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How to Find Off-Market Multifamily Deals

Finding deals before the general public is key to acquiring properties at attractive prices. One of the best ways to source off-market multifamily deals is through a proven, multifaceted sourcing strategy. While some people may get lucky stumbling upon off-market deals by chance, the most successful investors employ a disciplined and consistent approach to deal flow.

A major component of any deal flow strategy should be monitoring the market constantly for signs of distress or impending listings. Things like expiring tax liens, soon-to-mature balloon loans, rent rolls declining in recent months, repairs or renovations trailing off, familiar properties coming on the market after being owner-occupied for a lengthy period, or new listings that seem overpriced relative to comparable properties currently rented can all be clues that a motivated seller may emerge soon. Staying in tune with the local commercial real estate broker network is also helpful as some deals emerge from brokers first before being listed publicly.

Beyond monitoring the active market, another key tactic is direct outreach to potential sellers. This could include expiring listing follow-ups, rent roll reviews to target properties with declining income, and research to identify properties held by distressed sellers, private companies motivated by business failure or succession planning, property portfolios being dismantled, or families with multiple investment properties looking to unload some assets. Contact them directly, express interest, and try to get pre-listed or off-market deals.

Networking is also one of the most valuable tools for deal flow. Meet with local real estate agents, private lenders, investors, developers, attorneys, accountants, and other service professionals in your area. Let them know you are interested in deals and looking to purchase properties. Many smaller deals emerge within these networks before being pushed to wider audiences. Staying active and top of mind with them is worth the effort.

Another strategy you can employ is wholesaling or assignment deals. This means finding a motivated seller willing to assign an existing sales contract to you at a discount. Do some research to find properties currently under contract but possibly overpriced relative to the local market. Reach out to the motivated seller, make a case for why reassigning the contract to you at a lower price may benefit them, and try to negotiate the best possible deal you can. Done right, this can be a source of attractively priced properties.

Direct purchase offers (DPO’s) are also an option for finding off-market multifamily deals. A DPO means making an offer to purchase a property directly from its owner before it is listed. You need a system to identify properties to make offers on, likely combining analysis of rental income, listings that seem overpriced, and a network that can provide leads for desirable properties that may be motivated sellers. Make a compelling offer in writing, but be prepared for mostly rejections—you only need one deal to emerge from many offers.

Staying active and persistent in your deal flow efforts will finally yield opportunities to acquire attractively priced properties before the broader market knows they are available. By monitoring the market, making direct outreach, leveraging your network, considering assignment and wholesale deals when prudent, and submitting DPOs, you greatly increase your odds of finding the kinds of off-market multifamily deals that can set up future success as a real estate entrepreneur. Continually refining and improving your deal flow strategy is key to becoming a top performer in finding undiscovered deals. With time and consistency, off-market deals can go from being sporadic luck to a predictable and substantive part of your business.

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