Finding the perfect match – the art of the off market sale
Imagine being able to sell your property without having to go through the rigmarole of a lengthy and costly marketing campaign?
The popularity of the off market sale, where a property is promoted without public advertising, has grown in the last decade.
Traditionally, the off market strategy was used by vendors seeking a quick sale or by those wanting a discreet change of hands without the stress of open inspections, blanket advertising and auction.
In more recent times, the off market approach has worked in situations where buyers who have lost out at auction are matched with similar off market properties.
This under the radar method gained traction during the real estate boom, which peaked in 2017, but lost appeal after last year’s market slump.
It has returned to some real estate agents’ marketing tool kits as the housing market bounces back and demand outweighs supply.
The best time to sell off market
Peter Nicolls from KR Peters - Wantirna says the “timing is perfect” for off market sales in the current buoyant market.
“The period of time it takes us to sell a home has gone from three months to 30 days, and it can be down as low as seven days - that’s because we’ve got more buyers,” Mr Nicolls says.
Disappointed buyers who fail to secure their dream home at several auctions know the market value of the product they are looking for and are willing to pay a premium price to avoid missing out again, Mr Nicolls says.
Mr Nicolls describes the agent as a “matchmaker” in the off market process.
“Traditionally, the agent takes the property to market through every channel. Whether it’s on the Internet, in the papers or ads on social media – the agent tries to find a buyer.
“But off market you’ve got genuine buyers that you’re working with and you know you can make a match.”
How off market works
The outcome of an off market campaign depends on the calibre of the agent and their database.
“The agent has to be mastered in the marketing strategy of the off market sale,” Mr Nicolls says.
He says an experienced agent with a detailed buyer database and a thorough understanding of prospective buyers’ requirements, including their maximum price range, will effect the best result for the vendor.
Usually, an agent approaches the vendor of a property that is a match for several database buyers who have organised their finances and are prepared to commit to a home that ticks the boxes.
The vendor commits to the agent through an exclusive arrangement that involves the signing of an agency agreement and the preparation of a contract of sale and purchase of land documents.
Vendors will still have to invest in a modified marketing plan for photography, floor plans, brochures and to style/stage their homes, Mr Nicolls says.
Mr Nicolls says the off market sale will never supersede auction and private treaty methods of sale but it has its place in a bullish market.
“I believe in the traditional methods where the more you expose a property in the marketplace, the more chance you have of getting a better price for your vendor.
“But if you’ve got a buyer who has missed out four or five times, he knows where the market is at and what a property is worth.”
Which, Mr Nicolls says, is where the off market sale can come into its own to benefit the vendor, the buyer – and the agent.