In many ways, off-market homes are a rare treasure to find when you are looking for a home. Buying a home off-market can let you avoid costly bidding wars and get into your dream house faster — but the tradeoff is that they take more work to locate than other properties!

You see, off-market homes are — as you might assume from the name — not listed on the real estate market. Normally, when a real estate agent sells a home, they put it up on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for other people and agents to find. Then, they will drive traffic to the home through social media, open houses, and advertisements. 

But when a property owner decides to sell a home off-market, their agent might not be able to do those things. In the Washington DC area, local MLS regulations make it so real estate agents cannot advertise a home (or even share certain information about a home) until it is live and open on the listing service. 

For a lot of people who are looking for a home, these regulations can prove troublesome. This is especially true if you are on a strict time frame — for instance, if you are buying and selling a home at the same time — and can’t spend your precious time waiting for properties to come on the market. 

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to find off-market homes for sale, however. It just means that you have to have the right tools and knowledge to be able to locate the right home before it goes live on the market!

How to Find Properties for Sale Off-Market

Normally, real estate agents have a big advantage over non-agents when it comes to finding a home using the top online home search tools. Because they are familiar with the intricacies of the MLS, and because they know how to set up highly-specific search queries, most agents are able to quickly and efficiently find a set of homes that are right for you. 

But in the case of off-markets, that skill set might not be as useful, right? If agents cannot find the homes on the MLS, would it make sense to avoid paying a commission fee to a real estate professional and try searching for an off-market house on your own?

The answer is a resounding NO.

In fact, having a high-quality real estate agent is more important than ever when you are trying to find a home off the market. Because homes cannot be advertised or shared before they go live on the MLS, locating an off-market property has a lot to do with who you know — and your agent spends dozens of hours each week cultivating a list of potential home sellers that they can introduce to you.

In the case of an off-market sale, the real estate agent’s job is to connect you with a home owner. There are two main ways that agents do this:

1. Speaking with a reputable real estate agent about off-market property opportunities 

Most real estate professionals have close ties with many other agents — and some of those agents might have clients who are interested in selling their home off the market. With your permission, your agent can share a list of what you want in a home around their community and see if any agents have properties that might match. If a house arises that seems like a good fit, your agent can show you the home on an individual basis — and hopefully, you can close on the right home quickly and for a great price!

2. Collecting a list of off-market properties

The other main way for agents to find an off-market home for you — and the one that the Keri Shull Team has used to create a history of successful off-market house sales — is to build a database of people who are interested in selling off-market and another of people who are interested in buying off-market.

From there, it is a simple matter of connecting the right buyer with the perfect home and getting the deal done quickly and efficiently. 

This second method is the absolute best way to find an off-market property for sale. It allows you to entirely avoid bidding wars while getting into your new home as fast as possible — but a lot of agents will go with the first option, instead. 


Well, most real estate professionals simply don’t have the resources necessary to enact the second strategy. At the Keri Shull Team, we have a unique team structure and dedication that allows us to connect buyers and sellers directly. This is why 30% of our home sales in 2019 were made before the home ever got to market!

By the way, we want to offer you a sneak peek at the off-market homes that we currently have in our database — all you have to do is click here to get Priority Access to Off-Market Homes!

Is It Worth It to Search For Off-Market Properties?

Finding an off-market home that matches what you are looking for can be a huge win during your home search. Because you aren’t in a competing offer scenario — that is, you aren’t trying to outbid other buyers to put forth the most compelling offer — you can have more control when it comes to the closing table. This is especially beneficial in seller’s markets like DC’s hottest neighborhoods and other desirable communities in the DMV. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that finding an off-market home can be stressful and difficult if you don’t have the right resources…which is why you should make sure that you are working with the Keri Shull Team!

We are experts at finding the right off-market home for you and getting you into it cheaper, faster, and with less stress than any other real estate team! On top of that, our Home Buying Guarantee is sure to put your mind at ease — so you can focus on getting ready to fall in love with your new home!

If you are interested in learning more about our unique off-market buying strategy, then contact the Keri Shull Team today! Our home search experts are standing by to help you, so all you have to do is click here and schedule a time to speak with us in a 100% free, no-pressure consultation!