One of the most common questions that home searchers ask us is “how can I find off-market homes?” It makes sense to ask — after all, off-market homes are one of those terms that real estate agents used to throw around willy-nilly, without actually expanding on what they mean. 

In the past, an off-market home was pretty much just any house that the owners hadn’t “actively” listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The agent who represented the seller could still talk about the home in their ads, show pictures on their social media, and openly talk about the “non-listed” listing

But then, something changed at the end of 2019. A lot of Multiple Listing Services — including the MLS for the Washington DC area — set new regulations that restricted real estate agents from putting a home online as an off-market and then sharing information about it. 

So now, buyers don’t know how to find off-market homes — because they are no longer listed online and because most real estate agents don’t have off-market homes that they can show you. 

At the Keri Shull Team, however, we specialize in finding and winning homes off-market; and we’re going to share the best way to find off-market properties with you today. 

But before we dig into how you can find off-market homes, let’s talk about why you would want to find one. 

Why Buy a Home Off-Market?

The benefits of buying an off-market home are pretty straightforward. When you buy a home off-market, you are generally not going to directly compete with other buyers. This means that you can avoid one of a home buyer’s most feared outcomes — a bidding war

If you don’t have a bidding war driving up the price — and bidding wars are especially common in seller’s markets like Washington DC and other neighborhoods in the DMV — you can usually get a better price when buying an off-market home. 

In many cases, off-market home purchases can also save you a lot of the stress that comes with buying a home. “On-market” purchases can consist of going online and finding a way to search for a home, driving out to a ton of different properties until you find one that suits your needs, then writing an offer on the home as quickly as possible, and hoping no one else submits a bid that the seller finds more compelling. 

That could be stressful, right? Some people don’t want to deal with this process, which is why they are interested in off-market homes. 

Here’s a common off-market home buying situation. 

  1. You tell your real estate agent what you need and want in a home. 
  2. They look through any off-market listings that they have access to (or, in the case of the Keri Shull Team, any off-market listings that the entire team has) and find a home that suits your needs. 
  3. If your agent finds a match, then they will work with you — and the home seller’s agent — to put together a compelling offer on the home
  4. Then, the seller decides whether or not to accept the offer. If they do, great! If not, you can submit a new offer — without being as worried about losing the home to a different buyer!

As you can see, the off-market home purchase can be a lot less stressful than buying a home on the open market. And, because it is easier to negotiate a favorable time frame when buying a home off-market, it’s a great option for people who are buying and selling a home at the same time. 

For these home searchers — who are commonly called move-up buyers — buying a home off-market is a great way to reduce the risk of making one of the common move-up buying mistakes. 

How can I find an Off-Market Home?

Well, due to the new MLS regulations that we mentioned above, it has become very difficult to find an off-market property by yourself. Off-market homes have truly become hidden gems that are not readily available online (the way they once were). 

These regulations also mean that the average real estate agent CANNOT help you find an off-market home! Because the properties can’t be advertised online, they are just as powerless as the average home searcher when it comes to locating these properties. In fact, a lot of these agents are lucky to do just 1 or 2 off-market deals in a year.

So, who has access to all these off-market properties?

Well, these amazing deals are only available to real estate teams who have vast networks of past clients and industry partners — like the Keri Shull Team! Our unique team structure allows us to match buyers with off-market homes and put you in your dream home before it even goes live in the MLS. This means that you can get into your new home faster, cheaper, and with less stress!

The Keri Shull Team has sold hundreds of homes off-market and we currently have over 160 off-market properties in our system that are waiting for a match!

These homes are located all across the DMV. So no matter if you are interested in living in Arlington VA, trying to find where to live in DC, or looking for your dream home or an investment property in any other neighborhood, we can help connect you directly to the seller!

If you are interested in learning more about the off-market properties currently in our system, make sure to check out our Priority Access program! This program lets you get the first shot at our off-market homes, so you have the advantage you need to get into your dream home without getting into a costly bidding war!

To learn more about whether an off-market property is the right move for your home search, you need to speak with a team that specializes in creatively finding houses! All you need to do is contact the Keri Shull Team today, or click here to schedule a time to meet with one of our home search experts!