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 Unlocking the Power of Off-Market Deals

 Unlocking the Power of Off-Market Deals

As a real estate investor, finding off-market properties can be a great way to uncover hidden gems and make a great deal. Off-market properties are simply properties that are not listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) or other public real estate websites. They can be a little more challenging to find, but they are often a better value than properties that are listed publicly. Portland, Oregon is a hot spot for real estate investing. With a strong housing market and a growing population, there are plenty of opportunities for investors to find off-market properties and make a great return on their investment. 

If you are very savvy in real estate, and have years of experience, you can try these techniques on your own. However at RealEstatePDX.com we work closely with our clients to ensure they can not only pay the right amount for the property, but complete all the due diligence and inspections that they should to ensure they do not buy too large of a project or too large of a problem the home might have. 

When I contact a Seller at a Buyer’s behalf, I inform them that I do not charge the Seller a Listing Fee – and therefore they save significantly and there is a intermediary to solve the myriad of issues that invariably arise.

So, how do you find off-market properties in Portland, Oregon? Well you can do it on your own or you can do it with a Realtor. Realtor’s can help you value the property, ensure 

Here are some tips: 

Although it may seem like there are fewer properties available and more competition for them, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) does not include every property that is for sale. In fact, many properties are sold without ever being listed on the MLS. These properties are known as off-market real estate or pocket listings. They are sold through word of mouth or the broker’s network instead of public advertisements. Knowing how to find these off-market properties can be a great advantage in the competitive real estate market. Off-market real estate is highly desirable, which makes it a great perk for investors. However, investors may find it difficult to locate off-market deals. 

There are several strategies to identify off-market real estate, and it is recommended to pursue multiple strategies at once. Here are some of the best ways to find off-market real estate: direct mail, online resources, networking, real estate agents, builders and contractors, wholesalers, public record, word of mouth, real estate auctions, and driving for dollars. Direct mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to find off-market real estate. By defining your target audience and sending out ads that express your interest in purchasing their home, you may find that homeowners who were not even considering selling may be interested in an attractive offer. 

However, before implementing this marketing strategy, it is important to do your research and determine the best way to reach your ideal customer. This is where a Realtor can be a valuable partner as well. When using a direct mail strategy to find off-market real estate deals, it’s important to keep in mind that results may not be immediate. Don’t be discouraged if multiple campaigns yield no response. 

Direct mail remains one of the best ways to identify off-market deals. While websites like Zillow and Trulia primarily feature properties listed on the MLS, they can occasionally be used to find off-market deals. For example, Zillow allows sellers to list their properties 30 days before the property is listed on the MLS. To stay ahead of the competition, investors should regularly track these sites. 

There are also several websites that specialize in off-market real estate listings, such as Opendoor. They offer various perks for buyers and sellers, including the ability to complete transactions without ever being listed on the MLS. Independent investment sites like House Cashin https://housecashin.com/buy/ is a platform designed specifically for real estate wholesalers and investors, focusing on off-market, distressed, and other property types searched by residential real estate investment professionals. 

One effective way to find leads in real estate is to be proactive in generating them. Although off-market listings may face tough competition online, it’s still worth considering. Networking is another successful lead generation strategy for off-market properties. It may take some time and practice to become comfortable with networking, but it’s worth the effort. Attending real estate events in your area, searching for local groups, and building your network through existing connections are all effective methods. 

Contractors and other tradesmen are in regular contact with people in the industry and can guide you directly to pocket listings in your area. However, it’s essential to be transparent about your intentions throughout your networking experiences to build trust and respect among the real estate professionals. 

Wholesalers are also a great option for investors looking for off-market properties, as they specialize in real estate wholesaling. Wholesaling involves finding a discounted property, putting it under contract, assigning it to a potential buyer, and charging a fee to the new buyer. These wholesalers usually have access to off-market properties, which can be a lucrative option for investors. When working with a wholesaler, it’s important to remember that they act as a middleman and may not offer as good of a deal as going directly to the source. However, networking with wholesalers can help you stay informed about off-market homes in your area. Even if they don’t have any opportunities available now, they may contact you in the future.

It’s also wise to keep track of public records, such as pre-foreclosures or short sale properties, which can be found in newspapers or on state and local government websites. Setting up alerts on websites like HUD Home Store can also notify you when new properties become available. If you come across expired listings while surveying public records, don’t hesitate to reach out to the seller directly. As a real estate investor, it is important to keep up-to-date with public records as they could lead to your next investment opportunity. Real estate investing is a people-oriented business, so it’s vital to let everyone know who you are, what you do, and how they can get in touch with you. 

Word-of-mouth marketing is an effective way to expand your network and increase the chances of finding off-market properties. Don’t disregard a potential connection just because they’re not involved in real estate – you never know who could lead you to your next deal. 

Auctions are also a great option for investors as they offer a consistent supply of off-market properties. To find auction properties, check out websites such as RealtyTrac or Auction.com, and keep an eye on courthouse listings and network connections. Foreclosed properties can be a great opportunity for real estate investors to purchase below-market value homes. It’s important to gather as much information about the property beforehand to avoid potential drawbacks like liens. 

Real estate owned (REO) properties are houses that lenders own after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. Though they may not make repairs, it’s still crucial to inspect the home before making a bid. Once you find a property you’re interested in, make sure to confirm its auction status, location, and bidding procedure and do your research before attending the auction. To prepare for a real estate auction, it’s important to research the market and set a budget beforehand. 

One effective way to find off-market properties is by “driving for dollars,” which involves driving around neighborhoods in search of potential deals. The most common type of off-market homes are either vacant or distressed properties, which can be easily spotted by overgrown yards, scattered items in the yard, or boarded-up windows. Once you’ve found potential leads, jot down the addresses and search for the owners in county records. This will allow you to reach out and inquire about the status of the home, prepare a list of questions to ask, and determine if it might be a good investment. Driving for dollars is a free, albeit time-consuming, method of finding off-market homes. This can be a practical strategy depending on where you live. Off-market real estate deals have several benefits for investors. One of the advantages is that there is less competition for buyers, allowing them to gain a competitive edge. This means that they won’t have to compete with hundreds of other buyers, and they will likely only have to compete with two or three other buyers at most. Additionally, off-market homes are not publicized, so they typically remain out of the spotlight, leading to lower sale prices. 

Because these properties go unseen by most, both buyers and sellers are more relaxed when it comes to negotiations. This can lead to smooth negotiations and contracts that would never be possible on the open market. Being prepared for contingencies and knowing what terms you want beforehand is key when considering off-market real estate sales. In these types of transactions, sellers are often not in a rush, allowing potential buyers to take their time and conduct due diligence before making an offer. However, certain deals such as pre-foreclosures and short sales may require a quicker closing process. In these cases, buyers may benefit from a larger discount on the purchase price. Off-market listings can also offer unique opportunities for both buyers and sellers, particularly if the seller is facing financial difficulties or looking for a quick and discreet exit from the property. 

One major advantage of buying off-market is the reduced competition, as homes listed on MLS tend to attract more buyers. Off market properties have numerous benefits, making it hard to think of anything else. However, it is essential to be aware of some drawbacks associated with these types of properties. One of the most significant drawbacks is the lack of availability due to the new policies set by the National Association of Realtors. This has resulted in a reduction in the number of pocket listings bought and sold. Additionally, it can be challenging to find off market properties, which means that investors should use multiple lead generation techniques to ensure their portfolio’s growth rate is not slowed down. 

Another thing to note is that inexperienced sellers could make it more challenging to navigate an FSBO transaction. Despite these drawbacks, off market deals offer benefits to both buyers and sellers. One major benefit of marketing a property off the market is the lack of competition. Because the property is not listed publicly on well-known sites like MLS, Zillow or Realtor, it will not receive as much attention from agents and other buyers, which could lead to a bidding war. If you are able to find a property before it is publicly listed and make an offer quickly, you have a better chance of avoiding competition. For sellers, off-market deals offer privacy and convenience. You do not have to deal with the hassle of advertising and listing your property. This also means that your current tenants can live in peace without being bothered by nosy passers-by until it is time for them to move out. An off-market deal allows an agent to sell a property quickly without having to entertain unqualified and unserious buyers. 

When comparing off-market deals to the MLS, it is easy to see why many investors prefer these opportunities. Investors often prefer to view and negotiate with property sellers directly, without feeling the pressure of a competitive real estate market. However, finding off-market properties can be challenging. Waiting for an off-market deal may cause investors to miss out on valuable opportunities listed on the MLS or other websites. Although MLS listings are affiliated with an agent, they should not be disregarded. Investors may also gain access to early showings and a transparent negotiation process as they build connections with agents. In 2019, the National Association of Realtors implemented the MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy, requiring real estate brokers to submit all property listings to the MLS within one day of marketing the property to the public. This policy helps regulate off-market properties on the MLS. The MLS Statement 8.0 requires real estate brokers to post more properties on various platforms for potential buyers to access. However, this does not necessarily mean that off-market real estate is no longer an option. Brokers can still create limited off-market listings to maintain seller privacy or create office-exclusive listings, where brokers and agents can choose who sees the MLS listing. Investors will need to utilize their current real estate networks to locate these exclusive listings, which may require additional effort. Investors can also target motivated sellers directly, such as owners with distressed or vacant properties, who may not have listed their properties yet but are open to direct offers. 


Furthermore, it is important to note that this regulation is not a law but a regulation established by the NAR. Investors can reap many advantages from buying off-market properties, as long as they are knowledgeable about the process. These deals offer less competition and more room for negotiation, which can result in higher profit margins. Even though these properties are not listed on the MLS, investors can still find them by using various marketing tactics. It is recommended that investors use multiple strategies simultaneously to increase their chances of finding the best deals. Adding off-market real estate to their portfolios can be a valuable addition for investors looking to expand their investments.


In conclusion, there are many ways to find off-market properties in Portland, Oregon. By conducting diligent research, approaching the auction with a strategic plan, and effectively handling post-auction considerations, investors can secure valuable properties at potentially lower costs.

Want to work with a professional Realtor to help you target the right properties? Give us a call Harlan Mayer, Principal Broker at 503-288-3979 or email us at harlan@realestatepdx.com


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Harlan Mayer

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Harlan Mayer, Owner and Principal Broker
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About Our Brokerage:

RealEstatePDX.com is a local Portland brokerage with over 20 years experience that is designed to help our clients build wealth and improves their lifestyle. We are prospecting and negotiation experts, and work towards trusting and  long-term relationships with our clients.

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