If you’re selling your property, you might be exploring selling off market and wondering if it would be better to take this more discreet and sometimes selective approach to finding a buyer.
As seasoned West London estate agents, over the years we have assisted many clients with selling their properties off market and contrary to popular belief, this route to a sale is no longer limited to only the most exclusive addresses.
Previously it might have been only prime properties in certain postcode areas or on particular roads that would be sold without reaching an estate agent’s window but increasingly properties of all shapes and sizes are changing hands without being openly advertised.
In this blog, we highlight what it means to sell off market and when it’s the best strategy.
What does it mean to sell off market?
Off market is the term used for properties that are being sold without advertising on the open market.
Sellers might choose this method of selling their home for several reasons whether it be to ensure forward plans are not openly advertised or wishing to only have select buyers invited to view.
In a busy market where there are more buyers looking for properties to buy than there are houses for sale, a seller might prefer to sell off market and ask their estate agent to only invite buyers that they believe are in a strong position but also who have forward plans that would align with those of the seller.
How do buyers find out about off market properties?
When beginning their search for a home to buy, buyers will register their details with the local estate agents to ensure their requirements for a house to buy are logged into the system for future suitable listings.
It might be that the buyers come via a property portal such as Rightmove or Zoopla where they have seen a property, they would like more information or arrange a viewing. From this initial contact, a buyer will often ask that their details are registered online so that the estate agent keeps them up to date with new listings.
When a property for sale is off market, the estate agent will contact suitable buyers directly regarding that specific property. Photos and floorplans are not always immediately drawn up for off market property sales.
Why do estate agents sell off market?
As to why estate agents sell off market, the decision can be driven by the seller or by the agent.
In certain circumstances selling off market is absolutely the right course of action based on the seller’s preferences.
In other cases it might be that the selling agent has a buyer registered, who has perhaps recently missed out on a similar property, and believes that they would be a good match, realising this at the point when they conduct a market appraisal the estate agent might propose that the seller permits an off market viewing prior to openly marketing.
Is it better to sell off market?
When asked if it is better to sell off market, the answer really is dependent on the motivation for selling and the current market climate.
Working together with a competent estate agent to find a buyer swiftly and without fully advertising would likely sound like the perfect scenario to most sellers but selling off market isn’t always the best strategy, and it is important to make a well-informed decision to ensure a sale is agreed at the optimum level and to fit in with your forward plans.
It is far better to take a tailored approach to selling a property, there is no ‘one size fits all’ way to sell houses, especially in West London where the market is often fast-moving, and the properties are diverse in size, age, and style.
What is the meaning of private sale?
Not to be confused with an off market sale, a private sale is one where the buyer and seller are in direct contact with no agent involved in the transaction. These types of sales are largely a rarity, often being circumstantial rather than a strategy that a seller will seek.
There are certain steps to selling a home, the first being finding a buyer and further down the line negotiations, managing conveyancing and handling what can be difficult discussions.
Whether selling on or off market, the professional guidance and involvement from an estate agent can prove incredibly valuable to ensure a property sale takes place smoothly whilst achieving the greatest outcome.
How does an off market sale work?
Selling off market works in a similar way to that of every property sale in England; it is the initial stages of marketing the property that are fundamentally different.
A seller will still be required to provide their agent with the appropriate documentation and agency contracts must be signed. An up-to-date EPC will be required, as it is for all property sales.
Similarly, negotiation and conveyancing take place in the same way as it normally would.
Is it easier to sell off market?
It’s likely that most estate agents have a ‘secret’ list of properties available for sale off market from time to time. In a fast-moving market, the list won’t remain populated for very long.
It is neither easier to sell on or off market from an estate agent’s perspective. Fairly priced properties will sell in a timely manner whether they are advertised openly on property portals and in the estate agents window or not.
Property transactions can sometimes experience bumps in the road throughout the process of finding a buyer, negotiating and conveyancing.
Discerning sellers should seek an estate agent to represent their property who they can trust and who demonstrates professionalism and diligence.
Selling off market with Horton and Garton
If you’re interested to learn whether selling off market is the right strategy for your property in the current market climate, please do get in touch with our sales team on 020 8819 0510 who would be delighted to explore the possibilities with you.