Don’t wait for your dream home to come on the market. Go find it.

Ryan Jenkins

In this podcast we talk about finding homes off market. Did you know that many of NoCo’s best properties can be purchased but are not listed publicly? More and more we are turning to locating off market real estate and giving you private access before it goes public. We discuss the reasons why we do this, how we do it and give case studies on clients who have been successful with this approach. 

You tell us what you want and we’ll find it, guaranteed.
Get private tours of unlisted homes.
Meet the owner face to face.
Tour the property with the person that knows it best.
Avoid competition from other buyers.
Find homes that would have never been listed.

Here’s how it works :
1. Tell us what you want.
2. We identify all properties in the region that match your criteria and contact the owners.
3. The ones preparing to sell respond, you are notified, and if the property is right a tour is scheduled.
4. If you like it, buy it! If not, we’ll keep looking.

Zillow is not your only option. Call or text 970-689-0824 to find out more.

Thanks for listening!

Ryan Jenkins
Best of Zillow
Grey Rock Realty LLC
112 Trimble Court • Fort Collins, CO 80524
Mobile: 970.689.0824

Below is a transcript of the podcast…

Hey, friends, Ryan Jenkins here. Thanks for tuning into this episode of the podcast. Today we’re going to talk about locating off-market property. What does that mean? The vast majority of homes are sold on the MLS and on Zillow. MLS and Zillow are basically the same thing. Zillow feeds from the MLS. The MLS is the realtor database. Zillow pulls all the listings from the realtor database and you know, markets them to the public. And as the public portal for accessing the MLS, you could say, or one of their many, but Zillow is the most popular one. The vast majority of people rely almost exclusively on Zillow and Trulia and a handful of other sites that all pull from the same place to find their home. And for a long time, obviously we use this database regularly. Many of our clients purchase properties off the MLS and Zillow, but you, that’s not the only way to find homes that are for sale.

And so I want to talk about that today. I want to talk about why you should consider finding, trying to find a home off the MLS, how to do it, what the benefits are. So, , I think it’s, it’s something I’m really passionate about because it’s just an absolute game changer. And I’ll, I’ll kind of show you why through a couple of stories, but just love the strategy so much. , so let me, I think the easiest way to describe what we’re trying to do and why we tried to do it is through stories. So let me tell a couple stories. So I got some clients, uh, this is a couple of weeks ago, offered on a condo in Old Town, fairly affordable condo and they were pretty excited about it. Great location, you know, relatively updated prices. Awesome. Couldn’t believe how good the price was. It’s just an older complex like the square footage and the inside of the unit, you know, looked like this should have been a much more expensive condo, but it was actually incredibly affordable cause yeah, outside of the building, you know, looks like 1970s, you know, brick construction, just not super impressive, but they didn’t care.

They just, they thought, you know, the price and location absolutely perfect. We want it so we write an offer. , and the property had been on the market for a little while. We thought we could knock a little bit off the price. They asked me how much I thought we could knock off the price. I said 10,000, let’s start there. We may have to come up, but I think that’s a good entry point. While the seller didn’t really agree, I think the seller was a little bit insulted at the offer that we, that we made to them, which I didn’t think it was an insulting offer, but they didn’t take it as well as I thought they maybe should have. And so, we were waiting for them to counter and instead of getting a counter proposal, the seller’s agent called me up and said, I’m sorry, we have accepted another offer.

And I’m just like, Oh, are you serious? Usually in that situation they call you up and say, we’re going to, we’re getting another offer. You guys better increase your price or you’re going to lose this thing. And so I’ll go back to my clients and say, we’re in a competitive situation. We need to bring, make our best offer possible and hope for the best hope that our offers and the terms of our offer are better than the competing offers. We didn’t get that chance at all in this situation. It was just, they called us up and said, I’m sorry, we accepted another offer. Very out of the ordinary cause usually the seller will use that, you know, they’ll, they’ll use that to increase the price to get everybody to make their best offer. , so I go back to my clients and I say, guys, I’m really sorry, but they accepted another offer.

This is not usually, usually we get a chance to resubmit a higher offer. They didn’t give us a chance in this scenario. And my clients were like, yeah, that doesn’t make sense. Like they should have given us another shot anyway. We’re licking our wounds. I’m explaining to them that we’re going to find something better. And actually it says surprising. You know, there’s quite a few people end up making more than one offer on a property before they’re actually successful and close on a house. It’s very common, especially in this market. There’s not, not a ton of homes for sale. And sometimes you’re competing or you know, sometimes the inspection comes back and there’s stuff you don’t want to deal with and you walk away from house for that reason. But whatever the reason for walking away from a house or not being able to buy a house, it seems like the house that they end up buying is always better than the ones they lost almost without exception, it seems like for whatever reason that’s the case.

And so I tell always tell people that, you know, we’re gonna find you something better. I promise it seems to happen that way every time. So I’m telling them this and I also say, you know, I know you like this complex a lot and the prices are right. I’m going to send letters out to the rest of the owners in this condo complex and see if we can get you see if we can find somebody else’s getting ready to sell. And they said, okay, great, thanks. You know, I usually, when I tell people that they’re like, all right, whatever, do whatever you got to do. But they don’t, you know, they, I don’t think they ever think that anything’s going to come from that, but I know that’s a very effective strategy and we’ve done it many times. And so it’s always fun, , to then go send those letters out and essentially the letters say, Hey, Mr homeowner, Mr or Mrs homeowner, you’re getting this letter because you own a condo in this complex and I’m a real estate broker and my clients are interested in this property, interested in finding a unit.

They’re ready, willing, and able buyers. If you’re getting ready to sell, please contact us. And, so we send letters out to that effect. We have a very specific way we say this and we have a very specific type of mailing that we do that over the years is vastly outproduced other types of mailing that we do. And so we did this a couple of days after we lost that offer. We send out letters a couple of days after that I get a call, guy says, Hey Ryan, I’m going to put my house on the market in a few months. I got your letter. If your folks want to walk through it, let’s do it. So, you can imagine when I call my clients up and say, Hey guys, we’ve got another, actually this is a better unit because it has an enclosed garage space. The other one just had, you know, off street outdoor parking space.

It’s a ground floor unit. The other one was upstairs. Like there’s a lot of things that are better about this property and it’s only slightly more expensive. And so, my clients are, are just thrilled, you know, cause uh, we think this property is going to work for them. We’re going to go see it actually tomorrow. So it’s those kind of stories and, and I can tell you know, others, a lot of times we do these mailings when it works the best. When you’re looking, when you know exactly what you want, when you have a very good idea. , I’ve done, I’ve done others where my clients are like, man, I really like West Fort Collins. You know, we want small acreage. , so we get on the tax record, we get on the County GIS map, cross-reference that data and we basically take a profile of what they want and we find all the properties that match their criteria that are in the database.

And granted, like obviously none of these properties are on the market, but we send them letters and the response we get is sometimes pretty amazing. , and so I call my clients and I say we got, four properties to go look at next week. None of them were on the market and, but I think, you know, a couple of them have really good potential. We should probably go look at all of them just to make sure. But from what the seller is saying, a couple of these have really good potential and they’re just like, Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. Like let’s go see him. And so obviously like with the condo thing, , that’s great just because we didn’t have to wait for that property to come on the market in a couple of months right now that we’re the only people looking at it, , the seller might, is likely going to pay one commission instead of two commissions.

You know, most of the time you have 3% on the buy side, 3% on the sell side. Sometimes when we do these letters, the seller wants to bring their realtor into the transaction and you know, they pay him whatever they want to pay him. , but a lot of times it’s just us. And so, you know, we’re paying, we’re taking half of the commission and the seller is saving half of the commission. And so our buyers have a better chance of negotiating a lower purchase price on that property. So the other thing it allows you to do is just to plan more and to prepare more. Because when you find these properties off market, they’re not selling instantaneously or they’re not selling in two weeks. You know, when you have a two week average days on market like we have right now, and you have a house to sell before you want to buy your new house.

And for the majority of people they have to sell that house to buy this replacement property. When that happens, it’s just very difficult. It’s like you have to either put your house on the market and go ahead and put it under contract and then go try to find your replacement property knowing that you have, you know, a 30 day escrow period, maybe longer if you can negotiate it with the buyer, maybe you can get a lease back, , after that escrow period. So let’s say maybe you have to, the maxim usually is three months after you put your house under contract in order to find your replacement property. But sometimes you need more of, especially if you’re looking for something super specific, you need more than two months to find that replacement property. For a lot of people, the home purchase is about, five months, you know, from the time they first call us to when they’re done.

You know, it varies, but a lot of times it’s four to six months, sometimes even more. So to think that you can just put your house on the market and then expect to find that replacement property, it’s a tall order. It doesn’t always happen. A lot of times, like we’ve talked on other podcasts about this, that we have furnish executive rentals that we will recommend to people in these situations. If they do sell their house and they are looking for that replacement property and haven’t found it yet and they don’t want to compromise, you know, and maybe, or their lease is going to expire. , you just don’t want to be under the gun to find a replacement property because that’s when you make bad decisions. You don’t want to feel pressure. I talk a lot about being patient as a realtor and not pressuring clients.

You want to feel like you buy that house. When you find something that’s awesome, not when you find something that will pretty much work. And you know, it’s kind of a compromise. So when you’re able to locate these properties off the market, you have time. You know, these people, a lot of times they’re in the, they’re starting to think about selling, but they haven’t gone through the full process of listing the house for sale. , sometimes they’re gonna do a couple of renovations or you know, some cleanups and fix up and they’re like, look, we’ll let you into the house, but we’re not quite ready. Like, here’s when we were thinking about closing and you’re like, awesome, that’s perfect for us. So then you can plan and then you can say, awesome, we, so we found our replacement property, let’s put it under contract and then let’s go, sell our current house.

Also since these properties are not off the market, you have a better chance of having the seller accept a contingent offer. You know, not in every case, but certainly since the property is not off the market, you’re not competing as much with other buyers. You know, you may have a better chance of the seller saying, well, you gotta contingency. Okay, I’ll take it. , the other thing is this strategy allows you to target like your specific property types and me and talked a little bit earlier about this, but you tell me the area that you want to buy in, in the type of house that you want. And it’s like, let’s go target, , Greenbelt lots in those neighborhoods. You know, let’s go target small acreage in West Fort Collins. Let’s go target, Poudre Canyon, river front property. The more specific we can be with what we’re looking for, the better that mail works.

When I can tell people, Hey, it’s Ryan, my clients, they’re looking in the Poudre Canyon. They want riverfront property. Like those kinds of letters work really well. Or, Hey, you’re getting this letter, you’re getting this because you own a property between half acre and two acres in West Fort Collins. So, uh, I found a couple of amazing farmhouses on small acreage in West Fort Collins with the strategy. And these are properties that you just can’t believe, that we got a chance to buy it before it went on the market. They’re just, they’re unbelievable properties, very desirable. And for us, you gotta think, you know, for a seller, yeah, maybe they, they don’t necessarily get the benefit of open market competition, but it also, it’s great for them. It’s kinda like a trial run. You get to have a buyer walk through your house.

You don’t necessarily have to put it on the market. You get some feedback. You think, Oh, are these real buyers? Well, you know, they show up, get shake their hand, tell them about the house, it’s for one, it’s kind of like, it’s not like the full commitment. You don’t have to go through the process of listing with a realtor. , you can just see if these buyers are interested in your house, what’s the big deal? Just let them walk through. If they want to make you an offer, great. It’s a great way for them to kind of test the market, , without the full commitment of like a million showings, listing, committing to a realtor, all that kind of stuff. So it can be, it can be great on both sides. , and a lot of these properties will not go on the market.

I mean, you probably have known people that sell off market. It certainly happens a lot just for a variety of reasons. , sometimes people don’t want their neighbors to know or the property’s not in a condition that they’re excited about putting the property publicly on the market. So there’s many properties that will not be sold on the open market. And a lot of times those properties go to investors, you know, that are paying well below market for those properties. You know, if they’re distressed, most of the time that’s a distress sale. , you know, we’re not net, this is not an investor strategy where we out there looking for like arbitrage to like buy a property, you know, 30% in our market Valley. I mean investors do that and that’s fine. They do their thing. But that’s, that’s not what this is about. We’re trying to find, premium property in Northern Colorado.

We’re trying to pay a fair price, but we’re trying to buy it before it goes on the market. And uh, I just, I’m really excited about this. Like I said, we haven’t talked a ton about it, but I think we’re going to start telling people how, how much of a benefit this is. Let me tell you about another set of buyers of this works really well for. And that’s, you know, the properties that are in the low three hundreds in Fort Collins are few and far between. But there are neighborhoods that, you know, you still have $300,000 sales, three 25 sales, sometimes even high, $200,000 sales as are getting fewer. And fewer, but those properties do exist. Neighborhoods exist. They still had those price points. And if you are on a budget, you should be talking to us about purchasing in those neighborhoods because we can find you those properties before they hit the market.

The properties are typically very competitive and you don’t have to wait, you know, to just sit around and you know, have your feed set up on Zillow to email you listings, be proactive, let us be proactive for you. , let us go find those properties before they hit the market so that you can get first crack at them. And you know, there’s really no downside to this for buyers. We pay for all the mail. It benefits us to be in contact with these home sellers that raise their hand and say, yes, I am preparing to sell. And so it’s really, you know, there’s, there’s no commitment, there’s no cost. It’s just, you know, you tell us what you want and we’ll go find it for you. And obviously we use this in conjunction with the MLS. This does not happen for every single client.

And it’s not like all of our, some of our clients are looking at in a broad area. They’re not exactly sure what they want. And so this strategy is not employed in 100% of the cases, but the more that we do it, the more that we think that we’re going to start employing the strategy with, with all of our buyers. , part of the reason that we don’t employ it in every situation is because, like I said, sometimes our clients don’t know exactly what they want. It’s hard to target a mailing sound like we can send mail out to every single person in Fort Collins. The mail does not work well when we send it to a broad area, it has to be specific.

And so one of the ways that we have started coaching our clients in order to get specific with what they want is to, obviously we look at stuff that’s on the market but sending a client, , two years, so let’s say they S they give me like general criteria, beds and baths, general area of town, or sometimes people don’t even know what part of town they want to be in. They just know, you know, I like this style of house. I need this number of beds and bathrooms, we want an open floor plan. , we need a bigger yard. Those kinds of criteria. That’s not, I mean it’s something to go on, but it helps when we niche down further and it’s, sometimes it’s hard for people to describe exactly what they want. , but if I can send them two years worth of sold inventory that matches that general criteria and they can go through all that inventory.

Now granted, these are homes that have already sold. So sometimes this can be kind of disappointing. Like, Oh gosh, I wish I could buy that one. But what it does is it allows, that’s how we create that profile. , and that is how we can kind of say, okay, these are the, so they, let’s say they look through a list of 200 homes and this is, you know, it’s a big list. But if you’re only looking at the properties that are on the market right now, there’s just not a lot. I mean there’s some, but especially like in the off season, , but in a low inventory market, at any given time, you’re looking at a handful of listings that match your criteria. But you really have to survey the market for, you know, three months to get a good feel for what could be available in the future.

And so that’s why I like to go back a year, sometimes two years, depending on the property, the property type and how plentiful it is. Send you all those listings, say gimme your top five. And so I say, okay, they just look through two years of inventory, here’s their top five properties. And, uh, this is our profile. This is where we’re going to target with our direct mail campaign. And that just clarifies everything for us. It clarifies everything for them. A lot of times, some as the stuff that people want doesn’t actually exist or it doesn’t exist very often. Some as we can say, man, there’s, we’ve been looking for a couple of years and, or we, we’ve looked through two years of sold inventory and you know, there’s three homes that match your criteria. So this could be a waiting game and you know, that’s fine if that’s the case and they, and they want to wait.

But a lot of times when people realize that they might adjust their criteria to expand their search. So as a hope that helps, we’d love to do this for you. Again, there’s no, , kind of no strings attached. This is a, this is a great way to open up the world of real estate. Do not just rely on Zillow, let us find properties before they hit the market. , you don’t have to buy them obviously, but it’s fun to get to look at him and it’s also really cool to get to meet the owner. Most of the time when we do this, the owner is meeting us at the property. You get to walk through the property with somebody that knows the house intimately. You get, you know, the stories behind the property. You get all that detailed knowledge that you don’t often get from a realtor.

And so that can be incredible. It’s also just cool to meet them face to face because it’s hard in a real estate transaction when you have a realtor on each side, everything’s going through intermediaries and that’s fine. In some cases that can be helpful, but I think it’s super beneficial. And after doing a number of these transactions and getting buyer and seller to meet face to face and to sit down, it is much different, it’s much more laid back. I think people are much more accommodating of each other. It’s just every single time it’s a smoother deal. And I love getting buyer and seller to sit down together and to meet each other face to face and to realize that there’s a real person, the other side of this deal. And you don’t just have to go through your realtor intermediaries. So, think about waterfront, think about Greenbelt. Think about your perfect part of town, old town. You know, you tell us what you want in old town. We will find that before it hits the market. , just be specific with your criteria. You know, you want, you want to be close to Horsetooth reservoir, you want to be in the Canyon, you want small acreage or large acreage East of I 25 you like a particular neighborhood. If you can get specific with what you want, you’re on the right track and we’ll find you something awesome with the strategy. So hope we get to do it for you. Thank you so much for listening. I hope this is helpful. Check us out on the web. Gray rock Again, my name’s Ryan Jenkins. I’m the broker and the owner at gray rock Realty. We’re a small family owned firm. Check out our reviews on Google. We are, from what I’ve seen the highest rated, multi-person real estate firm in, we’re very selective with who we hire. You cannot go wrong with anybody at our firm. And, uh, we would just love to sit down and talk with you and tell you, how we can find an awesome home. So thanks again for listening. Have a great day.

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