Selling a house can be a lengthy process. Listings can linger on the market for months and the intense competition in the marketplace can make it difficult for your property to stand out. This is especially the case when you’re dealing with a buyer’s market. But is there a way to bypass all of this? Can you sell a house without listing it? The answer is yes. Contrary to common misconception, there is a myriad of ways to sell a house without having to go through the MLS. One such method is off market listings. In this blog, we will explain the concept of off market properties and outline the top ways for selling a property off market.
Understanding Off Market Real Estate
Off market listings, or pocket listings as they’re sometimes called, are property sales that take place outside of Multiple Listing Service (MLS) platforms. An off market listing is not advertised to the public and is therefore targeted to a smaller and much more specialized audience. The fact that these transactions take place outside of the market has made off market properties coveted by an increasing number of sophisticated real estate investors. Generally speaking, access to such properties can only be granted by a premium broker.
Selling a House Off Market vs On Market
Before detailing the ways of how to sell your house off market, let’s go over a quick comparison between off market and on market listings.
The most obvious difference between the two approaches is the level of flexibility that they offer. When you sell a house off market, the transaction is conducted on your own terms. As a matter of fact, you have total control over who can see your house and you can be as selective as you want when screening potential property buyers. On market listings, on the other hand, get more exposure and are therefore subject to housing market trends.
Discretion is a key component of off markets listings. There are several reasons why a property owner might prefer to keep the sale off the radar. For example, some people would like to avoid having photos of their property plastered all over the web. Others simply don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they’re selling their property. Another reason to consider selling an investment property off market is to avoid alerting an existing tenant.
3- Ability to Test the Real Estate Market
Due to their relaxed and selective nature, off market listings can give you a good idea of your property’s marketability. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to determining the asking price for your house. Even if you don’t manage to sell a house off market, nothing will be lost. Moreover, the experience itself can be an indicator that the investment property might be better suited for MLS listings.
4- Finding Buyers
This is another major difference between off market and on market listings. A high number of local buyers can be found through MLS listings. On the other hand, opting to sell a house off market can attract fewer but more serious buyers. This can help you close the sale relatively quickly and with fewer showings. The only downside of the small number of buyers is the lack of a bidding war for your income property. This significantly lowers your chances of generating a massive return on investment from the sale.
Public listings often require significant marketing efforts in order to stand out. As we mentioned earlier, the housing market can be extremely competitive and catching the attention of serious real estate investors or buyers can be a tricky process. Conversely, pocket listings occupy their own niche and don’t require a lot of effort to attract a smaller but more specialized audience.
Now that the distinction between off market and on market listings is clear, let’s delve into how you can sell a house without listing it.
How to Sell a House Without Listing It
If you want to sell a house without listing it, there are two options that have proven to be effective. The first one is working with real estate agents, and the second is using exclusive real estate listing websites like Mashvisor. Let’s take a closer look at these two strategies.
1- Working with Real Estate Agents
Retaining the services of a real estate agent can help you streamline the process of selling your property. Most agents have access to potential buyers who are looking for exclusive deals outside of the market. More importantly, an agent can connect you to a buyer that fits your criteria. It is actually not uncommon for agents to have email lists of clients who are actively looking for great real estate deals in your area. Check some local brokerage firms and inquire about how they handle off market deals to get a better idea of what to expect.
What to Watch Out for When Working with Real Estate Agents
While there are very few risks associated with off market listings, there are still some conflicts of interest that you need to be aware of. Working with a real estate agent on an off market deal creates something called a dual agency sale. This is a situation where an agent is representing both parties in the transaction. Needless to say, this can cast some doubts over the agent’s loyalties. It’s worth noting that this situation is perfectly legal in some states. It’s up to all parties involved to navigate this conflict of interest without compromising the deal.
2- Use Exclusive Real Estate Platforms
A number of real estate listing websites offer their members the option to sell a house off market. A perfect example of this is Mashvisor. Whether you are an agent or a homeowner, you can easily put your home for sale and list it as off market on the Mashvisor Property Marketplace. This option is not only the most convenient, but it is also free. Brokerage firms and their affiliate agents tend to charge exorbitant fees for pocket listings.
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Yes, you can sell a house without listing it. But, like anything in real estate, you should expect both pros and cons when you sell a house off market. Ultimately, it is up to you to examine every aspect of this process and decide if it’s truly the best option for you.