Your new home may be the single most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. This is why it’s important to become familiar with some of the market lingo and jargon you’ll hear.

One term you may come across when looking for a property to purchase is “off-market,” as in off-market property listing or off-market real estate.

Most people have heard of putting your house on the market, but what does off market mean in real estate? What does it mean when a house is off the market, and how can buying off-market work to your advantage?

What Does Off Market Mean in Real Estate?

When you’re buying a property, whether it’s for investment purposes or not, you want to know you’re getting a good deal. Looking for off-market real estate deals is a great way to find properties at amazing prices.

What Is an Off Market Listing?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service, a private database system used by brokers to help clients buy and sell properties.  There are several websites on which you can view hundreds of regional MLS’s. These are kept up to date by realtors, usually on a daily basis. 

Most realtors also find that having their own website proves to be an invaluable marketing tool for advertising on-market properties and capturing more leads. has a beautiful and easy-to-use website builder to help you get your business online.

An off-market listing, however, refers to a listing that hasn’t been publicly advertised through an MLS or is being sold without public knowledge. Off-market properties are usually sold via word of mouth, through the broker, the broker’s network, and sometimes through more exclusive property listings.

Can You Buy a House That Is Off the Market?

Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t buy a house that is off the market; as long as the owner agrees to sell it, that is. If a house is on the market, it just means that the owners have clear intentions to sell and have picked a broker to make the deal.

If you have a specific area in mind where you want to buy a house, but no homes are listed for sale, buying off-market will be your only option. You could ask your broker if they know of any off-market deals, which may include properties that have recently been withdrawn for sale.

What Does Off Market Mean For a House Buyer?

So, what does it mean when a house is off the market, especially for the buyer? There are actually many benefits to buying off-market properties, from making a purchase privately to enjoying smoother transactions. Let’s take a quick look at some of these benefits.

1. Purchase Privately

High-profile investors and buyers often prefer off-market deals, as it means that the purchase can be kept out of the spotlight. That means the property and the amount you pay is kept out of the public record and the media.

A private purchase is also sometimes sought after if the property currently has tenants in it. This is because some tenants can be scared off when they learn that their property is up for sale.

2. Enjoy Little or No Bidding War

When buying an off-market property, you’re also much less likely to enter into a bidding war with other parties. The property isn’t listed for all to see, so you have less competition from other buyers. This is another reason why off-market properties often make better investments.

3. You Usually Have More Time

Off-market deals usually also come with the luxury of giving you more time to make a decision, as the seller isn’t in such a rush to sell. Not only is the seller usually in no rush, but you also have little or no competition from other buyers. This allows you to perform due diligence before making an offer, rather than rush an offer through on a listed property so as not to miss out.

There are exceptions to this, however. For example, when a house is being sold off-market for a short sale or pre-foreclosure. These types of sales will need to be quick, but the heavily discounted price should more than make up for it.

4. Typically Smoother Transactions

Another benefit to the lack of public advertising and limited competition is the smoother transaction you’re likely to experience. It’s much less likely that a competing offer is thrown on the table at the last minute.

Quite often, you’ll also be dealing with the seller directly. As a result, they can dedicate more of their time to you, the negotiations, and the final sale.

5. More Flexible Negotiations

The flexible timeline also allows for more relaxed and flexible negotiations that would not be possible with a property on the market. Both yourself and the seller can expect a win-win situation. You both have plenty of time to think about what you want and need to make the purchase happen.

6. Unique Opportunities

Off-market properties also provide unique opportunities that you just couldn’t find on the market. You may encounter an amateur seller that doesn’t truly understand their property’s worth, enabling you to negotiate a more profitable deal.

You may also encounter sellers who are in unfortunate circumstances, needing to make a quick or quiet exit from their property. Again, this will let you get a much better deal on a property.

Why Would a Property Be Taken Off the Market?

There are many reasons why a property could be taken off the market. In some cases, the owners may have simply changed their minds about selling.

If the property has been on the market for a long time, the owners or broker might feel the listing has gone stale. After the first few weeks, if it hasn’t been snapped up, buyers may assume that there is something wrong with the property.

Other times, the sellers may get burned out trying to keep their house looking like a show home or withdraw the listing to sell at a better time of year.

Off-Market Properties Make Great Investments

Now that you know what does off market mean in real estate, maybe you’ll be interested in buying off-market properties. It’s easy to see the many benefits of buying this way, including better prices, more relaxed negotiations, and a smoother transaction process overall.

In a nutshell, off-market properties usually mean you have more time to make a deal and far less competition that can drive prices up.

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