready so you can hand them out if someone is interested. Even if they don’t know of anything it’s possible they might hear about something in the future. And when they do they’ll be able to connect you to the seller.
Builders and contractors are also good contacts to have if you’re looking for off-market listings. They’re usually in the know about real estate projects that were abandoned because the owner ran out of financing.
These sorts of situations offer the perfect opportunity for investors. The owner is usually grateful to unload the property and recoup their losses, and you can often get a great investment before it hits the open market.
Build relationships with local builders and contractors and let them know that you’re interested in buying if anything becomes available. If you prove yourself to be trustworthy they’ll be happy to share valuable information as soon as they have it.
If you want to expand your network and possibly get some inside information you should definitely consider attending some local real estate events.
Join your local real estate investment association and look into any forums or online groups that you can be a part of. Check in regularly to see when these groups are meeting.
As always, let people know you’re looking to invest and give them an idea what you’re looking for. You never know when you’ll run into someone who has a great lead for you.
If you want to be the first to discover off-market properties then it’s a good idea to do frequent public records searches. This is because foreclosures and short sale properties are often listed here, giving you a heads up about potential opportunities.
You can find these announcements on state and municipal websites, as well as newspapers. Websites like HUD Home Store will also occasionally provide this sort of information, and you can even set up alerts for real estate announcements to ensure you never miss anything.
Similar to our last tip, real estate auctions provide you with the opportunity to bid on properties that have been repossessed or foreclosed on.
With a foreclosure, a lender is trying to make back the balance of a loan after the borrower is no longer willing to pay. These types of sales are often for below market value as the property is sold “as is” and the lender is more concerned about recouping their loan than making a profit.
Auctions can also feature real estate owned (REO) properties. These are properties that are owned by lenders after they were unsuccessful in selling them through foreclosure. These are some of the best off-market opportunities as lenders are usually eager to sell.
As you can see, there are a number of contacts and channels you can pursue if you want to find off-market listings. But sometimes the best strategy you can use is to simply get in your car, take a drive, and look for potential investment opportunities.
Keep your eye out for vacant lots or properties that are in disrepair, as these are the usual signs of an off-market real estate opportunity. Even if the property isn’t for sale the owner will likely consider an offer if they aren’t currently doing anything with it.
Make note of the addresses of any properties you find and use that information to track down the owner through county records. If you get some contact information reach out to them and ask them about the property and whether they’re willing to sell.
Sometimes in order to find the best deals, you need to work harder than your competitors. That means staying on top of industry trends, doing additional research on potential investments, and looking for opportunities that aren’t readily advertised to the public.
Off-market properties represent one of the best ways for you to uncover excellent properties for below market prices. If you’re willing to put in the extra time this could be an extremely profitable strategy for you.
Are you interested in finding off-market properties for sale? Teletare’s team of experienced real estate brokers is here to assist you with your search. Reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more.
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