Garrington Property Finders: A property shortage?


Increasing house prices driven by a shortage of properties available to buy has been fuelling press headlines for many months - Credit: Copyright (c) 2013 Andrew Roland/Shutterstock

Professional property finder Jonathan Hopper explains that despite an apparent lack of property for sale, there are opportunities available

Rising house prices driven by a lack of properties for sale has been fuelling press headlines for many months, leaving numerous would-be homebuyers, who are ‘stalking’ the property portals daily, frustrated. The situation shows no signs of improving over the coming few months.

Unbeknown to many house-hunters, some of the finest homes to change hands over the last 12 months have been sold ‘off-market’. While some buyers are vaguely aware of this method of sale, many hold the false assumption that only high-value homes are sold this way, which is not the case, as this hidden element of the UK property market has a wide range of opportunities for all budgets.

Why choose off-market?

There are no hard and fast rules why certain homes are sold off-market; it is usually influenced by market conditions and a seller’s personal circumstances. However, over recent years delicate and private sales because of death, divorce, debt or being well-known locally are frequently cited as motives for keeping a property sale off-market.

With so few properties openly available for sale over the last year, some sellers have become wary about selling too quickly and then not having anywhere to move to. Selling quietly to a patient buyer offers both certainty of sale and confidence to look in earnest for a new home without the usual pressures.

As we approach Christmas there is the possibility that sellers planning to launch their property for sale at the beginning of 2022 may now entertain a ‘one-off viewing’ from a serious party while the property is technically off-market and yet to be advertised.

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A buyer’s dream?

On the face of it, being able to purchase a property off-market sounds appealing for a buyer as the property will usually be fresh to the market and there is likely to be less or no competition from other parties. However, buying off-market may also mean that the sellers will expect more flexibility with timescales, as they will probably not have found their next home yet, and they will most likely expect to achieve a full price in order to prevent them formally marketing the property to other buyers, which could result in a bidding war and push the price up. The art is to negotiate a deal where both buyers and sellers are happy and neither feel outdone by the price agreed.

How to find off-market homes

The key to a property finder’s success, and more importantly the value they offer to a client, is their contacts and involvement in their local community and surrounding areas. Contrary to popular belief it is not just the local estate agents that contribute to the supply of off-market options provided to property finders. Interesting and discreet information can come from all manner of sources including solicitors, tax advisors, wealth managers, interior designers or architects, for example.

Having been offered off-market opportunities, clients of a property-finding firm can enjoy ‘preferred buyer’ status. This is due to a seller or their agent taking comfort from the fact that the buyer has chosen to be represented in their search, which further underlines their commitment to a transaction. In situations where a seller only wants to reveal their intention to sell to a select number of people, property finders are usually at the top of the list to be notified.

While finding the right property to purchase in the UK is likely to remain challenging, it is by no means insurmountable with the right experience, contacts and access to all options in the market.

Garrington helps buyers to find and purchase properties that meet their lifestyle requirements. Their local expertise and in-depth knowledge of the property market helps homebuyers to consider a wider choice of properties and purchase more effectively.