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Your Complete Guide To Finding Pocket Listings

Gavin Finch
Written by Gavin Finch 

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If you regularly patrol real estate listings to look for great deals, you might think you’re ahead of the game when you catch a property that’s only been listed for a few hours. You might not know that plenty of people probably saw this listing before it ever appeared online — and you might not be as quick as you think.

So how can you get to properties faster and kick your real estate game up a notch? This guide will give you a step-by-step walkthrough on finding pocket listings and taking advantage of the benefits that come with getting to a home sale first. 

What are pocket listings?

Pocket listings come from many different sources, and they’re often called many other names, too. You may have heard them referred to as pre-market listings or off-market listings. However, these terms can be a bit misleading because they don’t actually describe a type of listing.

Instead, these terms refer to off-market properties that are available to buyers but aren’t yet publicly entered into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Investors who can identify these properties have a huge advantage over other buyers because they can purchase them before they go on the market. 

Best ways to find pocket listings

If pre-market listings aren’t listed on the MLS, where are they? The answer is everywhere! You can find pre-market listings by reviewing public records, leveraging lead generation platforms, and networking with real estate brokers and agents in your community. 

Some real estate search sites even offer realtors the option to list a property with a “coming soon” status. This lets listing agents optimize their marketing efforts and allows buyers to scope out properties before they’re available on the market. This is great for anybody interested in wholesale real estate or building a real estate investment portfolio.

You can start finding these exclusive listings by looking for motivated sellers–people who are experiencing a financial hardship that’s pressuring them to sell within a short time-frame. One of the most common motivated seller scenarios is pre-foreclosure and you can find these properties in their county’s public records or with a lead generation platform.

Short sale properties are homes that were in pre-foreclosure but sold for less than the owner’s mortgage balance. You can also often find these in public records or with a lead generation platform long before they make their way to the MLS. Finally, you can look online at a county clerk’s office or search federal listings like the foreclosed houses found on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.

These are just a few examples of where you can start; the possibilities are endless. Once you know where to look and how to pay attention to word of mouth, you might even find that pocket listings start popping up everywhere!

Finding a well-connected agent

As an investor, real estate agents are your best friends. Finding a well-connected real estate agent can be the key to discovering the best pre-market deals. An agent with a great network can point you in the direction of properties that they know will struggle on the market, such as distressed properties

They can also keep you informed about market movements and local changes, giving you early access to properties that they’ve heard about from their colleagues or professional connections. Finally, well-connected agents can also help you expand your network by connecting you to other agents and brokers.

It can be challenging to find an agent who wants to build a professional relationship with you, though. While there are plenty of real estate agents to choose from, they don’t all possess the expertise you seek. Others simply won’t be interested in working with you. To find the right one, you’ll need to connect with as many agents as possible. 

Thankfully, we’ve made that process easy with our Agent Outreach list generator. Inside BatchLeads, you can generate a comprehensive list of all the agents in an area, complete with their phone numbers and email addresses! The best part is that it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Pros and cons of pre-market listings

It might seem like pre-market listings are a goldmine for investors. Indeed, they offer many benefits, including the potential for substantial profits if you play your cards right. They also present less competition since you’re getting to a deal before other potential buyers who may be interested in the property. This reduces the likelihood of a bidding war. Finally, pre-market listings let you leverage flexibility and a quicker closing in exchange for a better deal

However, pocket listings come with a notable downside: a general lack of availability. There are fewer pre-market properties available, so you shouldn’t count on them to be the foundation of your business. Even veteran real estate professionals find that there are droughts from time to time when few pre-market properties become available. Despite this disadvantage, knowing how to look for unlisted opportunities is a skill that every potential investor should cultivate.

Key takeaways

Pocket listings are a great way to find properties that other buyers likely haven’t scoped out yet. This gives you an obvious advantage; not only can you be the first one to make an offer, but you can also use timing and flexibility as leverage to negotiate a great deal. 

Pre-market listings aren’t always easy to land, though. If you want to make a profit, there’s still a lot of research and work involved in evaluating opportunities, negotiating with sellers, and flipping properties or contracts for a profit. 

However, if you leverage the right tools and build the right agent relationships, these deals can transform your approach to real estate and make a serious positive impact on your bottom line. If you’re not pursuing them, right now is the perfect time to start.

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