What Does Off-Market Mean in Real Estate?

What Does Off-Market Mean in Real Estate

We’ve all heard the expression of a home being “off-market," but what does off-market mean to potential sellers or buyers?

Simply put, an off-market property is a property that is not listed on a multiple listing service (MLS). Which is the short way of answering “What does it mean when a house is off the market?”, or, “What is off-market property?”, and even, “Off-market meaning?” 

A real estate definition of “what does off-market mean?” states: 

“According to the real estate off-market definition, it means the home can be bought if its owner is presented with an acceptable offer but has decided not to promote the fact in public. An off-market sale is faster, but not always the best outcome.” 

On most realtor websites when they state a home is ‘off-market’, they mean that to the best of their knowledge, it’s not for sale based on the available data. But as we mentioned, with the right offer the owner of the property may be interested in making a deal and selling their home. 

In some cases, the home could be listed by the owner, but no one has seen the marketing. As you can see, figuring out “what does off-market mean on Realtor listings?” is not always clear-cut. But hopeful buyers asking “does off-market mean sold” will be reassured that it’s not necessarily the case.

If you are in this situation of trying to figure out the off-market meaning in real estate or  sell your house off-market, there are a number of great advantages and some disadvantages to taking this method for finding the right buyer.

What Are the Advantages of Selling Off-Market?

Now that we’ve figured out “what does off-market mean on a house?” let’s look at why it can be beneficial. As mentioned, there are numerous advantages to selling your home off-market, and these include:

Test Marketing Your Home

There’s no better way to test the market conditions than doing a dry run first. Test market your home and desired selling price before you decide to list it. This will give you an idea of the home’s saleability, and you can gain some insights into the local market, the competition, and your house's worth. 

If the home is priced too high, you can still lower it without notifying the MLS and avoid putting a banner on your listing stating that you’ve reduced the price.

No “On-Market” Counter 

When you list your home on the MLS, there’s an on-market counter. This counts the days that your property has been on the market without selling. With every new day on the market, applies the pressure on you to sell and potentially, lower the asking price.

If you are selling a high-end home, it could take longer to sell, and this makes it susceptible to low-ball offers. But by taking the off-market route, you can potentially avoid this and have a better selling experience. 

More Control 

If you are interested in keeping more control over the home selling process, this route will give you that. You will dictate who views your home, when it is available for viewings, whether you’re going to sell it as is, as well as what the asking price will be 

If you are a homeowner who prefers privacy, this is also great as there won’t be a lot of foot traffic coming through the house. 

No Open House Costs 

If you ask anyone who has recently listed their home, or has done it in the past, a major pain point is preparing your home for open houses. 

Having to spruce-up the home, make costly repairs, and making yourself scarce in your own home. If your home is off market, when you do show your home it is only for serious buyers who are interested in the bigger picture. 

Also, last minute viewings won’t be a thing as, once again, you’re in full control of proceedings.

Avoiding the MLS Limelight 

For certain home sellers, the attention that MLS listings bring is unpleasant. Also, if you are a private individual, having your home on display online could feel like an invasion of privacy. 

Or if you are the type of person who isn’t comfortable with having people walk through their home, then going with an off-market sale is a major plus. 


If you’re looking to simply and discreetly sell your home when facing a divorce, an estate sale due to a death,  or any other reason, then the formal process of selling your home will just add stress to your life. 

But it’s not all positives. As there are a number of downsides to selling your home off-market. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Selling Off-Market?

There are two major issues with trying to sell your home off-market. These include: 

Fewer Buyers  

If you’re not advertising and listing your property, similar to a pocket listing, expect fewer buyers throwing in offers on your home. 

Also, with fewer buyers, you will more than likely be sitting with your home for longer. As a home that sits on the market, even if it is off-market, it is a property that loses value. 

And if your buyer comes with a contingent offer, you may not have many options.

Potentially Lower Price

If you’re not advertising that your home is on the market, you’re not going to attract many buyers. Without offers being made on your house, you’ll eventually find yourself looking at lower prices for your home. 

But rather than listing your home on the market, or off the market, you can avoid all the markets and get a cash offer for your house, right now. 

Paying For Marketing Expenses

By taking the off-market route, you may think that you’ll be saving on fees for MLS and other marketplaces. This, however, is replaced by the costs of purchasing marketing material for individuals. 

You’d be surprised how much a direct marketing campaign can cost. From the envelopes, printing, and shipping, it can quickly add up to a small fortune! 

Not Knowing the True Market Value

While many professionals will be able to determine a fair market value from punching a key set of numbers into a comparative market analysis, the real price comes when offers start rolling in. 

If you’re looking at maybe looking for assistance from a realtor, but want to keep your listing private, you can always pocket list your home.  

What Is a Pocket Listing

A big part of figuring out “what does off-market mean?” is understanding the types of listings you will be working with. A pocket listing is a type of off-market sale. It’s where the seller, rather than trying to sell the property by themselves, enlists help from a professional realtor. While this isn’t listed on the usual MLS listing, the realtor will use their connections to find a buyer. 

The real estate agent will advertise these properties - which they might list as “office exclusive” - to a select database of clients within their brokerage. 

Brokerages or real estate agents use reserve pocket listings for wealthy clients who are trying to avoid the limelight and they are usually for expensive homes. 

This practice has become very popular in the last few years. But it has drawn some bad attention from the industry. And the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has recently put in place a policy that prohibits their members from marketing properties as pocket listings. 

But if you’re not interested in off-market sales, pocket sales, and knowing the difference between under contract vs. pending, then you should sell your home to House Buyers of America. 

Sell Your House Fast With House Buyers of America!

We buy homes for cash! Our Real Estate Consultants are ready to take your call at 855-999-0629, or you can use our online form to get started!

As the perfect buyer for your house, we’re going to give you a fair cash offer on that phone call within 10 minutes

Many of our clients couldn’t believe how quick, quiet, and efficient the process was. Then again don’t take our word for it, you can ask our customers

If you accept the offer, you will be assigned a dedicated Real Estate Consultant who will organize a time to meet at your house, who will also bring along the paperwork to sign. 

House Buyers of America will handle all of the paperwork and we’ll do it quickly if you’re ready to sign on the dotted line. 

And once you’ve signed the contract, you will see the cash in your account in a matter of days. 

House Buyers of America has been in the business of buying and selling homes since 2001. And in that time, we’ve bought thousands of homes. 

Currently, House Buyers of America will buy homes in Washington DCvirginia house buyersMaryland, and all throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

If you are looking at getting rid of your home without the crowds, or the complications of understanding the differences of “under contract vs pending”, then we are exactly what you’re looking for! 

Give House Buyers of America a call today!

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Sell your home directly to House Buyers of America and can skip all the hassle and months of uncertainty. Simply enter your address – and get our offer with a few simple steps.

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Our commitment to a speedy sale is a hallmark of House Buyers of America. Any Condition, AS IS This is not a gimmick. We buy houses AS IS in Maryland, in any condition—from a tear-down to relatively new houses. Whether it needs tons of repairs or no repairs at all, our purchases are not made based on the condition of the home. Our offers are made in cash for any condition and on an AS IS basis. When Should You Use House Buyers of America? Clients of House Buyers of America range across demographics, ages, and financial situations. We help make it possible for Maryland homeowners to achieve their financial dreams. As a result, there are certain reasons why our customers tell us why they sell their houses to us. Job Transfer Did you just get a promotion that requires you to relocate? Or maybe your local office is closing down and you have to relocate to another city quickly in order to keep your job. Whatever your job transfer needs are, we offer cash for your home and we can close quickly. Buying a New House Perhaps the thought of juggling the sale of your current home and purchasing a new one at the same time in the same local market might be creating a lot of stress. Have you considered having to have your home staged and then factor in coordinating where to live after you sell? What should you do? Put a home sale contingency in an offer to purchase a new house and risk making your offer much less competitive. Or should you buy a house first and then risk not being able to sell your current house, leaving you stuck with two mortgages? This is the age-old real estate dilemma. If you’re in this situation, you’ve come to the right place! With House Buyers of America, you get a guaranteed sale of your house and we’re flexible on the closing date (and no closing costs). After the purchase agreement is signed, your home sale is covered and you can start looking for a new home without worrying about selling your existing home. Divorce Divorce can be a huge disruptor, emotionally and financially. In most cases, the divorced couple needs to sell their house fast so they can divvy up the assets and make a clean break. Many in a divorce situation look for a “sell my house fast Maryland” company so they can sell their house without having to go through the arduous process of a traditional sale. Finding a real estate agent, renovating, cleaning, and staging the house, agreeing on a list price, negotiating the terms of the contract, etc. This is normally a stressful enough task, but if you add divorce into the mix, it feels impossible. Why not pick up the phone and get an offer in 10 minutes? Or simply fill out our online form and get an offer quickly. No need to renovate, stage, select a Realtor, and deal with people traipsing through your house and losing all of your privacy for 6-12 months. Real solutions are well within reach. There is an alternative: House Buyers of America! Financial Distress Are you in a financial bind with thousands of dollars locked away in your home? Most people do not realize they can directly access the accumulated equity of their home in their hands in as little as 7 days until they contact House Buyers of America. We offer fair prices for when you need an immediate cash infusion to stave off foreclosure, bankruptcy, or whatever life throws at you. Medical Emergency, Retired, Downsizing Some of our clients are elderly and have stayed in their homes for years, but have stumbled into a medical emergency and need the equity in their homes to pay for hospital bills. When this is the case, whether you are a homeowner or a care provider, you might need to sell your Maryland home quite quickly. Others simply want a hassle-free solution for downsizing into a smaller home and want equity in their legacy home. Estate Sales House Buyers of America have also helped thousands of people who have suddenly inherited an unwanted or unneeded property. When dealing with an estate, many heirs can’t decide or agree on when to sell the house or who will take care of the paperwork, so the house is left sitting vacant and deteriorating for months or years. Estate sales can bring out the worst in people and families often get torn apart in the process. The traditional real estate process can be complicated and often doesn’t work well for estate sales. The unique estate laws that apply in Maryland can also create some additional complications. So why not try a simple, fast, and hassle-free solution that all of your family members can agree on? Get an all-cash offer in as little as 10 minutes by contacting House Buyers of America. A Fresh Start We’ve talked about several reasons you might want to sell your Maryland house to a cash buyer. Then there are those unfortunate circumstances in life that require a complete and total liquidation of your assets when you need a speedy exit from your current home and town. By getting an all-cash, guaranteed offer from House Buyers of America and getting your house sold in as little as 7 days, you get that fresh start without waiting. That’s why we continue to be the choice of people looking to “sell house fast in Maryland,” as well as other nearby states.