Can we let you in on a real estate secret?
Not every property for sale in our area is advertised. Silent, or off-market sales, make up an increasingly large proportion of the properties we sell.
So if you don’t want to miss out on finding out about everything that’s available on the market, here’s how you can discover the silent listings in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.
What are silent or off-market sales?
Beyond the properties you see listed for sale on realestate.com.au or domain.com.au, there’s a whole other invisible property market. These are the silent or off-market sales, where the property is bought and sold before it even comes onto the market.
Off-market sales happen without any public advertising campaign. Instead, it’s a bit like matchmaking. Real estate agents contact their database of keen buyers and tell them about a property that meets their search criteria that the owners want to sell.
Usually, we put a time frame on this sales method, and if a property doesn’t sell quickly we can launch a full sales campaign.
Selling off-market can save time and money. All we need is a seller authority to introduce buyers, and simply a contract of sale prepared by their solicitor or conveyancer.
Selling off-market can also have the added benefit of saving sellers money in marketing costs. It’s not until you actually go to market that we need to consider investing money on photos and advertising.
We estimate that around 20 to 25% of our total listings would sell this way – often for prices well above market value.
For example, our Toronto office recently sold a property off-market in August 2020 for $1.1 million, when the vendor had originally hoped for just $900,000.
Why would vendors want to sell silently?
There are three main reasons people would choose to sell off-market based on the many properties in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle we’ve sold through this method.
1. There may be some sensitivities around the sale. The vendor may want to protect their privacy by selling quietly and discreetly, without a full advertising campaign. Perhaps the home needs to be sold because it’s a deceased estate or there’s the heartache of a divorce. Many sellers find the low key nature of selling off market appealing in these more stressful circumstances.
2. The seller is cautious or uncertain. Sometimes, people are cautious because they haven’t bought or sold property in a very long time. Other people know they need to sell but don’t quite know if they want to sell just yet. If a seller has hesitations, listing the property off-market allows them to tiptoe towards selling and moving on with very few upfront costs or obligations (other than a legal contract for sale that must be drawn up by a lawyer or conveyancer). They can ease into it and find out what the feedback from buyers is before working out whether they’re ready to let go. More often than not, we find people who sell off-market receive a great offer and don’t need to proceed with a public campaign.
3. The seller is keen to sell but has some work to do to the house. Need another month to finish off that deck, paint job or retaining wall? Frequently sellers who haven’t quite finished a project choose to sell the property with us off-market. Motivated, qualified buyers from our database often don’t mind visualising the completed work or finishing the work off themselves, and it saves time and hassle for the vendor by getting it sold faster.
Off-market sales: A local case study
We currently have a silent listing in Bolton Point that we’re selling off-market. It’s a great house on the water and we have many buyers on our database who would be keen to see it.
We advised the seller that an off-market sale might suit because it’s a deceased estate that has been in the family for some time. The family is understandably grieving, and would like to avoid the added stress of a public sale.
Listing off-market enables us to talk to buyers about the property while giving the family time to get the property ready. We’ll show it privately to qualified buyers on our books who we’re already talking to.
But if it doesn’t sell in a month or so, it will go to market with a full advertising campaign.
Wouldn’t it be better to go to market?
The question we get asked the most around silent sales is: wouldn’t it be better to go to market? Wouldn’t I get a better price?
People assume that by advertising the property on domain.com.au and realestate.com.au you’d get more traffic through the property and therefore more offers. Logically, you’d think this should also equate to a higher price.
Our experience over many years counters this. If you take someone who’s actively looking to buy through a property they really want, we can often get an even better price. People who are motivated will often put their best foot forward and will make a really good offer to prevent others from seeing it.
In this way, an off-market sale can be a win-win situation for the vendor: they can sell for a good price without having to get the property market ready.
It’s also a win-win for the buyer because they can pick up a great property for a price they’re comfortable with and without the pressure of direct competition.
Should I sell off-market?
Selling off-market can often get a fantastic result for the seller without the stress of a full campaign. However, it’s important to remember that it is a strategic sales method and it’s not for every sale on every occasion. It often suits properties for which we know there are several qualified buyers, as well as for unique or high-end properties.
Sellers should consider it as one of several sales methods, including auction, expressions of interest or private treaty.
As your agents, we’ll be able to guide you through the pros and cons of each of these sales methods and advise you on which is likely to work best in your circumstances.
What off-market sales mean for buyers
We don’t advertise off-market sales through our normal channels. We only show these properties to qualified buyers on our database. Before we do, we’ll talk about the price point and show them a few photos.
If they’re still keen, we tell them to drive past and have a look. And, if they’re still interested, we can show them the property.
If a buyer doesn’t have finance pre-approved it’s unlikely we would bring them through. We’re looking for buyers who are ready to act and see the value in an off market opportunity.
How do I find out about off-market sales?
It’s not uncommon for a property to sell quickly through the off-market sales method. If you’re a buyer interested in finding out about off market sales in our area, register your interest by talking to us today.