Investing in real estate is a numbers game; there’s incredible value to be had in quantity. That’s not to say quality isn’t important, but rather that there’s an inherent value associated with volume. The more leads investors bring in, the more likely they are to close on a deal. Therefore, investors intent on increasing their chances of landing a deal should exercise every means of finding a property at their disposal, not the least of which includes pocket listings. If you are looking to increase your lead volume, these exclusive listings are a great complement to every investor’s acquisition strategy.
Otherwise known as an exclusive listing or off-market listing, a pocket listing is a property that is currently up for sale, yet hasn’t been advertised on any major outlets. More specifically, off-market listings are deliberately left off the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), and typically anything else resembling an advertisement portal. That said, the definition of a an off market listing is ambiguous to say the least. While the definition of an exclusive listing suggests a lack of advertising, it is possible for some selling agents to downplay their marketing efforts, as opposed to ignoring them entirely. That means you may find hints of a quiet listing on sites like Zillow and Redfin. Therein lies the appeal of pocket listings to real estate investors: the inherent absence of outside attention. The lack of advertising suggests fewer people will be interested in the subject property, let alone know about it.
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Due to their deliberate attempt to remain private, quiet listings have developed a reputation for “playing hard to get.” The absence of pocket listings from the MLS makes them harder to find than their traditional counterparts, and rightfully so: the purpose of an exclusive listing is, after all, to remain private. It is worth noting, however, that while more difficult to locate, it is entirely possible for today’s investors to find exclusive listings on their own accord. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to find off-market listings:
There are several reasons a homeowner may choose not to list their property on the MLS. First and foremost, there’s an entire contingent of sellers that would prefer to keep the sale of their home private. For whatever reason, there are countless individuals who may not want the public to know their home has been placed up for sale.
“Some people don’t want the general public to know they’re selling, or don’t want to have pictures of the insides of their homes all over the internet—especially celebrities,” explains Realtor Nathaniel Pitchon Getzels of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Los Angeles.
Those less concerned with privacy, however, may covet the idea of a pocket listing for an entirely different reason. Many sellers, for that matter, may exercise their right not to list their home as a means of testing the market. Done correctly, an off-market listing could actually help sellers land on a more competitive price point before they actually list it on the MLS.
Last, but certainly not least, off-market listings are often used by those that aren’t entirely sure they want to sell in the first place. Those “on the fence” about whether they want to sell or not may choose an exclusive listing strategy to make their decision easier. There are plenty of homeowners that don’t necessarily want to list their homes, but would consider selling if the right opportunity presented itself.
Homeowners aren’t the only ones that stand to benefit from a quiet listing. Real estate investors that know how to find exclusive listings could find themselves with a significant advantage. Not surprisingly, pocket listing homes should result in considerably less competition. Investors fortunate enough to come across an off-market listing shouldn’t have to compete with too many potential suitors. Whereas traditionally listed homes may receive upwards of 20 offers in competitive markets, the process of real estate pocket listing will reduce the amount of competition, effectively making it easier for a savvy investor to acquire the deal.
Pocket listing real estate advice will certainly differ from professional to professional, but there are several tips I would consider to be universal. Below you’ll find a list of my favorite off-market listing tips to make your experience more enjoyable:
While pocket listings may be more difficult to locate than their traditionally listed counterparts, they are far from impossible to uncover. With a little patience and the aforementioned strategies, investors can increase their lead flow through the use of pocket listings.