How does the ‘grey property market’ work in the UK ?

Also known as ‘quiet marketing’, ‘grey market’ properties are those that are available for sale, but not on the portals, or appearing in estate agents’ windows.

“Quiet marketing” involves withholding properties from the portals, or sometimes uploading a brief outline with little detail, a general but non-specific indication of location, and no pictures. Agents will contact suitable buyers on their list and aim to sell the property without ever going to the open market.

Such is the strange state of the post-Lockdown property market, you will find the best properties are being sold immediately they come onto the market – leading to lots of frustrated house hunters.

Grey marketing used to be reserved for celebrities, politicians, etc – those vendors wanting to remain private – or wanting to test the market; but now it’s becoming a more mainstream way of selling efficiently, and of course, suits sellers who are worried about Covid-security perfectly.

The downside of more properties being on the ‘grey market’ is that it makes the lack of suitable properties seem even more severe, so why would a property not be on the property portals?

Whilst historically, attracting large numbers of buyers was an aspiration for selling agents, in today’s climate, where conducting viewings is time consuming and onerous owing to extensive protocols, selling agents are aiming to attract only the ‘hottest’ buyers.

For the best properties, they are recommending quiet marketing so they’re not inundated with requests for viewings, which suits vendors whose prep for viewing is even more onerous than the usual tidying up!

Agents have lists of buyers who are pre-qualified in terms of finance, intent and readiness to progress, who offer the best chance of a straightforward deal for the vendor, and less wasted effort for the agent.

Negotiating when demand far exceeds supply is challenging, but equally you need to make sure you don’t pay too much. The trick is to make yourself look like a very attractive buyer – cashed up and sounding serious!

If you find yourself having to deal in the grey market as a buyer, you must understand what you’re entering into.

First of all, you’ve got to get on ‘that list’ of good buyers who receive ‘the call’. ‘Make friends’ ie badger the agent – making them aware of your intent and proceedability, and making it clear where your money’s coming from, and who your professionals are.

If you get onto the list, and get a call to offer you a viewing, make yourself easily available to view at a moment’s notice, and follow all protocols to the letter.

You need to know enough to be able to commit, both about the area and the property.

You’ll need to have seen what else is on the market to establish the benchmarks for the area – get out and see all the other options, even if they have drawbacks.

Do as much investigation into the property as you can independently of the agent. Do desktop research, get to the viewing early so you can walk around the environs and the outside of the property, so you know the questions you want to ask.

Research the viability of your plans – if that’s finance, have confirmation of funds; if that is planning opportunities, know that what you want to do is reasonable for the area – planning advisors can help with that.

You will then be ready to be decisive – If there’s an ‘open house’ day, go ready to buy, do not expect to be able to linger nor go back for three or four visits.

Being given what amounts to a leg-up by the selling agent into inside knowledge of a market that is suffering from shortage of supply tends to mean that there will be some level of buyers’ premium to be paid.

It’s not a transparent market, establishing the correct market value can be difficult, and if you start haggling too hard about the price there’s a good chance there’s another buyer behind you in the queue who’s prepared to pay.

When you make a bid make it on the understanding that you won’t be leaving the bid on the table, you expect a speedy response. You want them to avoid going on down the list and looking for a higher offer.

It’s not all in the vendor’s favour, nobody knows what’s going to happen next month, or even next week, so agents and vendors are adopting a make-hay-while-the-sun-shines attitude. Proceedability is king, vendors will go for cash buyers where the deal can be done quickly even if the offer is slightly lower

Grey market properties will not be cheap, but they may be perfect for you – if you’re househunting in earnest, you should get cracking on your research and networking asap.

How can a Buying Agent help in the grey property market ?

Search Agents are routinely called first, when a new property is about to be available.

Sensible vendors will be contacting their local buying agent when considering putting their house on the market, so we often know about off-market houses that may be available to purchase, even before the estate agents do. Why not get in touch today with Stacks Property Search to find out more on how we can get you ahead of the competition in your property search.

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2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
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It is not often that one is pleased to part with money but I can truthfully say that I am on this occasion. You have earned every penny of this cheque and what is more, you have done it with great courtesy and good humour. It has been very pleasant working with you. You really did take most of the stress out of our house hunting.

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2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

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2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
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"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
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2019-05-02T11:00:08+00:00
"You made a huge difference to our search as I am sure you do for all your clients."
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2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
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2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
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2018-11-21T12:46:40+00:00
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"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
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2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
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2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
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2020-01-13T11:50:30+00:00
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2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
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2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
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2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
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