When we work with a buyer, we like to explain to them that there are TWO different searches going on at the same time.
For the most part, most agents will offer some kind of access to the available listings on the market, and you can find many public portals that do a decent (but not perfect) job of showing what’s currently for sale.
But like Thanos assembling all of the Infinity Stones, your home search really becomes MUCH MORE powerful when we add the second part — which is finding a listing OFF the market.
For every one home listing that’s currently on the market, we believe there are probably 5-10 sellers who would sell, but they’re not listed yet. Maybe they’re still planning, or they’re in the very early stages of getting ready.
In a hot seller’s market where there are lots of buyers, but not a lot of inventory, this “off market” search becomes an excellent way to expand your reach to find the right home.
Here are a few of the ways we search for hidden inventory in today’s market:
Team Coming Soon PropertiesWe review our team’s upcoming listing inventory. Being a Top 100 team in Canada means we always have homes in the pipeline. Once in a while, we may not get a listing, but we know it’s coming with another agent.
BrokerBay Exclusive NetworkOur office is connected to a system called BrokerBay that lists hundreds of Ontario properties from all participating brokerages that are not yet on the market.
Reverse ProspectingOur MLS system provides INSTANT access options that are faster than any public search tool, and they also have a reverse prospecting tool where other agents can see what you’re searching for (but not your personal information). An agent with an upcoming listing can reach out to us on your behalf and mention that they have something that matches your criteria.
Exclusive Agent Facebook GroupsAs one of the top teams in the area, we are invited to many regional and local agent-only Facebook groups. One of our favourites, “Milton House Swap”, is a group of local-based agents that help each other by posting listings 1-2 weeks before they launch.
Targeting the Right Agents Using EmailThere are 100,000+ agents licensed in Ontario, but only a small percentage are working at a high level. In the Milton market, as an example, there are only about 120 agents that have sold more than TWO properties in the last 12 months. We have every one of them set up on a mailing list that we can use to communicate with about our buyers that are looking for a home.
Paid Ads on Social MediaIf we want to expand our reach beyond people that we’re friends with (or people who follow our page), we can PAY to reach new audiences on the same social media platforms. Video ads have done best when we’ve placed these on Facebook and Instagram.
Flyers and PostcardsDelivery of flyers and postcards door-to-door is one of the most effective ways of finding new opportunities. We dropped this flyer (this is just a section of it, not the whole thing) in Milton and found THREE new potential sellers in just over 100 doors. Notice how we wrote this in the buyers’ name… and not ours?
That’s because people are more likely to help a buyer than they are to help a real estate agent.
Expired, Cancelled and Lease ListingsDoing a deeper search on the MLS system will reveal a number of listings that have expired without selling, and listings that have been cancelled. We’ve found many opportunities in this group of potential sellers. Also, we’ve reached out to properties FOR LEASE and asking if they would consider selling, and some have been receptive to the idea.
Smart TagsWe use tags in all of our databases to help us organize our prospective sellers. If they own a bungalow, and we tag them as “seller with bungalow“, then it makes it easy for us to go find what you’re looking for. Other examples of tags we use include “seller with pool“, “seller with basement apartment“, and quite a few others based on the type of home they own, their geographic location/neighbourhood, and their expected price range.
Smart NetworkingWe’re in touch with many agents and past clients in any given week. “Hey, by the way, I have a buyer looking for…” can be a fun way to ask someone to keep their eyes open.
Previous Client NetworkIf you’re looking in a specific area, we can reach out to all of our past clients in the area, asking if they’ve heard any neighbours that have mentioning moving. As you can see from our service map, we have done a lot of business in a lot of different areas.
As you can see, there’s quite a lot we can do to help you besides just the “normal” search methods that most agents use.
Reach out if you’d like to share more about what you’re looking for… we may be able to help you find something NOT on the MLS system!