Cutting to the chase… how, when & why you can buy or sell off market.

Monday 03 Sep 2018

About 10% of property sales in Sydney occur “off market”. An off market sale happens when a property is not advertised to the general public, so you might be left wondering exactly how to get involved.

Sellers have a wide range of choices when it comes to offloading a property.  In a buoyant or rising market, most sellers choose a public sale to take advantage of strong buying conditions and the competitive marketplace.  Usually either by public auction or private treaty, properties are put to the wider market via public advertising channels ie. online, in print or social media to capture every buyer out there, with the intent that the property will be sold within about 4 weeks, for the highest possible price.  A public sale will test the market to its fullest, and it’s almost guaranteed a seller will achieve the highest price.

So why would a seller opt to keep a property out of the public eye?

There are many reasons but the most common is that the seller requires a quick sale.  This could be due to a sudden change of circumstances. Sometimes the seller has bought elsewhere, and requires the sale of their existing property to happen before they settle on their new purchase. Regardless of the reason, sellers can be smart in opting for an off market sale, so they can move on quickly to meet their current priorities.

For sellers, the best way to achieve a great off market price is to align with an agent who has recently sold a similar property to theirs, as the agent may be dealing with an under-bidder, or several.  They will also have a number of buyers on their database in your price range, and can offer the property exclusively to those buyers.  A great agent will understand the motivations of each and every one of those buyers, allowing them to match the right buyer at the highest price with your property.  Agents also have solid relationships with local buyers agents, and can gain exposure but in a private manner through the buyers’ agent channel.

For buyers, an off market purchase can reduce the amount of time they need to spend inspecting properties each week. But buyers will need to cut to the chase and let an agent know their exact budget and requirements in order to be matched with an off market opportunity, as often they happen fast. It’s smart for buyers to build relationships with real estate agents in order to be notified of any genuine off market properties, as a sale off market generally won’t attract as much competition and can be wrapped up very quickly. 

Off market sales continue to grow in numbers, as most agents now have access to excellent technology enabling them to leverage their databases and communicate with a number of buyers in seconds. For buyers, every meeting with a real estate agent is an opportunity to ask if they have any off market opportunities and to be added to that database.

With a reduction in auction clearance rates, sellers now have the opportunity to test the market secretly and perhaps secure a great sale outcome without expending large dollars on marketing campaigns.

- Kate Webster