23 ways to find hidden inventory off-market

Where is all the inventory? There are buyers. They are eager to see new listings. They are ready to buy! They have even agreed to higher interest rates. They aren’t under contract because you haven’t found them anything to buy or you outbid them!
Why? The historically low inventory is again creating scarcity. There are more buyers than listings, in certain areas and at different price points.
Altos Research reported that last week’s inventory dropped by 6,858 listings. This is more than last year, but still not enough houses for sale.
Two things are required. You must get your buyers to sign a contract. Additionally, you must find additional listings to add to your existing listing inventory.
Before we get into the secrets and strategies, here are some critical points to remember:
1. What do your buyers want? Are they (or they) too particular or obsessed with specific areas, amenities, schools, or schools? It might be time to talk about flexibility. It is important to know what your buyers clients are looking for.
2. Don’t rely on your MLS. This is one way, but it is not the only way. These strategies should be followed by every qualified buyer. If they are not motivated, refer them to an agent who can do a better job. Buyers shouldn’t be waiting for you because you weren’t strategic enough to find them anything.
The following strategies have the goal of:
-Find homes off-the-market for you to list.
Find homes off-market that you can sell to buyers to avoid losing out to the competition. You must find homes that are unlikely to be sold to your competitors if you want to stop losing (and competing).
Here are 23 strategies to find hidden or off-market listings.
1. You can be more creative in your MLS searches. If buyers are losing out to multiple bids on your home, search your MLS with the same criteria but for homes that have been listed for more than 60, 90, or more days. They won’t be competing to buy those homes. They might consider buying a duplex in the same location, especially if it generates income. These are some of the conversations you may have had.
2. Expand your search area for buyers. Ask them why they want “these three zip codes in Austin”, and you can find other areas with more inventory that feel similar to those areas. This is also true for schools, amenities, etc. Perhaps they like the park in their neighborhood but there is a better one 10 miles away.
3. Connect with investors. You might consider sources like “We pay cash for houses” or “We buy ugly homes” or something similar. These investors won’t buy every home they are presented with. What happens to their turn downs? These could be great matches for your buyers or for you to flip the property or make it a rental. has many investor groups. You can also start your own. There are many private Facebook groups for flippers and investors.
4. Sales reps for new build communities can be a goldmine, especially if they are in the luxury and medium-priced areas. They won’t accept resale listings and they won’t take a contingency for a home sale. They know who has a house to sell before they can close the deal on the new one. Pay them a referral fee if they are licensed. Five relationships are a good goal.
5. Sales reps for new builds can also inform you about homes that are about to be canceled. This is an off-market, newly constructed listing if they don’t have someone to purchase it. These builds can go bankrupt for many reasons. The buyer may have lost their financing. They might have backed out due a higher payment, lost the relocation agreement with their employer, or divorced. The new build reps are aware of what’s happening and which homes will soon be available.
6. Owners of single-family homes, duplexes, and other properties are eligible to rent them. They are advertising their phone number. The script is easy and it’s a business decision. They are also a great resource for helping out sellers who have sold but have not yet bought.
7. Get in touch with the assisted living housing intake directors. Many people can pay for their assisted living costs by selling their house and cashing in the equity. These leads are often found in the housing intake coordinators. You will be a valuable liaison between the homeowner, the director, and the homeowner will love you! You can modify your pre-listing package to include contact information for estate sales specialists, pet rescue, moving, storage, etc.
8. Find the notice of defaults. Look for the NODs in the zip codes where your buyers are interested. Then, see if the homes meet your criteria. These homes are often not listed, but they are motivated!
9. Mine your database. This is about your clients and those in your circle of influence. This is known as shadow inventory. Are you looking for qualified buyers who may be interested in buying a home? This allows you to make two to three transactions.
10. To find out what your home is worth today, call 100% of your database. What would their plans look like if they knew that their home was worth $x?
11. Look around for half-finished flips in your neighborhood. The cost of labor and building materials has risen dramatically. What are the consequences for flippers? Some buyers might be willing to buy the home and finish the work themselves or get in contract while the project is being completed.
12. Conversions of condos or apartments. There are still many newer neighborhoods and buildings that were once rentals, but are now being resold.
13. Expired listings, expired listings, expired listings, and older expireds. They are likely to be able to get their price today’s market. Offer to do a new comparative analysis of the market and see what it does to their plans.
14. For sale by owners (FSBOs). Reach out to us if you haven’t sold yours yet, especially if the items are more than two weeks old.
15. Absentee owners. This information is available on as well as other companies. Get the address and verify it isn’t already listed. Then, connect with the owners to find out their plans for the property. To help them make a decision, offer a free CMA.
16. Vacation rentals (VRBOs) Take a look at the rental history to see if there are any property owners in the area you or your buyers would like. You can almost always find their email address and phone number online. Many VRBOs are now subject to new rules that limit their rental options and reduce their profitability.
17. Probate. Probate is when someone dies and their property must be sold by their heirs.
18. Estate and garage sales. They’re back! And they’re very effective at finding the next listing in the area. Facebook Marketplace is a great way for people to meet and connect with others who are cleaning out their homes before they sell.
19. Scan Zillow to find listings in the areas you or your buyers are interested in. Listings may be provided by agents or brokers not affiliated with your MLS. You won’t see their listing in our MLS and other agents won’t either.
20. Door knocking hot neighborhoods. Don’t leave empty-handed. Bring something of value. A one-page information sheet about the statistics in the area or a flyer of what’s pending, the average list to sale ratio, days on market, etc. As them, “Whom should I be helping to buy or sell real property?”
21. Expand your influence and keep talking about real estate! Do not be a secret agent. You can meet new people and get more referrals by joining new clubs, gyms, or organizations. Orange Theory, your homeowners association and arts organizations are just a few examples. These can all help to upgrade and expand your center for influence.
22. Participate and sponsor at a high level in the community. Parades, parties and farmer’s markets. You want people saying, “We see you everywhere!” You’re the real estate agent, right?
23. Prospect your professional network. People who have not yet started looking for a house are being approved by mortgage originators. Ask them weekly for referrals. They are also great sources of pre-listing leads. Service providers often discover that someone is moving before agents. Get in touch with them and ask them to refer business to them. (Ensure you are referring business to them too!)
Julie Harris and Tim Harris host a podcast that is geared towards real estate professionals. Tim and Julie have been coaching top agents through different markets for over two decades.