Keep it on the low down ... buying and selling property off market is gaining in popularity. Picture: Supplied Source:Supplied
THERE’S no denying buying and selling property is a painful — and expensive — process.
But many Australians don’t realise there’s another way, and it’s getting more and more popular as market uncertainty deepens.
Off-market sales are those which occur without public advertising, with real estate agents contacting interested buyers privately.
Traditionally it was fairly rare for properties to be sold this way with sellers only choosing the off-market route as a last resort if they needed to sell immediately, usually when a relationship breakdown or financial difficulty was involved.
But that’s changing, with a growing number of buyers and sellers embracing the trend.
In McGrath Estate Agents’ 2017 McGrath Report, founder John McGrath revealed off-market selling was taking off across all price brackets but particularly within the prestige sector, where privacy was a key priority for wealthy clientele.
Get on to agents’ email lists to be notified of off-market opportunities. Picture: iStockSource:istock
And in October last year The Australian also confirmed off-market prestige property sales were on the rise.
So why would you choose to buy or sell off-market?
For sellers, off-market sales are cheaper as they don’t require an advertising budget. They are also far more private. The general public is kept in the dark, with fewer potential buyers traipsing through the property for inspections.
For buyers, off-market purchases can be less stressful and more convenient for those who don’t want to go to multiple viewings and auctions. They also mean less competition from other potential buyers.
To find out about upcoming off-market properties, it’s important for potential buyers to get onto email lists of real estate agents in the area, and be honest with them about what they are looking for as well as budget.
Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll said he was “certainly” seeing more and more off-market sales, and that they had obvious benefits for buyers.
“If I was a buyer, I’d be rubbing my hands together and licking my lips — it’s fantastic as a buyer because you’re not necessarily buying in isolation, but you don’t face the same level of competition,” he said.
But he cautioned that while sellers could save money on advertising costs by selling off-market, a lack of competition meant they might not get the best price for their property.
“If you are getting divorced or experiencing financial hardship I understand you wouldn’t want the world and their dog to know what you’re going through so hush-hush sales are more attractive and advantageous,” he said.
“But ultimately my advice to any agent is to encourage their client to get their home in front of as many eyeballs as possible to create more opportunities and competition and get a higher price.”
He said he believed off-market sales were growing as real estate agents got savvier about leveraging their database of keen buyers.
“They realise they can save themselves and their clients money by accessing their database,” Mr Driscoll said.
CEO of Starr Partners Real Estate Doug Driscoll says there are pros and cons with off-market sales. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia
While Dana Sawyer, of Mount Eliza in Victoria, is still waiting to find her perfect property, she sees buying off-market as a more convenient method.
“I’ve been looking for an investment property and this has meant spending a lot of time going to view properties and attend auctions,” she said.
“Often the property didn’t suit or sold above my price point. It’s been a waste of time for me.”
Dana Sawyer, from Mount Eliza in Victoria, is one of an increasing number of buyers flocking to off-market viewings.Source:Supplied
TINDER FOR PROPERTY
Real estate agent Liane Fletcher was so convinced of the growing demand for off-market sales she launched her company Property Whispers with co-founder Larry Mendelowitz last year.
She said the website, which matches vendors who are keen to sell off-market with potential buyers based on their requirements, was like “Tinder for property”.
“The idea came about when I was working as a real estate agent and I regularly saw buyers missing out at auctions with limited access to off-market property,” she said.
“I had buyers who knew off-market properties were available but they just didn’t know how to access them without spending money on a buyer’s agent.
“With the reduction in clearance rates, vendors don’t know if their property will sell or not, so this is a platform for them to sell in an environment where there isn’t a huge cost to them if it doesn’t sell.”
Ms Fletcher predicted the popularity of off-market sales would continue to grow in future.