As I walked my dogs down the street one morning, one of them stopped to sniff a mailbox. I happened to look up and saw a barely visible “For Sale By Owner” sign in a window nearby. My interest piqued, and as I began walking up the sidewalk then and there, I realized that the owner might not be happy with three curious huskies approaching the door. I turned back.

On the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the property. The house looked like it had not been well-maintained for a while. I suspected that if I got inside, it would have good bones. So I left the dogs in the house and went back immediately. As luck would have it, the owner answered the door immediately.

off market cash deals

She gave me the full story: She had been out of work for two years and was already heading toward foreclosure, but didn’t have the money for repairs. An incredible job offer across the country was extended to her, and all she had to do was sell her house to afford the move.

She just needed the right person to help her out.

What Are Off-Market Deals?

Off-market deals occur off the MLS, or multiple listing service. Real estate agents use the MLS as a consolidated database of listings. When an agent receives a listing, they put it on the MLS.

There’s usually a reason why a property is off the market. For example, the owner doesn’t want to deal with real estate professionals, or the property won’t qualify for a mortgage because it needs major repairs such as foundation work. Homeowners may find that they can’t sell their property at the price point they want or that their house won’t qualify for a mortgage.

What Does OFF Market Mean?

OFF market means that the property owner has temporarily pulled the listing from the market. An OFF market property may have had a low appraisal or a bad inspection that the homeowners must address. Or the homeowners may have decided that they want to wait to sell their property.

How to Find Off-Market Cash Deals in Your Community

Off-market cash deals are an excellent opportunity for you to help other people—and, of course, to build an investing business.

The homeowner I talked to couldn’t sell her property through traditional avenues. She needed to sell it quickly without any repairs, but the HVAC system and water heater were broken. She also owed enough to her bank that paying an agent’s commission was simply out of the question.

These are things that are uninsurable and render a property uninhabitable, but they’re also easily addressed by an investor. You want to find off-market cash deals more than anything as an investor because they’re simply more affordable.

But where do you go to find houses that aren’t currently on the market? Here are a few smart strategies to consider:

Buy Lead Lists

You can purchase lead lists from third-party sellers. Often, these lists include homeowners who are experiencing situations that would incline them to sell, such as divorce or bankruptcy. It’s one of the most popular strategies for winning off-market cash leads.

But the problem with lead lists is obvious. If you can buy a lead list, so can others. Lead lists are frequently purchased by multiple investment companies within the same area, leading to the individuals on the list being inundated by offers. And by the time you get the list, it may no longer be accurate.

Send Out Mailers

You’ve seen them, right? Those countless “We’ll buy your house for cash!” mailers? While mailers can be a great way to get your foot in the door, they can also be perceived as insensitive or aggressive to those who aren’t ready to sell. With mailers, you can’t know how high-quality a lead is when they connect with you; they could be prepared to sell or just want an estimate of how much their house is worth.

Search Online for FSBOs

You can build your own list of potential sellers by looking for motivated sellers online. Today, FSBOs will frequently post their houses online on Craigslist, Zillow, or Facebook Marketplace. The downside to working directly with these FSBOs is that they’re often very motivated to sell their homes independently and without the help of someone in the real estate industry. They may also have their houses priced unreasonably high.

Investigate Distressed Properties

Distressed properties are behind on taxes, about to be foreclosed on, or otherwise in a state of peril. An investor has to be extraordinarily sensitive and mindful when dealing with these properties; it’s possible that the seller has no interest in selling the home but is simply going through a difficult time.

Distressed properties can occur when families inherit properties due to a death and briefly lose sight of their finances. In other words, it’s important to note that a distressed property isn’t necessarily a property that someone wants to sell.

Reach Out to Expired Listings

Expired listings are listings that just didn’t sell. Whether the property needed too many repairs or was priced too high, the seller could not offload it.

Reaching out to expired listings can be a great way to give a property a second chance. But more often than not, there’s a reason the listing expired unsold. The property may just be unworkable, or it may have been hugely overpriced.

Network With Other Professionals

Networking as a real estate investor is critical. When you know enough agents, you’ll get calls before properties hit the market. You’ll get calls for properties that agents know won’t do well on the market and for properties that need to sell quickly. And you’ll know that as part of the agent’s duty, they’ll ensure the deal is also suitable for their client.

I have a great network; however, it took me nearly twenty years to build it. Most people who are just getting into real estate investing aren’t looking to make a living in ten years; they want to make one now.

As a real estate investor, I’ve found that I don’t want to convince someone to sell me their home. I want people to come to me to sell their homes. That’s where my skills are and where I want to spend most of my time.

Get Off Market Cash Deals To Come to You

My experience with the homeowner was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In reality, you’re not going to find most properties just by walking down the street. You need those deals to come to you.

The best way to get off-market deals is when the home seller calls you directly. That’s because:

  • They’re already interested and motivated to sell.
  • They’re at the decision-making part of the process and going to sell soon.
  • They’ve already decided that you could be a good option.

As an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, I’ve had interested home sellers reach out to me first countless times. They’ve already done their research, know that I work for a nationally trusted brand, and believe I could be the right solution to their problems.

HomeVestors® provides franchisees with initial week-long training, access to proprietary home valuation software, the nationally recognized “We buy ugly houses®” marketing campaign,  a robust lead generation platform, and a strong support network of other investors ready to help you find off-market cash deals. If you’re trying to build your investing business via off-market cash deals, HomeVestors® is here to help you every step of the way.

Contact HomeVestors® today to learn more about what becoming a franchisee could do for you.



Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.


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