Professional property finder Jonathan Hopper discusses why prime properties continue to be sold off-market in the current climate, and how to access these opportunities

A plethora of mixed messages are currently swirling around the property market creating a real sense of flux.

On one hand, a disparity between the number of people looking to buy and those willing to sell is creating an apparent buoyancy in some areas of the local housing market.

On the other, gloomy news headlines and market commentators, such as Rightmove and Nationwide reporting continuing price reductions across the country are creating a feeling of caution amongst many.

One effect of this mixed picture is that several would-be home movers have decided to stay put. Of course, there are still people who would like to move, those who plan to downsize and those ready for a change but, in a period of uncertainty and without a real need or prompt, it is often easy to do nothing.

Interestingly, a consequence of this situation is a growing interest in selling off-market where the pace can be better controlled, and cautious sellers have time to find their next home before being pressured to move out.

How to find off-market properties

Some local selling agents regularly have discreet properties that they can offer to a few select buyers but, in a market where stock is short, most prefer to advertise their properties on the open market.

The strong relationships most property finders have built with selling agents means they can often introduce their clients to these off-market properties but sometimes this is not enough.

At Garrington, we know that some homeowners respond to a direct approach and this prompt, if from a reputable property finding firm representing a genuine buyer, can unearth some exciting homes to potentially buy.

More time needed

To buy an off-market property effectively it usually takes more time than if on the open market. Homeowners who will consider the possibility of selling have usually had a general discussion about the idea at some stage beforehand, but some are caught completely by surprise.

In both cases, the homeowners need time to process the idea of moving and to begin looking for somewhere to move to themselves. Nobody likes to feel pressured to move, but this is particularly so for those who have been approached out of the blue.

How to buy off-market

In the current market conditions, buyers need to give owners of off-market properties plenty of time to ‘get up to speed’ and this may mean starting to look 9-12 months before they need to move in.

Buyers need to be very clear about what they can offer the homeowners to incentivise them to agree to a deal whilst being firm on what is not possible. Some sellers set an inflated asking price so it’s important to understand the realistic value of the property in the prevailing market and in the context of the buyer’s long-term plans.

Garrington is highly experienced in finding and brokering off-market property deals to the mutual benefit of both parties.

For more information on how we can help, please contact Garrington.