How Realtors Can Find Homes Before They’re Listed

Posted on: June 27, 2023

Buying a home is a stressful process. It’s akin to running a race. Once a house is listed, buyers sprint to beat other buyers across the finish line. One of the benefits of purchasing a home that is not listed is the lack of competition. Buying a house off the market eases the stress and competition traditionally found on the public market.

While there are likely to be no competing offers, working with an experienced agent is essential to ensure that you’re not overpaying for the house once the property is appraised. The realtor will help you in many ways, such as navigating the differences in closing on the property, as there may not be an escalation clause or appraisal contingency included in the initial contract.

Network, network, network

An experienced real estate agent has an extensive network of other realtors and homebuyers. They can reach out to their network, share their listings before they hit the market, or share listings they hope to acquire soon.

Agents can also contact homeowners directly to see if they are interested in selling. Some homeowners prefer to sell their homes without listing. Sometimes it is because the house needs work, or the homeowner wants to maintain their privacy, or they aren’t actively looking to move yet.

Your realtor can be a part of a select group to hear about a new property for sale before it is officially listed. These kinds of listings are known as private listings, which are properties sold through word-of-mouth. Private listings help maintain a seller’s privacy. Houses on the private market are photographed, staged, and sent out to local members of the Top Agent Network and to agents at the firm. Word spreads about the property, and realtors can reach out to the selling agent to express interest in the property on the buyer’s behalf.

Explore the neighborhood

Before your realtor can dive in, it’s crucial to provide them with a list of things you need in your house. This can include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, but it should also include what you would like in your new neighborhood. Making this list helps you and your realtor narrow the search and find your perfect home.

Once you have the list ready and know what neighborhood you want to focus your search in, your realtor can begin scouting the area. They’ll go to open houses on your behalf, even if the listing isn’t right for you, to connect with the realtor and meet with neighbors and those in attendance who might be interested in selling their house.

Contact HOA boards or neighborhood groups

Many homes for sale in the D.C. metro area are part of a homeowners association, which can be an excellent resource for realtors. The realtor can contact the HOA board to see if any residents are interested in selling their property. This lets residents contact the realtor anytime if they decide to sell their property or know if a neighbor plans to list their property soon. Additionally, realtors will scour neighborhood groups, such as forums on NextDoor or Facebook, to learn about soon-to-be-listed homes.

Navigate foreclosures and pre-foreclosures

If a homeowner is unable to pay their mortgage, their property will likely end up in foreclosure, which means ownership of the property reverts to the bank, and the bank will sell it. A pre-foreclosure occurs when a homeowner has outstanding payments, but the bank has not formally foreclosed on the property.

Navigating homes in foreclosures and pre-foreclosures is much more challenging and can take significantly longer to close on the property. There’s no telling when a bank will list a foreclosed property on the market, and many banks cannot schedule a foreclosure sale until the property is listed on the market. Pre-foreclosures are public records, so your realtor can reach out to the homeowner and see if they’re interested in selling.

The realtor can also look at websites that show available “HUD” homes, which are government-owned properties. These homes are owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development when a homeowner defaults on an FHA-insured loan, which sends the property into foreclosure. The government then relists the home, usually at a lower price. There are some requirements that a buyer needs to meet in order to buy a HUD home, but they can be a great option.

Social media and mass mailing

Traditional mailings are also a way your realtor can find off-the-market homes. You and your realtor can work together to write a letter to send to residents in the neighborhood. This letter will express your interest in moving to the area and ask if anyone is open to selling soon. This allows homeowners time to think about their long-term plans and determine if selling soon is a good option. Using social media can be a useful resource, as well. You and your realtor can share your desire to buy a home, and friends, family, and followers can put the word out to a larger circle.

A trusted realtor at Premier Partners will scour the current listings and go above and beyond to find your dream property, even if it hasn’t been officially listed yet. They will also explore the private market listing network, such as the Top Agent Network, which has hundreds of off-the-market properties listed monthly. Buying a home that isn’t on the market yet provides access to the best neighborhoods in the D.C. area, such as Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan.

Buying a house before it’s listed is a great way to avoid the stress of the D.C. real estate market. As you and your realtor begin the off-market search, it’s essential to make sure you’re prepared to buy a house. Ensuring you are pre-qualified for a loan makes the process more efficient and smooth. Now that you are ready to find your dream home, contact Premier Partners today.

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