How can I Find Homes Not Listed for Sale?

When you’re ready to purchase a home, there will be many options available, particularly in growing areas with new construction. While choices are plentiful, it nonetheless isn’t unusual to essentially see “the same property” over and over again. It’s one of the phenomenon of home buying, which is seeing so many homes that the residences begin to become indistinguishable. That’s just one reason why it’s very important to have an experienced real estate professional, relying on someone that knows the market and can hone-in on what features you most want.

In some instances, buyers see a home that’s no longer for sale but would have been just right. Expired listings and those which have recently gone under contract can be a great fit, but the fact these properties are no longer available seemingly puts them out of reach. However, there are ways to find homes that aren’t currently listed for sale, if you know a few insider tricks.


In recent months, and throughout the year of 2014, the Sarasota real estate experienced good sales records. With interest rates continuing to fall month after month, lending standards being more relaxed, and home prices, although rising, were quite affordable. Those dynamics have not changed since the close of last year, so, it’s still a great time to buy a home.

“Chief Economist Stan Humphries suggests looking for houses that were once listed for sale but are now off the market. You just might find a homeowner who is been waiting for the market to turn around before listing again – and persuade him or her to sell to you.” —

Economists and real estate professionals forecast this year to be a very good one for the housing market. That means more closed transactions occurring, which also means that supply and demand measurements will favor a robust market. This could mean that waiting won’t be a smart strategy for those considering buying a property. Finding the right home can be challenging, even when there’s a surplus of inventory listed for sale.


Though inventory levels are currently balanced, and there are a number of great opportunities available, it’s possible those properties don’t offer what you most want. If that’s the case, and you can’t seem to find a fit, then try these suggestions:

  • For sale by owner signs. Should there be one particular neighborhood or more that you’re most interested in, then give those a try. You might find one or more for sale that aren’t listed with an agent or broker. Newspapers and local publications are another source of finding homes for sale that aren’t in the multiple listing service.
  • Expired listings. As mentioned above, some home sellers put their properties on the market only to take it off, for several reasons. It could be the asking price was too high or they did not make key repairs in order to get their homes in salable order. Ask your buyer’s agent for a list of homes which were recently listed for sale. You might be able to find something you really like and a seller that could be willing to make a deal.
  • Estate homes. Properties passing through an estate take quite a bit of time to make it to the MLS. If you do a little bit of research, you might be able to find one or more properties which will go onto the market before being formally listed on the MLS.
  • Homes under contract. Pending sales are another place to find properties that are otherwise not available. Enough pending transactions don’t close for one reason or another and that might make the effort worth while. Have your buyer’s agent put-in a backup offer. Though you may not get the home, it’s not a waste of time because it demonstrates to the seller that you are motivated and are very interested.
  • Clerk of the court’s office. Another way to find homes not listed for sale is searching through the records at the local clerk of the court’s office. You might be able to find homes that are now in the early stages of the foreclosure process.

Though the above searches might uncover a gem or two, chances are you won’t find too much. However, the single best way to find homes not listed in the local multiple listing service is through a real estate professional. These properties are called “pocket listings,” and, are in the early process of being put on the market. Some real estate professionals will actively market a home through their network before publicly listing it. Tap into this and you’ll have a better chance of finding a property before there’s any competition to buy.