Q: How do you define wholesale in the real estate market? I was driving through a neighborhood that my wife and I like very much.

One of the properties that has been on and off the market for several years has a “For Sale” sign in the yard again. But this sign says, “For (Whole) Sale.” We cannot find the property listed on any of the MLS sites we have searched. The sign only has a phone number on it.

What is the difference between buying or selling wholesale and the regular way of buying and selling?

A: I have no idea what the seller of this property is doing. Typically, wholesale refers to a place that sells in bulk — like a fruit or vegetable company that sells to grocery stores. Costco also refers to itself as a wholesaler, since it buys directly from the manufacturer and then sells to customers in bulk.

But when it comes to a home, there are only three types of sales that I know of: You can sell with the help of a full-service agent, or you can use a discount agent of some sort (where you, the seller, do some or most of the work in exchange for a reduced commission) or you can sell by owner.

Perhaps this is a novice seller and he is looking to sell by owner to avoid paying a commission. Or, perhaps this is a novice agent looking to gain an advantage with rather innovative marketing techniques. Or, perhaps this property is one of many that the seller is trying to sell in a package deal.

You have nothing to lose by calling the number to see what the story is. But be sure you know what you’re doing. Anyone who offers to sell a house “wholesale” may not.