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Maryland Real Estate Jargon For Buyers Can Sometimes Be Confusing – BLOG #34

Maryland real estate listings consist of the lineup of homes that are currently “on the market.”  They’re for sale. Offered to buyers. Available for purchase.  “On the market” is a very straightforward real estate term; end of discussion.  If you want the home, it’s ready to be purchased, today.

ExecuHome IS Maryland's Own Real Estate Company
ExecuHome IS Maryland’s Own Real Estate Company

So, you’d probably think that “off the market” should be equally unequivocal, and it would be, if it weren’t for “off-market”, with which it’s often confused and is much different.  What actually happens after a formerly listed property goes “off the market” can result in a several different outcomes.

This is just a case of contradictory Maryland real estate jargon—but, we can help you sort it out with a little determined effort. Here goes:

In real estate, “off the market” denotes a property that was listed for sale in the past but it is currently pulled from the market.  It no longer appears in the “ActiveMaryland 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 on 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 marketing effort at this time, or potentially 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when buyers search for new Maryland homes for sale (particularly when some of the national sites don’t promptly remove outdated listings, such as Zillow and/or Trulia, whom are notorious for having outdated information).  Your local Maryland Realtor® is the best source to keep you up-to-date on the current status of any local property (or the site you are on right now,, would also be a great choice).

On the other hand, “Off-market” is sometimes used as a synonym for “off the market,” but is often 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 or directly to other Realtors.  Since such a property isn’t entered into the MRIS (Maryland’s MLS) listings at all, and be default, most potential buyers will be unaware that it’s available.  You might think this is a nutty way to try to sell a home (and most times you’d be right), but there can be valid reasons to take such an action.  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 as well.  This is sometimes called a ‘pocket listing.’  When successful, it results in an off market sale.  Some other cases that “off-market” might be used is if the seller wants to have and pay for their agent’s services, however, is not planning on offering a commission to a agent who brings in the buyer, or simply as a way to drum up some activity on the property and to gauge interest before they decide to go into the active MLS system and promote the home to everyone.

Unlike most national home search sites, is a constantly updated, real-time database that shows you only the homes that are truly available.  By signing up for a free account you will gain access to Maryland’s entire real estate MLS, and truly search like an agent.  If you are beginning to think over your real estate options in Maryland, turn to ExecuHome Realty for a confidential no-obligation consultation.  Call us today at 443-632-3800… WE CAN’T WAIT TO HELP YOU.  ExecuHome Realty is Maryland’s Own Real Estate Company, and home to over 350 of the state’s finest and most experienced Realtors.

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