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Off-Market House for Sale: Buyer Guide

July 17, 2021

After years and years of thinking, talking and dreaming about it, the time has come — you’re ready to buy your home.

What next? You’ve got several options:

1. Going through listings and competing with other buyers. In this situation, sellers have all the power, especially if there are multiple offers for a house. The question of how much can I afford to spend on this property becomes crucial. If you can’t compete, you’re out.

2. Going to auctions and directly competing against other buyers in a nerve-wracking bidding war. It often happens that people get carried away and bid more than they intended. Yes, you’ll get the property, but at what cost?

Or, there’s another way.

3. Buying off-market, which eliminates a lot of these issues. Buyers are alerted to a property that hasn’t hit the market yet, which gives them a competitive edge. The main question here is, “How do I get access to off-market properties for sale?”

Welcome to Australia’s leading place for off-market properties — Listing Loop. With us, you get VIP access to the best properties for sale before anyone else. Here’s everything you should know about off-market properties to make the process of buying your home as pain-free as possible.

What Are Off-Market Properties?

Source: Istockphoto

Off-market properties are houses that are for sale but aren’t always publicly listed. This means you won’t always find an off-market property online or in the windows of a real estate office.

Note: In real estate, there’s a difference between off-market and pre-market houses for sale.

Pre-market property means that the agent contacts interested buyers to get an offer before the property is publicly listed or put up for auction.

Once a vendor decides to sell, there is a two-to-four-week time span between the day an agent is enlisted and the day the property listing goes live.

During this time, a house or an apartment is prepared for sale, which can involve:

  • Home staging
  • Professional photos being taken
  • Advertising materials being prepared

An agent can notify buyers if they think they will be a good fit for this property and arrange a time for them to visit the house before it’s publicly advertised.

On the other hand, an actual off-the-market property is sold without any intentions to be placed on the market.

There are several reasons why people decide to sell real estate off-market. Sometimes, the sellers want to test the property market without publicly putting their home up for sale.

Others, such as celebrities or divorcing couples, want privacy. Some people don’t have an active desire to sell a house until the right offer comes along.

All of this means finding and buying real estate off-market is a challenge.

How to Find Off-Market Properties

We put buyers first

You can find off-market properties yourself with a bit of effort. Here’s how:

Real Estate Agents

Off-market real estate isn’t advertised, which means you’ll have to be in touch with agents.

Our advice: Get on an email list of agents in the area you want to buy in, or directly email agents saying what you’re looking for.

Some good information to include is:

  • The area you want to buy in
  • Your budget
  • Type of real estate — house, apartment, etc
  • Land size
  • Proximity to public transport, schools, or other services
  • Special amenities and features you want — marble countertops, swimming pool, etc

Once the agent knows what you’re looking for, they can invite you to view a house they think might be a good fit for you.

Hire a Buyer’s Agent

A buyer’s agent is a person whose job is to find the best properties for sale for you. They’re usually really good at finding off-market properties and will show you more relevant real estate in your desired and surrounding suburbs.

A buyer’s agent will have the industry knowledge and access to unlisted properties, as some vendors would rather deal with an agent and have a quick sale than spend money on a real estate listing.

If you don’t want to do the legwork yourself, this is a good option.

Note: Buyer’s agents usually charge about 2% of the purchase price. For more info, check out average buyer's agent fees.

If you’re looking to cut down on the (astronomic) cost of buying a home, you can do a lot of this work on your own by using off-market websites.

Off-Market Websites

Off-market properties made easy to find

Thanks to websites such as Listing Loop, off-market listings have exploded in Australia.

Why? Because there’s no need for you to spend thousands of dollars on buyer’s agent services.

It’s never been easier — or cheaper — to find off-market properties for sale on your own.

Listing Loop has a streamlined and free process of signing up. Your dream home is a click away. Here’s what to do:

  1. Register — Input your information, as well as what real estate you’re looking for including the size and suburb.
  2. Get matched — As soon as there’s a listing that fits your needs, you’ll get an alert.
  3. Enquire — Respond to the alert to enquire about the property before it reaches other competitive buyers.

Other Ways of Finding Off-Market Properties

  • Word of mouth — Ben heard that a friend of a friend, Mary, is looking to buy an apartment. As it happens, he’s selling one, and they strike a deal. Always spread the word with friends and family that you’re looking for properties for sale.
  • Public records — Can feature pre-foreclosures or short sale properties. Check the local newspapers or state and local council websites for properties for sale.
  • Networking — Get in with three people: wholesalers, contractors, and real estate lawyers to get access to properties not yet listed.

Advantages of Buying Off-Market Properties for Sale

Property matches housed in your personalised dashboard

Less Competition

The key advantage of buying off-market is facing less competition.

Let’s imagine a typical property sale: the seller will have a dozen or more viewings. Add to that hundreds of people who will see the listing online. This creates an interest in the property, which benefits the seller, not the buyer.

Buying off-market puts you, the buyer, in a stronger position. You won’t need to worry about the seller rejecting your offer because of a better one. Having less competition means you can tailor your offer to get the price that works best for you.

Have More Time

Imagine this scenario: You’re at an auction, in the middle of a bidding war. You have seconds to decide how much you’re willing to bid. What’s more, if you win, you’re obligated to pay.

When buying off-market, you have the luxury of time. Less competing buyers means you can do any inspection on the house you want, and you can negotiate with the seller on the price.

Better Negotiations

Speaking of negotiations, buying off-market gives you more leeway. Chances are, you’ll have a lot of contact with the seller's agent, which will allow you more opportunities.

You can find out the seller’s motivation, why they’re selling, and if this affects your decision to buy.

Also, a smaller pool of more serious buyers means the seller will be more likely to take your offer into consideration.

Disadvantages of Buying Off-Market Properties for Sale

  • Finding a genuine seller — Sellers often use off-market sales to gauge the market, which means you’ll end up wasting your time if they aren’t serious about accepting your offer.
  • Privacy — Selling off-market means that a seller can stay out of the public spotlight. But, it’s more difficult for a buyer to maintain that level of privacy. You may be asked to sign an NDA, and you’ll have to be extremely careful about not spilling the beans.
  • Sellers can take their timeSelling off-market means no commitments, and some sellers may drag their feet, hoping that a better offer will come along.

Find Houses for Sale on Listing Loop

Consider buying off-market for ease and to get a better deal

Yes, buying off-market can come with some disadvantages. But, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

By buying off-market, you’ll have more time to negotiate, less competition, and more chances to get a better deal.

Do you have more questions about buying off-market? Check out our FAQ page. Or, even better, register today and get VIP access to thousands of homes across Australia.

Photo by Yanalya / CC BY

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