The practice of selling ‘off-market’ property in London has always been a feature and its popularity is on the rise. It is estimated that in 2019 approximately 11% of all London sales transacted without hitting the open market.
I would suggest due to the current pandemic the number of ‘off market’ properties available are bound to increase. Especially in PCL, with vendors looking to test the market without been on it!
What is an off-market property?
Off-market properties in simple terms are not openly advertised. They are not listed on estate agents’ websites or window displays, no property portals and no ‘for sale’ boards are erected on the front lawn. Selling agents contact their existing registered buyers, other agents and buying agents to try and create interest in the property. Essentially their marketing is done via word of mouth, normally discreetly, but not always. In my career I have been offered many off-market properties by selling agents which everyman and his dog knows about, which sort of defeats the object of the exercise.
Why do Vendors choose the off-market route?
There are many reasons why a vendor may choose this route. Sometimes it is simply down to discretion. Some people do not want the world and his wife to know they are trying to sell their home, and for how much! They may not want details of their property made public via photos and floorplans and exposed to the world via a digital footprint. They may be unwilling to share their asking price, any potential price reductions and possibly evidence that the property came to the market and did not sell and is now been withdrawn from the market.
Sometimes it is simply to test the market before launching the property on the open market. This way the Vendor can see what level of interest they can acquire at a certain price point without fully exposing their property to the whole market and in turn creating that digital footprint. If the property concerned is a unique property with little comparable data, then this can be a particularly good tactic. Depending on the result, they can always decide to bring the property to the open market with all that entails at the right price in relation to their off-market experience.
One popular reason for going off-market is simply the owner is valuing their property at vastly too much money. The off-market route is an ideal way of trying your luck with a big price, without the downside of the property sitting on the open market for months and months not selling and in turn looking stale to potential buyers and the market as a whole. I have known off-market properties be available for literally years at crazy prices without selling.
The off-market option for the buyer
As a buying agent I am always discussing/showing off-market properties to my clients. Sometimes its great. I can offer properties which nobody else is seeing, essentially getting my buyers to the front of the queue. I show properties which they themselves would never have known existed without acquiring Xander Prime’s Acquisition Service. However, for the reasons mentioned above the off-market phenomenon can be a trip wire for buyers, especially if they are not using a buying agent.
Remember selling/estate agents act for the Vendor, always looking after their interests and constantly looking to achieve the best price for their client. Hence, they may show a buyer a property ‘off market’ which is well above its market value and up sell it. This is fine, this is their job, their client is the Vendor, the Vendor pays their fee, the buyer is purely their applicant.
By using a buying agent like Xander Prime this trip wire is cut. I obtain my fee from the buyer, they are my client and therefore I act completely with their interests at heart, not the Vendors.
Through my market knowledge and experience I have all the tools required to make sure off market opportunities are right for my client in all their attributes. I make sure my clients are always in a position to make a fully informed decision, reducing any uncertainty and in turn opportunity to buy the wrong property for them.
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