Off market properties are a great way to optimize your rate of return in real estate investing. However, beginner investors are frequently at a disadvantage as they don’t know where to find properties for sale other than on the MLS.
In this article we’ve put together a list of the 16 best ways to find off market real estate deals to help you get started in real estate investing.
What Is an Off Market Property?
Even if the name sounds fancy, off market properties are simply real estate properties for sale that are not listed on the MLS.
First-time real estate investors don’t always realize that to find houses for sale, you don’t necessarily have to refer to the Multiple Listing Service. There are many other ways to find even more lucrative investment properties for sale. An off market deal comes with many advantages, so you should definitely consider this option.
What Are the Benefits of Off Market Deals?
First and foremost, off market properties usually sell for much cheaper than MLS listings. Property sellers who choose this method don’t have to worry about paying agent’s fees, so they are likely to ask for a lower price.
Second, as a property buyer, you enjoy a lower competition. MLS online listings get automatically displayed on numerous real estate websites such as Realtor.com and Zillow (as well as Mashvisor). This means that millions of real estate investors and home buyers have access to them, so they can start competing and outbidding each other right away.
Third, including off market properties in your investment property search gives you access to more opportunities. Limiting yourself to one type of homes for sale – such as MLS online listings – deprives you of some wonderful opportunities waiting for you.
How to Find Off Market Properties in 2021?
Without further ado, here are the 16 best ways to find off market properties in 2021:
1. Real Estate Agents
While it’s true that traditionally only real estate agents and brokers have access to MLS listings, this doesn’t mean that they only work with these properties. Agents are professionals who are familiar with all aspects of the local US housing market including off market deals. So one of the first places where you should enquire when buying an investment property is local agents.
2. Mashvisor (The Best Source of Off Market Properties for Real Estate Investors)
The Mashvisor real estate app has not only MLS online listings but also different sorts of off market real estate deals. We have foreclosures, short sale homes, and bank-owned homes from Auction.com. Moreover, we have FSBOs listed by other users including both real estate investors and homeowners. In addition, we have comprehensive property owner data for the entire US real estate market.
The latter means that you can find the owner of a property in any US city or town by simply entering the property address. You will be provided not only with the name of the home owner but also with his/her phone number and email address so that you can contact him/her and ask about his/her intentions to sell the property.
Most importantly, all properties listed on the Mashvisor real estate investment tools platform – as well as any other off market property – are provided with detailed rental property analysis. This means that you not only get to find non-MLS listings but also see right away how much profit you can expect. Mashvisor is a leader among the best real estate sites for investors as we provide readily available investment property analysis for both traditional and Airbnb rental properties, based on the performance of actual rental comps.
3. Direct Mail Marketing
This is one of the most traditional ways to find off market properties. This strategy refers to sending targeted mail or email to property owners hoping that they might be interested in selling their home to you.
You might be surprised as a beginner real estate investor to hear that many people never considered the opportunity to sell their home until they heard from a potential buyer. That’s an excellent way to buy houses for sale near me by owner.
With Professional subscription to the Mashvisor real estate software platform, you can send email campaigns to home owners across the US. That’s one of the most efficient forms of direct mail directing out there.
4. Bank Websites
As mentioned above, foreclosures, REOs, short sale homes, and bank-owned homes are an abundant source of off market real estate deals. If you are looking for a cheap property for sale to start your real estate investment career, you should check out the websites of both major national banks and small local banks. They have a special section which lists currently foreclosed homes.
5. Public Records
Online county records is another place where you should look in your search for foreclosures and short sales. Sometimes they also feature pre-foreclosures, which is a great opportunity for smart real estate investors to find good deals. Properties listed on public records cost significantly less than MLS database listings.
6. Real Estate Auctions
In some cases dozens of foreclosed homes sell on live auctions and online auctions on a single day. What is even more important is that experienced rental property investors have been able to buy an income property for a few hundred dollars on real estate auctions. While this is a very rare opportunity, it is possible. Overall, attending a live auction or bidding on an online auction is a resourceful way to buy a cheap investment property.
7. Other Real Estate Investors
Another top way to find off market properties is to talk to fellow property investors. Successful real estate investors buy and sell a few rental properties a year. They are always looking for the next profitable opportunity, so they will be happy to hear your proposal. Even if they don’t have a specific property to sell at the moment, they might be able to help you find a good off market deal elsewhere. So think about joining a real estate investment club to meet fellow investors.
You don’t have to limit your investment property search to your real estate network only. You should ask around your family, friends, colleagues, and other acquaintances who are property owners. Without saying it out loud or without even realizing it themselves, they might be looking for an opportunity to sell their home and buy another one. A personal network is often one of the best ways to find homes for sale in my area.
9. Real Estate Contractors
Going back to professionals in the real estate industry, contractors are another group you should talk to when looking for an off market property. At all times they have an inventory of real estate properties for sale. With this real estate investing strategy, you might be able to buy a property before it’s even finished. That’s a fireproof way to beat the competition.
10. Real Estate Wholesalers
Even if you are not planning to go into wholesaling real estate, it’s a good idea to have a few wholesalers in your network. A real estate wholesaler sells off market properties below market value every few weeks or a couple of months. So this can turn into an ongoing source of good deals for you as a beginner real estate investor looking for the best way to grow your investment portfolio.
11. House Flippers
Another one of the 16 best ways to find off market properties in 2021 is to talk to investors flipping houses. Similar to wholesalers, flippers sell renovated properties all the time. Although you will need to be ready to pay a slightly higher price, flipped houses will be in an excellent state which means that you can charge a higher rental rate and get a very good rental income. Moreover, you will not need to worry about fixes and repairs for a few years.
12. Professional Property Managers
To find off market real estate deals, it’s worth talking to rental property managers. They are familiar with hundreds of real estate investors who are always ready to sell one of their income properties, as soon as they come across a good opportunity. Even if you don’t use the services of a property management company, you can enquire if they are aware of anyone selling a rental property. You can mention that you are planning to have them manage your new investment property once you find a house to buy.
13. Driving for Dollars
Despite the emergence of online listings, you can look for an off market property in the good, old, traditional way. Driving for dollars remains a viable option in 2021. Just drive around your neighborhood and look for “For Sale” signs. Some of these properties might not be listed on the MLS. Additionally, you can also check out homes which don’t seem to be currently for sale and contact the owners with an offer they cannot resist.
14. Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is one of the best free forms of real estate marketing. If you want to find off market properties, just tell people around that you are looking for a house. Next time they hear about someone selling a home, they will remember to tell you.
15. Real Estate Websites
Before we end, we will go back to the best real estate sites for off market properties. After all, with the emergence of big data, predictive analytics, and AI real estate investor websites are a top source of all types of deals. You can expand your investment property search beyond listings websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com. You can also look at foreclosure websites like Auction.com. You can even consider rental listings websites like Abodo to see if they have any properties which might be the right fit for you. Once you’ve found a property you want to buy, you know what to do. Simply look up the property owner and contact him/her.
Last, although we mentioned foreclosed homes a few times throughout this article, in 2021 they deserve their own position as one of the best ways to find off market properties for real estate investing. Over the past couple of years, the performance of the US housing market has been largely dictated by the Coronavirus pandemic. To alleviate the economic situation of homeowners as well as some real estate investors affected by Covid-19, a foreclosure moratorium was introduced in March 2020.
As a result, there has been a decrease in the number of foreclosed properties in the first half of 2021. However, as the foreclosure ban comes to an end on June 30th, 2021, this trend is expected to reverse. Savvy investors might find many new foreclosures at banks and other financing institutions. So, you should definitely keep an eye on these off market deals in the second half of the year.