Frustrated buyers who are tired of being outbid often are forced to solicit homeowners for properties not on the market.
Sometimes their agents will send a letter or email to the homeowners to ask if they're interested in selling. It's unknown how often that tactic works, but a new app called DropOffer aims to simplify that process for buyers and their agents.
The DropOffer app, which is available for buyers by invitation through their real estate agents, provides property information and home valuation estimates on homes that are not on the market. Buyers can submit offers directly to homeowners through the app.
"There indeed is a real market in the 'off-market,' " says Kimani Clark, a patent attorney in Washington, D.C., and co-founder of DropOffer. "Many transactions occur that are not on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). However, those transactions are manual and implementing them can be cumbersome and inefficient. We believe we're opening up more opportunities by making every home available to everyone. It helps equalize the off-market buying opportunity for everyone."
Agents pay a monthly fee for the app, but there's no cost to buyers or sellers. DropOffer collects a referral fee from real estate agents when a transaction is completed.
"Real estate agents can invite their clients to join the app and then buyers receive information about properties their agent finds using the app," says Greg Burns, co-founder, president and CEO of DropOffer and a founding member of Compass Hawaii real estate brokerage. "A buyer can give the agent a thumbs up or a thumbs down, which saves or deletes the property in their shared database."
Homeowners don't have to do anything to receive an offer.
"If preferred, a homeowner can 'raise their hand' so that if anyone searches in their neighborhood, we notify them that this homeowner has indicated a willingness to accept offers," Burns says. "A homeowner can also opt-out at any time or opt back in if the timing and circumstances change."
If a buyer sees a house that they would like to buy that's not on the market, they can automatically tap the app to send an offer to that address. The homeowner receives the offer electronically via a web advertisement and email, along with a postcard mailed to the house. The offers include photos of the house so that homeowners know the offer is specific to their property, not a general solicitation to buy. Homeowners can respond via a system that allows them to accept, counter or decline the offer or ask for more information from the buyer's agent.
While DropOffer says the offers will be above market, homeowners considering accepting an off-market offer may want to consult a real estate agent or an appraiser to determine whether they could sell their property for more money on the open market.
"Many people who were not previously considering selling start considering it and actually do so when the number is high enough," Burns says.
The DropOffer app is currently available on the Apple app store. For more information, visit https://dropoffer.com.