8 Ways To Find Off-Market Properties in Your Market
Looking for ways to find off-market properties for your real estate investing business? Here are the top 8 methods.
The real estate market has never been as crowded with investors as it is today.
The popularization of wholesaling is a huge contributor to the clutter — it’s a low-budget way for anyone to get started investing in real estate.
That comes with pros and cons.
And to be honest, only the determined and resilient investors survive.
Still, there are plenty of deals to be found. If you’re determined and resilient — if you’re ready to find off-market properties to fuel your real estate investing business — then this guide is going to help.
We’ll show you 8 proven methods for finding off-market properties. And we’ll explain everything you should know about them.
Let’s dive in.
By the way, before we get started, you should know that we have a challenge which will show you how to systematically find and close deals using our software. It’s $300 to join. But it’s well worth the money. If you’re serious about growing your business and doing more deals, go here.
What is an Off-Market Property?
In real estate investing, an off-market property is a piece of real estate that hasn't been listed on the MLS by a real estate agent, but that the owner still might be interested in selling.
The properties represent an opportunity for real estate investors because they're not being publicly marketed.
That gives you, as the investor, a chance to get in on a deal before other investors know about it. And it gives you the opportunity to negotiate directly with the seller — without competition from other buyers.
The challenge, of course, is finding these off-market properties. Because if they're not being marketed, how will you ever know they're available?
Luckily, there are a number of ways to find off-market properties. We'll show you 8 of them below.
But first, let's talk about the benefits of investing in off-market properties.
The Benefits of Buying Off-Market Properties
Finding your own deals is a key part of building a successful real estate investing business.
That means not relying (at least, not all the time) on wholesalers, MLS listings, or real estate agents.
Instead, it means having a system in place for generating your own leads.
It's not easy. But it is simple. And it's worth the investment.
Investors who focus on finding their own deals enjoy a number of advantages, including:
1. Greater profits: When you find your own deals, you don't have to split the profits with a middleman. That means more money in your pocket.
2. More control: With off-market properties, you're in the driver's seat. You get to choose the property, the price, and the terms of the deal.
3. Less competition: Most investors don't focus on finding their own deals. That means less competition for you. And that gives you a better chance of success.
4. Faster closings: When you're not competing with other buyers, you can close on your off-market deals quickly — often in as little as two weeks.
5. Better relationships: When you're generating your own leads, you build relationships with motivated sellers. That gives you a steady stream of deals — and a built-in referral network.
Of course, finding off-market deals isn’t all rose peddles and blueberry bushes.
Here are some “cons” you should keep in mind (but don’t let them dissuade you from creating systems to find your own off-market deals)...
1. Requires more work: When you're not working with a real estate agent or a wholesaler, you have to do more legwork to find the deal.
2. Takes more time: It takes time to build relationships with motivated sellers. And it takes time to generate your own leads. If you're looking for a quick fix, off-market deals are not for you.
3. Do your own due diligence: With off-market deals, you're on your own when it comes to due diligence. You can't just rely on a real estate agent to do it for you.
The good news is, none of those cons matter if you’re determined to get your real estate investing business off the ground.
Put in the work, trust the process, and do your due diligence.
Why Do Owners Sell Off-Market Properties to Investors?
You might be wondering... why would a homeowner who isn't listed on the MLS and who isn't working with a real estate agent want to sell their property to me for a discounted cash offer?
Here are some reasons why...
1. They need to sell fast. In many cases, owners who sell off-market are looking for a quick sale. They may be facing foreclosure, relocating for a job, going through a divorce, or dealing with some other type of financial hardship.
2. They don't want the hassle. Selling a property on the MLS is a lot of work. There's the cleaning, the staging, the showings, and all the other hassles that come with it. Some owners just don't want to deal with it. They'd rather take a discounted cash offer and be done with it.
3. They don't want to pay commissions. In most cases, when you sell on the MLS, you have to pay a real estate agent 5-6% of the sales price in commissions. That's a lot of money. Some owners would rather take a lower offer and avoid paying commissions altogether.
4. The home is vacant. Some people own properties that they don't know what to do with. Maybe they inherited it. Maybe it was a rental that was abused by tenants. Or maybe it was a real estate investment that went sideways. Whatever the case, these people are often interested in selling fast for cash.
5. They want privacy. Selling a home on the MLS is often a public affair -- open houses and online listings might attract attention that homeowners don't want. If they sell off-market to an investor like you, they can avoid all that.
8 Proven Ways to Find Off-Market Properties in Your Market
Now that you understand what an off-market property is, the benefits of buying them as an investor, and why owners sell “off market”, let’s talk about how you can find these properties.
8 strategies, in particular.
And to be clear, these are not theoretical.
These tactics work for tens of thousands of real estate investors around the U.S. — if you do these things consistently, then you’ll find deals. Period.
1. Driving For Dollars
Let’s start with the best piece of advice we can give you.
Get in your car, drive around the neighborhoods where you want to find off-market properties, write down the address of homes that look like they might be distressed, contact the owners, and make them an offer.
This is called driving for dollars.
And it’s the single best way to find off-market deals.
Set a goal of finding 100 to 500 properties per week by driving for dollars — write down the addresses and some notes about what’s wrong with each property. For instance…
“Roof needs replaced”
“House is outdated”
“Gutters need replaced”
You’re not just looking for properties that are completely distressed — you’re also looking for homes that look like they’re just getting left a little behind in terms of maintenance.
Many of the deals you’ll do will come from these middle-of-the-road properties.
Check out the video below to learn how Tyler Austin, our founder and a very successful real estate investor drives for dollars.
He will even show you how he makes money on the back-end by selling the information to contractors for those properties that don’t turn into deals.
2. Juice Your Data
Okay. Let’s say you took our advice.
You’re finding 100-500 off-market properties per month by driving for dollars.
Obviously, you need to contact those homeowners. That means scrubbing and organizing your data (all of those addresses you collected), skip tracing them to find phone numbers and owner address (don’t assume that the owner lives in the property), and then reaching out.
You can cold call them, text them, or send direct mail.
Do all three.
In fact, here’s our full marketing plan for real estate investors — it consists of…
Find The Leads — Send direct mail to your entire D4D list. Cold call them. And send text messages. This will make sure you’re contacting everyone via their preferred method.
Record Feedback Data — As you start contacting prospects, you’ll get feedback. Some people will tell you not to contact them. Some will tell you that you have the wrong number. Some will say they might be interested in 3-6 months, but not right now. Some won’t respond at all. You need software (*cough* REISift *cough*) to track all of this information. Otherwise you’ll create chaos.
Follow Up — Once you’ve contacted all of the property owners (or attempted to) and you have recorded the feedback information, remove the DNC (Do Not Contact) records from your marketing campaigns, mark the wrong phone numbers as “incorrect”, create reminders to follow-up with semi-interested prospects, and take everyone who didn’t respond through another marketing cycle. That’s the process… and it’s how you can find deals using your existing data.
Rinse and repeat.
3. Facebook Marketplace
To be honest, all you need to find off-market deals as a real estate investor is those top two strategies.
The rest of this article is going to provide you with some additional supplemental ideas… but D4D and juicing your data is the magic combo.
Having said that, you can also find some off-market properties on Facebook Marketplace.
Just go to Facebook Marketplace and peruse two categories: “Home Sales” and “Property Rentals”...
You can often find properties that homeowners have listed here that aren’t listed on the MLS — often because they’re selling FSBO.
As for rentals, look for ones that have been listed for a while and/or that look like they might be outdated or in slight distress.
If the landlords are struggling to find tenants, they might be willing to sell.
Get the addresses, and take them through the marketing process outlined in the “Juice Your Data” section.
We're going to mention this strategy because, every once in a while, you'll be able to find deals on Craigslist.
But the truth is that the platform is absolutely cluttered with wholesalers trying to find motivated sellers.
Facebook Marketplace, in our experience, is better.
If you want to give it a try, the strategy is similar to Facebook Marketplace.
Go to Craigslist and select the “real estate for sale” and the “apts / housing” categories.
You’ll find tons of people who are trying to profit from or sell their properties — some of these people might fit the bill for what you’re looking for.
5. Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth might be the most underrated and under-discussed deal-finding strategy in the real estate investing world.
Because you can’t just pay for people to tell their clients, friends, or family about the service you offer (purchasing homes fast for cash).
You have to woo them.
And that’s why it’s always important to provide your sellers with an exceptional experience, to network, to build friendships, to get to know realtors and contractors and lawyers, to talk to neighbors when you’re driving for dollars…
… to be part of the community.
Do those things — commit yourself to building a business, a brand, and to providing wonderful service — and you’ll get deals from the wildest and randomest places.
6. Be Consistent
At the risk of stating the obvious…
The real estate investors who win aren’t the ones who drive for dollars “every once in a while”, or send direct mail “when it makes sense”, or cold call “when they feel like it”. They are the ones who execute deal-find and lead-gen methods consistently, every single week, for years.
And they reap the rewards.
Fancy cars, big businesses, lots of money, and most importantly, freedom.
If you want those things, then you’ve got to be consistent. You can’t quit when the going gets hard — and it always gets hard.
7. Property Auctions
If you live in an area with a lot of foreclosures, then you might be able to find deals at property auctions.
The trick here is that these types of properties often need quite a bit of work, so they’re not for the faint of heart — you often have to bid and buy sight unseen.
BUT… if you have the stomach for it and you’re willing to put in the extra effort, then you might be able to find some real gems.
Technically, using wholesalers to find your deals is the opposite of finding your own off-market deals.
That doesn't mean you can't supplement some of your deal-find efforts by working with wholesalers.
Just remember that, because wholesalers are selling their contracts and not actual properties, you'll likely have to pay a little bit more to cover their assignment fee.
But if it's a competitive market and you're struggling to find deals on your own, then working with wholesalers might be a good option.
We hope you enjoyed this article on how to find off market properties.
If you're serious about real estate investing, then these strategies should help you get started.
But remember, the most important thing is to be consistent.
The more consistent you are with your deal-finding and lead-generation efforts, the more deals you'll find, and the more money you'll make.
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