Chris Koerner,  CEO of the boutique firm Off Marketers, recently sourced a 77-unit mobile home park in Oklahoma for a client. It was a great deal for the buyer as the park traded at an 11% cap rate, while rents were 30% under market. A yard sign, Koerner says, was the seller’s only form of marketing. So how did Koerner find this gem for his client? Driving around looking for ‘for sale by owner’ signs? Not in this case, although he and his team have done that before. This time, rather, he was working the phones and hit the jackpot – a property owner that was looking to retire. “We called at the right time,” he says. 

With real estate deals almost on pause as buyers and sellers try to get a better sense of price discovery, many of the transactions that are closing are being sourced off market. Buyers have their reasons for limiting the marketing of their assets and sellers like the price advantage – perceived or not – that off market delivers. Koerner, not surprisingly, believes that off market does deliver benefits to both buyer and seller. A marketed property might sell for a 6% cap but off market can go for an 8 or 9 cap, he says. Indeed, the economy doesn’t have to be sour for some buyers to prefer off market deals. Rexford Industrial Realty, for example, has turned off market acquisitions into an art form. 

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Erika Morphy


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