Buying an Off Market Home in Hawaii

Pocket listings, also referred to as off market listings, are properties that are for sale but aren’t listed on multiple listing services (MLS). Instead, Hawaii unlisted real estate is shown through private networks only.

How Off Market Listings Help Sellers

There are several reasons why a person thinking of selling their home would consider an off market listing.
  • Preserves homeowner’s privacy. If a seller is concerned about people knowing where they live or they don’t want to generate unwanted attention an off market sale can provide them needed privacy during the sales process. Many celebrities use the off market route to avoid publicity and attention. But this way of selling a home isn’t just for the famous, it can also help a seller that is going through a difficult period such as a divorce and wants to keep the sale out of the public eye.
  • Tests the market. Some sellers want to test the market and gauge interest in their home by using an off market listing. Homeowners can get feedback that can be valuable if they don’t end up going the route of listing their home on the MLS. If the seller originally asks too much and decides to lower the price before listing on the MLS, potential buyers won’t see the price change.
  • Avoids showings, staging, and open houses. By selling off market homeowners can avoid the hassle of open houses and showings. They won’t have people coming through their house at all hours and short notice appointment. The seller also doesn’t have to spend extra money on staging or improvements to the property. Many off market homes are sold as-is.
  • Lower sales commission. Since there is only one agent involved in the transaction, there is only one commission to pay saving the seller money.
  • Potential for higher offers. In an off market sale buyers know only serious offers will be considered. Buyers tend to make competitive offers to the seller.

How Off Market Listings Help Buyers

For buyers, off market homes in Hawaii provide access to additional inventory, an opportunity to save on agent commission, less competition, and additional privacy.

  • Access to additional inventory. For starters, buying an off market home in Hawaii gives buyers access to inventory that other homebuyers aren’t seeing. If you are looking in a partially popular area, off market listings may be the only way to purchase a home. Off market listing often happen in ‘hot’ markets where inventory is low or even non existent.
  • Saves on commission. Although the seller technically pays the agent’s commission, the cost is usually accounted for in the listing price of the home. Since the seller only needs to pay one agent in an off market listing the buyer can take this into account when making an offer.
  • Less competition. Hawaii unlisted real estate is primarily only known about by a limited number of people. So there is less competition meaning the buyer doesn’t have to get involved in a bidding war. This can take some of the stress out of the home buying process. Timing can sometimes be more flexible with off market homes.
  • Privacy. Privacy not only benefits the seller during these transactions but can also benefit the buyer. Buying off market homes in Hawaii means you can buy the unlisted real estate without a lot of people knowing.

How to Find Off Market Homes in Hawaii

Now that you know why you should consider buying an off market home in Hawaii, you need to know where to look for them. Finding an off market home requires some homework, time, networking, and patience.

First, you’ll want to connect with a local agent who is familiar with buying an off market home in Hawaii. An agent who isn’t experienced with off market listings won’t be as proactive or have the investor pool, the resources, or the initiative to find homes.

Look for a real estate agent that is familiar with the neighborhood where you want to buy. If they have a history of sales in the area they can be very useful in finding leads on homes.

You’ll want to work with an agent that has strong relationships in the area and a history of sales. Look for an Agent that can tap into their network of prior buyers as a source for leads.

Evaluate an agent’s experience by asking:
  • Do you have a buyer or an investor pool that you are currently working with in Hawaii?
  • How many people in your database are buyers actively looking for properties?
  • How long have you been selling real estate in this area?
  • How many listings have you had in the area in the past year?
  • How much experience do you have with off market properties?

Look for an agent that has strong sources of information and leads. You will want to work with an agent that has strong connections to area people including:
  • Builders and contractors. Local builders and contractors are usually aware of properties where the investor or homeowner abandoned the project due to a lack of finances, these provide great off market leads. Also, if a builder is constructing a new home for someone, it usually means that person is going to have a home to sell when the new house is complete.
  • Industry experts. If you will work a high producing agent they will also have access to potential leads through mortgage companies, bankers, home inspectors, title companies, appraisers, and other industry contacts. These are all professionals that can be a great source for potential off market homes.
  • Professional organizations. Take into account organizations where the agent belongs. You will want to consider an agent that is a member of professional organizations such as the the Chamber of Commerce or other area groups.

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