Off-Market Property – Is It On The Market Or Isn’t It?

Confused by the property phenomenon of “off-market property”?

Consider this. An estate agent rings you and asks if you would like to view a property. You ask them to send you the particulars, but there aren’t any. You look it up on their website – but it’s not there. Are there any pictures – well, no…. so, is it on the market? 

On The Market or Off-Market – What Does it Mean?

One of the best questions a buyer can ask when viewing property is ‘why?’ An understanding of a vendor’s motivation is valuable when it comes to negotiating, and finding out why a property is being marketed quietly is a crucial factor when it comes to securing it wisely.

There are a number of reasons why a property comes on the market without a fanfare. More often than not it’s simply that the vendor doesn’t want the associated hassle – people wanting to view who aren’t serious buyers; neighbours gossiping; staff becoming unsettled; or children needlessly concerned.  These ‘in the drawer’-type properties are sometimes termed as being on the ‘grey market’.

Another reason is that the best time for marketing doesn’t always coincide with a property being at its most photogenic. So an agent will start getting potential buyers around the property in advance of the full marketing material being produced.

Be warned however, pre-marketing is sometimes used as a device for ‘trying’ a property at a big price. The agents don’t produce any marketing material, and they offer the property to a few select buyers. If it doesn’t sell, they put it on the market officially at a lower price.

How Should I Proceed if I’m Not Sure if a Property is On The Market or Off-Market?

If you’re interested in a property that isn’t properly on the market, you need to ask lots of questions:

  • When is it likely to be advertised/appear on the website etc?
  • How many people are seeing it now?
  • What is the vendors’ situation – do they want to move quickly, are they serious about selling or are they just testing the market, have they found somewhere else to live? Find out as much as you can.

If you think you are being offered the property at an optimistic level, you would do well to take advice and find representation for yourself. Stacks will sometimes advise purchasers on a property they have found themselves, and we will assess how much over the odds you are being asked to pay. We will also advise you on how to go about securing it with the advantage of no competition, while negotiating the price to a more reasonable level. It’s not unreasonable to be asked to pay slightly more for a property if it means you have a clear run at it, but there are ways of playing the situation to your advantage.

Why not have a no-obligation chat with your local Regional Director now?

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