How do I Find an Off-Market Property?
Where to start looking!
In the UK, many investors look at trying to find the best possible property opportunities and there are loads of those, on the market. But there are opportunities, that are classed as off-market.
What is an Off Market Property?
Well, the clue is in the name. It is usually a property that isn’t on the market in any way, shape or form. So, it’s not on the mainstream, property portals, it’s not with your mainstream, high-street agents, it’s not going to an auction. You can’t find it, using traditional methods.
Usually, it’s by going directly to the seller.
And for it to be a true, off-market property, it would be limited, in the number of people, that might be exposed to it and who might, actually, know it is available.
So, who sells off-market properties?
You might find a developer or an agent, sometimes, selling an off-market property but it’s rare. You would usually find a property seller that has that property, themselves; maybe a homeowner or even a landlord, that’s looking to sell that property; typically, a one-off property that they want to fast or privately, for some, particular reason.
It doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the property – it could be in a very good location and be a very good property – it just means that there is a particular want or need, from that seller, to achieve a quick, private sale.
Now, we touched on agents; we touched on developers, that might sell off-market opportunities, as well. But for it to be truly off-market, you wouldn’t see those agents or those developers, selling them on portals.
So, there is a first place that we’d usually recommend to look at, for finding these off-market opportunities but before I touch on that, let’s look at the reasons why these off-market opportunities can present a very good property, that other buyers haven’t found. So, maybe you can buy at a fantastic price, maybe it’s in a perfect condition, maybe it’s the perfect tenant profile or the perfect location for you. Maybe it ticks all your boxes. But because of the lack of interest from other buyers, you might be able to buy it, with terms that are more favourable for yourself.
Why do people sell off-market?
There are many reasons why sellers would wish to keep their property off-market and the reasons for doing so become more important, when we are talking about executive homes.
Privacy – Ensuring that nobody knows about their home being on the market, from friends and family, to nosey neighbours.
Anonymity – It may well be that the sellers would not like people in their circle to know that they are selling, perhaps for personal reasons.
Control over who can see their home – Nobody will have access to any information about the property without the explicit permission of the sellers
Viewings only available to genuine buyers who have demonstrated that they are in a position to buy, avoiding time-wasters
When a property is marketed in public, those with an ulterior motive are able to look through the property and gather all the information they need, not only about the house, but everything in it, perhaps with a view to breaking in.
And that is, usually, why people might prefer off-market or like the idea of off-market opportunities.
So, how do you find those agents and developers? Why would they list and where would they list? As I’ve said, they don’t list them on the mainstream portals. You’re not gonna find them on Rightmove or Zoopla or some of the other property portals, out there.
Some of those agents have very close relationships with sellers and also, maybe, property developers. And it might be that a property becomes available, off-market, within a very short window of time. So, maybe it’s available just on Monday for 24 hours, if they can find a buyer that fits their requirements.
So, building up those relationships, with those agents, is critical to finding off-market opportunities. It is not like you are going to be able to log onto a platform, in some way and just see a whole list of opportunities because very often that would then mean that it’s on the market; same as any other property opportunity.
If every single buyer can do the same, it reduces its likelihood of being off-market.
You do need to build up some personal relationships. You do need to find agents, that you can build up that conversation with and you need to let them know that you are available to move fast, if you do find that particular off-market opportunity.
Word of Mouth
The second way, is with word of mouth.
Friends or family or anybody within your circle or network, that might have a property that they want to sell privately, for some reason, would usually lean on their contacts, to consider a private sale, first, rather than going out there, to the whole of the open market.
And that’s difficult to replicate.
If you have a particular circle of friends or family or contacts, you might not be exposed to regular off-market deals.
That, typically, means that you would fall back in the first camp and try and build that network and try and build those relationships, with your agents and find potential ways to get introduced to those opportunities.
Advertising Direct to Sellers
The third way, is to advertise for those opportunities, yourself, directly to sellers.
You’d be trying to get your message and your brand and your company and your ability to buy off-market properties, in front of those sellers, before they’ve even thought about or yet, got to a position, where they are considering, listing their property for sale.
That is going to require some time and some effort and some funds but you can do newspaper adverts or leaflet drops. You can advertise on websites and on social networks, your business and what you are looking to try and buy. So, there are ways that you can get, directly, to those sellers, with that model.
‘For Sale by Owner’ Websites
And the fourth option, that we usually see investors looking at, is not just building relationships with agents but also looking at ‘for sale by owner’ websites – sites like Gumtree – to see properties listed for sale and you can directly contact that seller. So, rather than going via an agent, you can directly contact the seller, for that property.
Personally, I’d say that that’s not really off-market. It is usually, on market because buyers, again, can see that same property. It is just going directly to the seller, in this instance but it’s still listed on an open portal, that anybody can find.
‘For sale by owner’ websites, although they do have opportunities and you can, for sure, go directly to those sellers, are limited, in terms of the scope of those off-market opportunities.
So, personal relationships, marketing directly yourself and then also going to these ‘for sale by owner’ websites, to contact those sellers, directly, are usually the ways, that we see people go down this road.
If You Are Looking For Introductions, We Can Help
I’ve spent many years in the property industry, working with different types of developers, agents and sellers, directly and understand how to how that market fits.
And I have a many partners, that I work with in that space, that have genuine off-market opportunities. When they are genuinely off-market, they do go fast. So, it’s really worth making contact with me and my partner agents, when you are in a position to and feel like you are ready to buy, with the ability to make a decision, when those opportunities become available.
But if you are looking for those types of properties, let me know. I’d be happy to help and introduce you to the partners that we work with.
Hopefully that helps answer your question for you. I look forward to catching up with you soon.
If you need help with any aspect of buying and selling executive homes, investing or developing, please feel to get in touch anytime using the Contact Form below.