Real Estate News & Commentary

MLS Bargain Hunting: Tips and Tricks (Part 3)- The Pending Hijack

41 Articles Written
MLS pending properties

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been giving you some tips and tricks to use when searching the MLS for deals. (In case you missed Parts 1 and 2 of this series, you can read them here and here).

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

In today’s article, I’m going to be talking about a little-known tactic used to snag deals off of the MLS, called the “Pending Hijack”.  This is somewhat of a top-secret Ninja strategy that I learned from one of the investors in my mastermind group, and I can tell you from first-hand experience, it is quite effective.

I don’t know what it’s like in other markets, but here in Tampa, everyone and their Grandma (and also their Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc), is going after REOs that are listed on the MLS.   It’s like the Wild West out here, and you don’t really stand a chance at scoring a great deal unless you either have an REO agent in your back pocket, or you are willing to try some out-of-the-box strategies.

Enter, the Pending Hijack.

The Pending Hijack strategy (or as I refer to it- PHS),  is really quite simple and can be broken down into the following 3 steps:

  • Step #1: Do an MLS search for pending properties in your target area and price range
  • Step #2: Look for properties that have gone past their “Expected Closing” date.

               Here’s an example (taken from my MLS) of what I’m talking about…

MLS Tips and Tricks

This one is an REO that went under contract on the 23rd of February, and was supposed to close on the 12th of March. Hmmmmm….. I wonder what the hold-up is?

Let’s proceed to step #3 to find out….

  • Step #3: Call the Agent (who probably won’t answer their phone), and get the skinny

If you actually get the agent on the phone (unlikely), the call should go something like this:

“Hello Mr./Mrs. Realtor, I was calling about that property you have listed on 123 Main St. I see that it’s listed as pending, but was just wondering if there was any chance that it might be coming back on the market….” (I also make it a point to add that I am a cash buyer, and that I’m not working with an agent).

If the agent doesn’t answer the phone, I leave a voice mail to the same effect, and then follow up with an email.

Now most of the time, the agents will just brush you off, but every once in awhile you’ll hit the jackpot!

To give you an example- over this last weekend I called 27 agents who had pending listings that fit my buying criteria. I ended up speaking with 12 of the 27 that I called, and left voice mails and emails for the rest. Monday morning I got a call from one of the agents who I sent an email to, letting me know that the property I was inquiring about was getting ready to fall out of contract, and asking me if I’d like to put a back-up offer in.

I had my offer over to her office within the hour, and am waiting to hear back from the bank today to find out if they are going to accept it. The best part is- the property is still listed as pending in the MLS, so I have ZERO competition!

If you want to swim with the sharks in the REO tank, using the Pending Hijack strategy is a great way to get a leg up on your competition. Keep in mind that’s it’s a numbers game, but one that can pay off handsomely if you are persistent.

Give it a shot and let me know how it works out!

    Chris Guthrie
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Pretty cool information Steph… Thanks again!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Awesome tip! Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂
    RJ Pepino
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Very creative Steph, Thinking outside of the box is a must in this market. Thanks for sharing =)
    JP Moses
    Replied over 9 years ago
    Great stuff, Steph, as always! Bringing the goods! Brilliant strategy! …jp
    Sherri Gaines
    Replied over 8 years ago
    Hi Steph, In the previous postings of this series, you talked about alternatives to the MLS. Are you saying here that we can find this same info on and Or is this PHS found only on the MLS? Just wondering. 🙂
    Replied over 8 years ago
    Hi Sherri, No- you would need MLS access to get the information about pending properties. Sites like and only provide you with the basics. Steph
    Replied almost 8 years ago
    So how will this work for buyers without access to the mls listings?