Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your House ‘Off Market’

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Everything You Need to Know About Selling Your House 'Off Market'

When you decide to sell your house, you can sell off market. Selling your house off market means you list your home’s sales price, details, and photos through private listings. Those listings are only accessible to real estate agents, brokers, and professionals. 

When selling your house off market, you don’t list it on the multiple listing service (MLS), which real estate agents use to market your house publicly. In most cases, when you sell your home off market, your pool of buyers is composed of cash buyers. 

Selling Your House Off Market

You may wonder, “why should I sell to an off market cash buyer?” The real estate market can be fickle, so selling off markey may be ideal for you.

One reason to sell off market is the speed of the transaction. You might need to sell your home quickly, and selling it to a cash buyer is quicker than going through a traditional home sale. 

Another reason that homeowners may want to sell your home off market is because you don’t have the money for expensive repairs or renovations. A real estate agent relies on the home’s sales price for their commission (seller and buyer’s agent each get 3% of the home’s sale price on average). That means they will want to market a home widely to a large pool of potential buyers. 

Most potential homebuyers are looking for a move-in-ready home. A move-in ready home likely means you’ll need to pay for the house to be cleaned, repaired, and staged for showings. 

Selling your house off market enables you to avoid the hassle and cost of getting your house market ready. The best thing about selling your home off market is that you’ll be selling it as-is, which means you don’t have to worry about cleaning, repairing, or staging the home. You won’t have to deal with a real estate agent or home showings. 

Is Selling Your House Off Market a Good Idea 

Selling your house off market might be a good idea if you:

  • need to sell your home fast
  • want to avoid the expense of traditional listing
  • have a rental property you want to sell

Sell a home quickly 

If you want to sell your house quickly, you might do so off-market. Using a cash buyer is especially effective, as you can receive a cash offer for your home regardless of the current market status and you can sell your home as is

You can use a real estate investor to sell your property as quickly as possible. A reliable and reputable cash buyer can provide you with a guaranteed sale within seven days of making an offer on your home. This method will also save you the hassle of finding buyers and managing bids yourself or through an agent.

Avoid the expense of traditional listings

An off-market sale is an attractive option for sellers as it saves money related to traditional sales, such as hiring a real estate agent and other fees. And you don’t have to wait for a potential buyer to secure a lender. Furthermore, it eliminates the need to cover costs usually associated with property upkeep during the prolonged waiting period for a buyer.

Selling a rental property 

Cleaning and making improvements to your rental property, or investment property, before you put it on the market extends the time it takes to sell.

When selling off-market, you can instantly send property details to possible buyers without notifying tenants. Ultimately, this saves you money by preventing long periods where your property would sit vacantly and generate no revenue.

What Does It Mean to Sell a House Off Market 

An off-market home listing is shared with only a limited number of potential buyers. This differs from traditional sales, where homes are listed online on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and easily accessible to real estate professionals and the public.

Two young homeowners sign an agreement with a realtor to sell their house off market.

Pocket listing

An off-market sale is where the seller avoids listing their home on the MLS. Instead, they sell directly to a prospective buyer by working with a real estate agent or private network. 

Also called a “pocket listing,” this method differs significantly from conventional selling techniques. In a traditional listing, there would be marketing on the MLS, where it would be accessible to any broker, agent, or general public member. 

Up until 2020, agents would more regularly list homes “off-market,” typically called “pocket listings” or “quiet listings.” Though effective, these types of listing could be controversial due to a lack of transparency.

Clear Cooperation Policy 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) created the Clear Cooperation Policy in 2020 to help establish guidelines for these listings. According to the policy, agents have one business day to list the house on the MLS after marketing it. 

Marketing to the public could include putting up a yard sign or posting online about the property. However, sellers can still instruct agents to make a listing an office exclusive–meaning the agent can distribute information on a listing without publicizing it via MLS listings.

Office Exclusives

Pocket listing “ended” in 2020, but agents can still market private listings by calling them office exclusives. This means that the information about the listing stays within the brokerage and is not put on the MLS.

Pros and Cons of Selling a House Off Market

Here is a list of the advantages of selling a house off market

Protect your privacy

Suppose you’re not interested in people knowing your home’s location or drawing attention. In that case, an off-market listing might be the best option. 

Agents share the listing only with other real estate professionals instead of making it publicly visible. Although there’s less chance of generating interest this way, you’ll sell your home with as little attention as possible.

Save money

Real estate agents make more money when they sell a house at a higher price because their commission is based on the selling price. To get the best selling price, agents list real estate publicly to attract as many potential buyers as possible. 

However, this means the listing agent will want you to put in extra effort to clean and fix up the house, stage it nicely, and host open houses regularly. All these activities take time and money, which can add up quickly if the house takes a while to sell. 

Two home sellers laugh and talk with a young home buyer after selling their property off market.

Sell your home fast 

If time is not on your side, you’re worried about repairs that need to be made, or you don’t have the funds to wait around for buyers, then selling off-market may be good for you.

Test the market

You could list your off-market property to test the reaction to the asking price. The benefit of this strategy is that if potential buyers show little interest at the set price, you can remove the listing from private and relist on MLS. This enables you to get a handle on your home value.

No one would know that the price dropped or how long the property has been for sale. If people searching on MLS see that these factors have changed, they may be more inclined to ask for a reduction in cost themselves.

Selling your house off the market also comes with some pitfalls. Here is a list of some of the possible cons. 

Limited buyer pool

Selling your home off market is not suitable for everyone. More people will see your home when you list it on the MLS. More potential buyers usually result in an increased competition which could lead to selling your real estate for a higher price.

Lower sales price

Home sellers may find it tough to discern their home’s worth if they don’t test the open market. For example, listing your house in a high-demand neighborhood could result in a bidding war where the selling price goes above the asking price. When you sell off market, you may have less competition which may result in you not getting the fair market value, or top dollar for your home.

How to Sell a House Off Market

No matter how you want to sell your property, these next three steps are essential for a streamlined and lucrative sale.

Step 1: Disclosure requirements

To avoid being sued, be honest with your buyers and provide them with a disclosure statement about any issues that may arise from purchasing your home. This includes informing them of broken or damaged items and potential hazards such as lead-based paint, mold, or asbestos.

Step 2: Check for a clear title

A title company or attorney must conduct a title search to confirm that the seller is the rightful owner of the property. They will also verify the absence of liens from creditors or legal claims against the property. This is called a clear title.

If you have a lien on your property, you can incorporate the payment into the sale’s settlement at closing. To learn about all your options, consult with an attorney.

Two people shake hands after closing on a house that was selling off the market.

Step 3: Clean closing 

The closing day has come at last. You, the buyer, and other relevant parties will sign documents, pay closing costs, and take care of escrow matters. Once all is said and done, you’ll transfer ownership of the property to the buyer in exchange for a cashier’s check or wire transfer deposited into your bank account. 


Off market transactions provide many advantages if you want to sell your home quickly and efficiently. By taking this route, you can avoid the stress of listing your home on the open market while still achieving a great price. Additionally, off market sales can protect your privacy during the process and provide more flexibility when negotiating terms with potential buyers.

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