In many bigger markets with more primary homes owned, as opposed to secondary, selling your property “off-market” or as a “pocket,” commonly occurs during a Seller’s market. Demand is high, buyers feel they have an exclusive opportunity to get a home before anyone else can, the sellers don’t have to deal with being swarmed with showing requests or adding days on the market while maintaining a low profile, etc. For the Coachella Valley, it is very rare to see a property sold in this manner, as most owners and agents believe it is best to bring the home on market, even if it is in a coveted area, has an architectural build, etc., because the demand is typically not as feverish here, in a highly secondary residential home market. Properties can sit 6 months, or even 12+ months, before an acceptable offer is submitted- especially in the high-price ranges ($2m+) in many of the premier Country club communities where the owner is not just purchasing real estate, but also is financially committing to the lifestyle and maintenance obligations that come with membership.
In short, listing your property off-market is really dependent on whether its location is super-active, or whether the house itself has distinguishing characteristics (architectural pedigree, superior qualities, etc.). The off-market property can still have a sign, can still be listed on Zillow, can be marketed through social media, and can be subject to whichever other strategies for exposure are implemented in a written agreement between owner and broker. It is always advisable in this situation to ensure all details and scenarios are discussed and acknowledged in a contract.
As desert agents, we would absolutely want to see more off-market listings. The Coachella Valley real estate business still generally subscribes to the “seasons,” as homeowners tend to start pulling their homes off the market in April or May, and then put them back on in October or November. So, for 5-6 months there are fewer properties to show clients, and, though we are seeing more sellers keeping their properties on the market in the hotter months, there is still a substantial decrease in inventory on the whole.
If you are a homeowner in a Country Club that “shuts down” during the off season, it may be understandable to subscribe to the “season” effect because many are set up to be run seasonally and the homeowners follow suit- but this doesn’t mean that as an owner you still can’t market your property without racking up days on the market as you try to capitalize on being available to show while other homeowners are not. Each month that goes by is another month of expenses.
If you are a homeowner in a very “hot” community, typically with little or no monthly HOA and in a price range that attracts a substantial number of buyers, you are seeing that many of these communities stay active all year long. Buyers are scouring real estate websites and listings that agents send them, and an off-market opportunity will tend to give a little juice to the exclusivity of the opportunity.
In summary, if you are a homeowner that is willing to sell at any time of year, remember that if the Coachella Valley realtors and the general public don’t know that you are ready to sell, no one will reach out to see the home. A large number of Days on Market is not as sensitive in the Coachella Valley as in big markets, but it is understandable that an owner doesn’t want to rack too many up- so look for off-market options to make sure your property can still be considered.