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How to Find Off-Market Homes

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Most home buyers start their search on one of the major property portals. After all, that’s where you’ll find the majority of housing stock for sale in the UK. It’s not the only way to find a property, though. And in recent years, buying off-market has become a popular method for getting the keys to a house. But what does it entail, and should you consider purchasing an off-market home the next time you move? We share the advice your need on how to find off-market homes.

What is an off-market home?

Essentially, an off-market home is a property not listed on the market. It involves avoiding conventional house-buying means, such as looking at the listings with an estate agent and searching on a property portal. 

You won’t find an off-market home on major property portals, nor will it be in the window at a high-street agent or listed at an auction. Basically, you won’t be able to find it using traditional methods. More often than not, you need to go through the seller directly.

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Why might you want to buy an off-market home?

The goal is to generate as much interest as possible when a vendor lists their home on the property market. The seller drums up plenty of demand in an ideal scenario and sells for the highest price possible. 

If there’s plenty of competition, you can find yourself on the end of gazumping late in the sale. With an off-market home, however, it’s unlikely that there will be rival offers from other buyers. From your point of view, it removes competition and offers a more straightforward sales process. 

Many buyers also believe that the best properties are sold off-market, though you shouldn’t expect a lower price just because there’s no competition. Indeed, the opposite is likely true, especially if the owner had no intent on selling before you made an offer. 

Buying off-market can also avoid property chains, especially if you don’t have a home to sell. Chain-free properties often sell faster than ones reliant on other sales, so you could also buy a home quicker when going off-market. 

Where to find off-market homes

Directly with the estate agent

While estate agents don’t typically advertise properties off-market, they might catch wind of one about to go on sale. Consequently, they could inform you about the home if it matches your requirements. This would allow you to make an offer to the vendor before it officially goes on the market. An estate agent may do this if you’ve been looking for a new place with them for a while and they think you’re a good match for the property. 

Go straight to the developer

Property developers are eager to sell their stock as quickly as possible to make a return on their investment. Therefore, it might be worth contacting local developers if you know of any sites about to complete in the area where you’re looking for a home. They may be willing to do a deal on the property before it officially goes to market. 

Buy the house you rent

If you’re currently renting and the property offers you a long-term option, ask your letting agent, or landlord directly, if they might consider selling. Buying the house you rent could be an off market option. You never know, so always worth asking.

Door drop houses

Another option involves knocking on the door of the house you want to buy and making an offer on the spot. This method of purchasing off-market homes is rare but has been known to happen. You’ll probably need to pay over the valuation price, as the owner is unlikely to be in a position where they thought about selling. But if they receive an offer too good to refuse, they could be inclined to sell their home to you. 

With off-market agencies

Special off-market agencies can help you find homes not listed on the sales market. They typically have contacts with developers, owners and agents, meaning they can get ahead of the curve and identify properties that may be available but aren’t listed for sale. These services usually come with a fee, but they can give you access to homes you didn’t know were for sale. 

Buying off-market

Buying a home off-market can be a savvy way to find your perfect property without getting into a bidding war with other buyers. Every home has a price, even if it’s not officially listed on the sales market. Do you research before you commit using a Move iQ property report, make the right offer, and you can potentially buy your next home away from the crowds and off-market. 

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Last Updated: January 19th, 2024