By MIKE WAGNER | Special to the Palisadian-Post
It’s no surprise that since home sales made their first rebound in June 2020, the Los Angeles housing market has been accelerating through the roof, and Pacific Palisades is no exception.
According to Redfin, in April 2021, Pacific Palisades home prices were up 56.9% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $3.8 million. On average, homes here are now selling after only 44 days on the market, compared to 83 days last year. There were 40 homes sold in April this year, up from 13 last year, and an astonishing 40% of homes sold above the list price.
With historically tight real estate inventory in the Palisades, as a potential homebuyer, you want to stay ahead of your competition. This is where off-market listings come in.
Also known as pocket listings, these homes are for sale but never make it to a multiple listing service. That means real estate agents who sell these properties must rely on their personal network to find a buyer.
Off-market listings, which were once known to be used for exclusive luxury properties, have picked up in popularity with both buyers and sellers in the past year. Those who recognize the advantages have grown off-market listings into a somewhat secondary market—especially in the midst of lower inventory and higher demand.
In today’s market, the key benefit of buying a home off-market is as important as ever: less competition. Fewer people knowing that a home is for sale means that you’ll have a stronger chance of getting your offer accepted and for a lower price, ideally avoiding the infamous bidding war. This can make for a smooth transaction with far less stress and, hopefully, a greater deal.
So why would sellers want to keep their listing a secret? Well, for starters, the biggest benefit is simple: convenience. If someone makes an offer on your home before it’s publicly listed, you most likely won’t have to go through the hassles of preparing your home for the market.
This prep work can include repairing a roof, tidying up the yard or staging the inside, as prospective buyers typically write an offer to purchase an off-market listing in its current condition.
And, of course, privacy. Sellers can skip the burdensome step of holding showings that will likely attract a small army of people interested in looking but not actually buying. In times of COVID-19, safety is a top priority and more showings can pose a higher risk of transmission.
And finally, a more recent trend for sellers has been testing the market. With the help of your agent, they can reach out to their personal network and test whether the price you desire garners much interest and evaluate accordingly. Because it is not on the MLS, this avoids the public seeing that the price was changed and how many days your home has been on the market, which often incentivizes buyers to make lower offers.
Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, there are key characteristics you should consider when choosing which agent is right for you. First and foremost, the agent you select needs to be well-connected, particularly in the specific neighborhood you desire to either live in or move from.
Your agent should have a good reputation within the community and be a part of a team, allowing them to reach out to their fellow agents representing buyers in the area.
Bottom line, buyers that are frustrated with getting out bid by other offers and sellers looking for a low-cost and time-saving solution to listing their home should take advantage of every opportunity they get.
If going off-market is something you’d like to consider, be sure to do your homework, understand the risks involved and consult with a local real estate professional. In the end, finding your next home through an off-market listing can be well worth the effort.
Mike Wagner is a sales partner with Amalfi Estates, which has sold $1.4 billion in properties and was selected by the WSJ as one of the top 60 agencies in the country out of one million agents. If you are thinking of buying a home or selling your own, contact Wagner at 424-302-7205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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