What's on and off about off-market purchases?


We all like the idea of an off-market purchase, that being a property bought before it hits the open market, me as a buyer’s agent doubly so! However, you need to be aware that it isn’t all positives (though the positives definitely out-weigh the negatives!).

Little to no competition

There are many positives but the number one positive is the ability to buy without competition, or with limited competition and the flow on effects of this. This could enable you to take longer researching the purchase and negotiating the deal, but above all else, it should increase your chances of being the successful buyer – after all, the whole world doesn’t know about it. Or does it?

The downside

After you’ve had a number of goes at buying off market you soon realise that one of the negatives is the motivation of the seller. How keen are they to sell? The thing is, in a lot of instances, if they were keen to sell, then they’d do so properly... have multiple agents appraise the site, select an agent, run a proper marketing campaign and get the word out that you are selling! There are numerous reasons why someone would choose to sell off market and it is this reasoning that will often determine your level of success as a buyer. For example, a few years ago I sold my own home off market. We were preparing to sell properly and were perhaps 6-8 weeks off being able to market properly when an auction nearby of something similar had many under bidders miss out. We contacted the agent, asked her to discreetly talk to them and bring us offers. We were genuine sellers but we chose this avenue to take advantage of the known buyers in the market without word getting out that we were sellers. This was very deliberate as we needed to complete some finishing touches on the home for professional photos and a legitimate marketing campaign. We didn’t want to compromise this campaign with a half concocted effort prematurely. In this instance we were genuine sellers with a genuine reason as to why the property was to be quietly listed. However, in a lot of cases properties are put out there ‘off market’ because the seller’s are either only half interested in selling (i.e. motivation isn’t high), or they want too much money and know it, so don’t want to waste time and money marketing.

Why do it?

So why would you try and buy a property off-market and why do you hear so many people talk about it in a positive light (including us)? At the end of the day, the biggest challenge is beating the competition to the deal, not convincing the owner to sell. Yes you will have many instances where the seller’s motivation isn’t what you thought it was initially, so the off-market deal goes nowhere, but for me, being the only person (or one of the only) that knows a property *may* be available is a massive advantage in a market where there is strong competition. If I have to miss out on a few to win one, so be it. All it has cost me is time, and let’s face it, you’ll miss out just as often going for good deals that are out there and proud on the real estate listing websites.

As buyer's agents we are contacted by agent's almost daily with off-market deals. Want an opportunity to purchase one of these? Then become a member! Click here for more information.

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