The Washington real estate listings consist of the lineup of area homes that are currently “on the market.” They’re for sale. Offered to buyers. Available for purchase. “On the market” is a straightforward real estate term; end of discussion.
So, you’d think that “off the market” should be equally unequivocal, and it would be, if it weren’t for “off-market,” with which it’s easily confused. And then there’s the fact that what actually happens after a formerly listed property goes off the market can result in a several different outcomes.
Sounds like a dose of contradictory Washington real estate jargon—but it can be sorted out with a little determined effort. Here goes:
In real estate, off the market denotes a property that was listed in the past but currently pulled from the market. It no longer appears in the updated Washington real estate listings, either because the owner has decided not to sell, or because the property is now in the process of being purchased (so more buyers don’t need to be recruited). When phrases like ‘under contract’ appear in a listing, it has the effect of being off the market at the moment, though interested buyers might keep an eye on it in case the sale doesn’t go through. An owner might withdraw a home if they now believe the market is not active enough to warrant more effort at this time, or because some event has caused them to decide to keep the house.
Off the market, in today’s web-centric real estate reality, is not quite as cut-and-dried as in former eras. Because the Internet never seems to forget anything, an off-the-market property may still pop up onscreen when buyers search for new Washington homes for sale (particularly when some of the national sites don’t promptly remove outdated listings). Your Washington Broker can keep you up-to-date on the current status of any local property.
On the other hand, Off-market is sometimes used as a synonym for “off the market,” but can be used by some national websites for upcoming properties that are being marketed, but have not yet been listed. More often, off-market is used to denote a property that is for sale but will not be advertised publicly. Since such a property isn’t entered into the Washington listings at all, most potential buyers will be unaware that it’s available. You might think this is a nutty way to try to sell a home, but there can be good reasons. Celebrity owners may be in a constant battle to stay out of the public limelight, and therefore resort to an arrangement (formal or informal) with a broker to discreetly market their home. Later news will say something like, “Janet Showbiz sold her 18 bedroom Bel-Air estate off-market for $11 million.” Some extremely high-end real estate offerings are offered quietly to other brokers. This is sometimes called a ‘pocket listing.’ When successful, it results in an off market sale.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to want to discreetly search for—or sell—an area home. If you are beginning to think over your area real estate options, whenever you call me for a no-obligation consultation, it will always be treated with complete confidentiality.