3 Tips for Finding Off Market Real Estate Deals

If you’re currently in the market to buy a house, you’re probably already well aware that it’s a tough place to be! Low inventory, astronomical prices and bidding wars are the status quo in nearly every market right now.  The good news for buyers is that this won’t last forever and my best advice would be to settle in and wait until the market settles this coming fall.  The truth is, your money will go much farther and you will have so many more choices. Of course, if you can’t wait and need to buy a home now, here are 3 Amazing Strategies to help you land your off market dream house. As a real estate investor, I have had success every time I have used these strategies to help a friend or family find an off-market deal.

Strategy 1 – Facebook Online Yard Sales and Buy/Sell Groups

I have had 100% success with this strategy each and every time I have used it.  This is the strategy I used to find homes for my mother, my hairdresser, and a family from my son’s swim team.  If you have not already, you’re going to want to find and join the online yard sale groups for the areas that you’re interested in living.  Next you’ll want to create a very specific post introducing yourself and your family – let people know that you are looking for an off-market house for sale and that you are either already represented by a realtor or that you are choosing not to work with a realtor at this time. Make sure you let people know that you are not investors and that you are looking for a house that you will be moving into with your family. Include a picture!  If you’re not careful and deliberate here, you will end up with dozens of messages about houses that are already listed or messages from realtors looking to represent you. Next, let people know exactly what you are looking for – A house, a condo, a townhouse?  How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Garage? Is there a specific school district that you are seeking?

You’ll also want to share with the reader why you’re a great buyer.  Are you paying with cash or are you already pre-approved?  Are you willing to close quickly? Can you be flexible with their move-out date? Will you buy the house ‘as is’ or wave inspection repairs under a certain dollar amount?  Speaking from experience, there are many sellers who prefer to skip the entire listing process.  Maybe they prefer not to make any repairs or updates or don’t want the hassle of showings and inspections. Most often these types of sellers are simply looking to avoid paying thousands in realtor fees & closings costs.  Either way, these sellers exist and traditional buyers often miss the boat on these amazing opportunities.

If you’re already working with a realtor, you may want to negotiate some language regarding any homes that you find through your own efforts.  Don’t get me wrong, a realtor can still provide you a tremendous value in this process as far as providing comparable values, expertise and their resources with regards to title and ensuring the closing process is a smooth one.  Do your research here!

Strategy 2 – Create A Flyer & Walk The Neighborhoods You Love!

I can personally attest to the success of this strategy as it landed us our beloved family home! Make a list of the neighborhoods you love and handwrite a brightly written note introducing your family and sharing your intention of living in that neighborhood. A family picture would be a definite bonus. In your letter, authentically share what you love about the area & neighborhood and ask if they would consider calling you first should they have plans to sell in the future.  If they’re not looking to sell, but know of anyone that is – ask if they would share your letter.  Photocopy your letter a few hundred times and start canvasing the neighborhoods with your family.  Knock on doors and personally deliver the letter and chances are that you will turnover at least a few leads.  What I’ve found with this strategy is that people truly love being helpful – if they know of someone in their neighborhood getting ready to sell, they’re going to go out of their way to help them and to help you!  If you’re able, do your best to collect comps on the area prior to your door-knocking trip. If you find someone that is looking to sell, find out how much they want for the house and what’s important to them in the process.  If you can make someone’s life easier by avoiding the listing process and helping them to save some money in realtor fees, it will be a no-brainer.

Strategy 3 – Reach Out To A Local Real Estate Investor

As a real estate investor myself, I love sharing a deal as much as I love getting a deal.  To be honest, most of the houses that we buy are houses that are in extreme disrepair, dated or have major issues (mold, fire, water damage, hoarder houses).  Our goal is to fix and flip older homes. If you’re looking to buy a house with existing equity and are not afraid of buying a total fixer upper, you should reach out to local investors. Some investors wholesale, which means they do a lot of marketing to find off-market properties.  Now again, most of these properties are going to need major updating or repairs, but they also typically come with a good amount of built in equity.  If you have good project management skills, a bit of time to be patient with a rehab project and cash or a line of credit to work from for labor and materials – this can be a life changing option as it can allow you, in this crazy market, to immediately walk into a home with a strong equity position.  To find local investors in your area, simply google sell a house fast in ‘enter your desired location’.  Investors typically sell to other investors, but not always.  If you’re looking to work with an investor, it needs to be simple for them.  They typically work with cash buyers who forgo inspections and contingencies and who will close quickly.  This type of sale might not be for the faint of heart, but it does often come with some excellent financial rewards.

If you’re in the market for a house right now, I hope these strategies help in your search.  Good luck to you! Here’s a sample of a facebook ad that may be helpful!