Buying Off-Market Property – Good or Bad Idea?

Off-market properties are always sought after, especially among buying agents and property finders. This type of exclusivity regarding property finding is a real luxury.

What is an Off-Market Property? And Why Are They Off-Market?

Also known as ‘pre-market’, ‘grey market’, ‘privately available’, ‘quietly available’ or ‘bottom-drawer’, an off-market property is a property which is available to buy but is not listed publicly on property portals such as Rightmove.

As property search agents, we often have access to properties considered off-market. So, if you’re looking for an off-market property, you’ve come to the right place.

How Can Buyers Find Off-Market Properties?

In fast-moving markets, it can pay to find out about off-market properties. It can be difficult for an individual buyer or investor to be “on the list” for every relevant selling agent to contact when a property becomes available. The best way to access off-market properties is to work with a property finder or buying agent like Stacks.

Because we are so active in the market and work with many selling agents, we are often first to know about upcoming properties in various popular areas of the UK. 

Private sellers can also get in touch with us directly to let us know that they would sell ‘to the right buyer’.

Pros and Cons of Buying Off-Market Properties? 

There are pros and cons to buying an off-market property.

Pros

  • More properties available for the buyer – broadening your search to include properties that are available off-market can give you more options to choose from.
  • Sometimes, you can land a bargain – if the seller is looking for a quick sale, then you can sometimes get an off-market property for a lower price.
  • Quicker process – an off-market process is often chain-free, and may therefore be quicker.
  • Minimise the risk of gazumping – because the house is not publicly available to buy, there is a lower risk of being gazumped. More about gazumping here.

Cons

  • Don’t rely on a bargain – although there is a chance you’ll get the property for a better price, you shouldn’t rely on a bargain just because it hasn’t been market-tested. So whilst there is less risk of a bidding war, there is often a premium to be paid for the exclusivity.
  • Quality risks – without a selling agent to oversee the property, you may find that some aspects of the property are not in prime condition and may need your urgent attention when you acquire it. If you’re hoping to buy off-market, our best advice would be to work with a buyers agent like Stacks who can help you ensure there are no nasty surprises after completion.  
  • Seller risks – of course, this is a risk with any property, but with off-market, we see more vendors pulling out than we do with on-market properties. This could be because they were just “testing the waters” and have decided not to sell. Or because they believe they could get more for their property if they went to the market. Either way, it’s a risk to bear in mind.

Why is a Property Off-Market? 

When a selling agent lists a new property, it takes roughly two weeks for the floor plans, photos, website listing and documentation to be created. During this time, property agents may be notified and able to book viewings, etc. If there is interest, it may go on to a sale, in which case the seller can choose to sell off-market.

As well as a property selling before it’s officially on the market, there are some reasons that sellers may choose to specifically sell off-market. Some of these reasons are;

Cheaper for the seller – selling quietly can be cheaper for the seller, saving on estate agency fees. However, they could be missing out on competition driving up their price.

Seller privacy – if the seller doesn’t want their neighbours, family or friends to know they’re selling, they may sell off-market. There are also typically fewer property viewers, so if the seller wants to keep people viewing their house to a minimum, they may choose to go off-market. 

Financial pressure – if there is a need for a quick sale of the property, then off-market could result in a faster sale. This could also be because of a change in the circumstances of the seller. If death, divorce, or other personal circumstances come into play, then selling off-market may be quicker and more convenient for the seller.

Testing the market – sometimes, sellers decide they want to test the market before committing to putting their property up for sale. The quickest way to do this is to go off-market with the sale. 

Stacks and Off-Market Opportunities 

Buying off-market can be risky, but you can reap huge rewards.

If you are looking to invest in an off-market property and you want to work with a buyer’s agent, then contact Stacks today.

For more information about off-market properties, take a look at our article here.

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