The real estate market operates through multiple channels, with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) being a pivotal tool for both buyers and sellers. However, not all properties are immediately included in the MLS database. These properties are often referred to as “off-market listings.” If you are currently in the market for a new home, you may be wondering how to access these off-market properties. In this guide, we will cover the most commonly asked questions: what does it mean when a house is off-market? Does off-market mean rented? Does off-market mean sold? Why would a house be taken off the market? Understanding the implications of listings absent from the MLS is a key first step in eventually comprehending the dynamics of Canadian real estate transactions.
The MLS is a centralized database used by real estate professionals to share property information and facilitate transactions. It contains crucial details such as property features, pricing, and status. However, some properties might not appear in the MLS immediately upon being put up for sale. There are various reasons for this absence, including:
The examples above serve as a sample of the potential explanations for absent listings. In reality, there are a number of justifications for an absent listing, and the absence of a listing from the MLS database does not necessarily mean it has been rented or sold.
In a hot real estate market, off-market listings can often be the miracle many buyers are looking for. In a market where properties are getting sold hours after being posted, off-market listings may be the only way to purchase a home without having to make a split-second decision. Because off-market listings are not shown to everyone, accessing them gives you access to homes that fellow homebuyers aren’t seeing—providing a huge advantage. Off-market listings can also be useful if you are seeking an investment property rather than a residential home. Properties in great locations are easy to rent out or flip, but they unfortunately get snatched up immediately. Opting for an off-market listing can be a great way to access prime properties in prime locations.
The advantages of off-market properties can vary for sellers. Some sellers, such as celebrities or high-profile individuals, seek discretion or find themselves in sensitive situations. As such, they benefit from keeping their properties off the MLS, thereby controlling who views their home and when. On the other hand, the absence of their property from the MLS might limit exposure to potential buyers, potentially affecting the property's visibility and the speed of the sale process.
In order to access these exclusive properties, you will most likely need to work with a real estate agent that has strong working relationships with a wide variety of both individual and institutional sellers. As of January 1st, 2020, the National Association of Realtors passed the MLS Statement 8.0 Clear Cooperation Policy, making it more difficult for realtors and sellers to keep listings off the MLS. However, it is important to note that the NAR’s sphere of influence and jurisdiction is limited to the US, and Canadian listings have therefore not been greatly impacted.
While looking for properties not yet in the MLS may seem like a tempting opportunity, it is important to understand the implications of this decision:
In conclusion, the absence of a property from the MLS doesn't necessarily indicate a lack of market viability. Instead, it often signifies a strategic decision by sellers or agents to control the timing and exposure of the listing. Understanding these nuances can provide valuable insights for both buyers and sellers navigating the dynamic real estate landscape. To set yourself up for success in the property-hunting process, one thing that can significantly improve your odds is getting a pre-approval. Having an exact price range in mind, and confirmation from your proposed lender will help you be more credible when communicating with sellers, both on and off-market. To learn more, contact Clover Mortgage for a free consultation and get started on your pre-approval today!
While many real estate agents choose to participate in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) due to its widespread use, and the benefits it offers in terms of property exposure and networking, it is not a strict requirement. Agents most commonly opt out of MLS when their region or property-type of interest is not listed on the MLS (e.g. remote areas, niche property-types). Others may opt out for personal reasons or preferences.
While not being part of the MLS can limit an agent's ability to access certain property listings and information shared exclusively within the MLS network, it doesn't necessarily inhibit their ability to conduct real estate transactions. Agents can still market and sell properties using alternative means, such as through their network, private listings, or specialized marketing strategies.
If an MLS listing contains incorrect information, it can create complications for both buyers and sellers involved in the real estate transaction. Here's what typically occurs when an MLS listing is found to be incorrect: