County Homesearch: Off-Market Property
For anyone not familiar with the property sector and its specific language, ‘offmarket property’ is a mysterious and somewhat baffling phrase. The vast majority of property sellers will contact a local estate agent in order to advertise their property, both online and in a high street window, but often these properties are not offered to the market in a ‘traditional’ way.
What is an off-market property?
In recent years an increasing number of owners prefer to keep their property sale private and so do not advertise in the normal places. This may be for a variety of reasons. In the past people choosing this option did so just for privacy; they may be local business people who do not want to start rumours of potential business failure when people see a for sale sign go up in their local community, it could be a marital split which they want to keep private, they may be selling just to acquire a specific property and rely on the agents to just contact the ‘hot’ buyers they are aware of without fully exposing to the market. But increasingly they are sellers who want to sell quickly and discreetly.
These are known as off-market properties. Often these are one-off or more expensive properties, or it could simply be individuals who would prefer to move quietly or who are seeking a quick sale with minimum disruption. These properties could be offered privately by the seller who may approach property finders direct, or through estate agents who will only offer the property confidentially to property finders who they know often act for clients who can proceed with the purchase quickly and discreetly. In some highly sought after locations off-market sales can count for up to 25% of the market.
An off-market property owner may still employ an agent to handle their affairs but simply request that they do not advertise the property. Alternatively, celebrities, well-known individuals and local businessmen often wish to avoid media involvement and the subsequent publicity, as well as numerous strangers trying to arrange a house viewing. Similarly, landlords can be wary of spooking tenants unnecessarily if they just want to get a sense of the market when they want to sell on their investments.
Off-market properties sell quickly
Some properties are so sought after that offers are made and a sale agreed before any related marketing material can be produced. In competitive housing markets like Oxford and the popular villages throughout Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds, properties can be easily sold without the need for brochures, window listings or for sale signs. This is especially true of higher value properties worth over £1-2 million, but this is by no means always the case.
Probably on a weekly basis I am approached by agents who offer me access to property that will not be advertised. The agent knows that I only act for clients who can proceed to exchange of contracts quickly, without a sale, and often only professional property finders are given access to these properties.
I am often approached by clients who have been trawling the internet without success and are then amazed to hear of property I have secured for my clients in areas they have been searching in unaware certain houses were even for sale.
The easiest way to find off-market properties, is to employ the services of a property finder. Any good, well-experienced property finder will have built up strong mutual relationships with local and national estate agents. Estate agents are far more likely to tip-off reliable property finders about upcoming opportunities than members of the general public.
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