One major reason for using a buyer’s agent in your property hunt is their ability to access off-market deals. These can be absolute diamond purchases where the buyer competition is low and the seller is motivated.
Off-market deals refer to property that’s available for purchase but isn’t publicly advertised for sale. The vendor simply and quietly wants to find the right buyer and often wants particular contract conditions.
Owners choose to sell off-market for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they are extraordinarily private and don’t want to advertise their intentions to all and sundry. They may be looking to sell quickly and with minimum fuss. They might want to control who comes through their property and have an aversion to open homes and inspections.
Whatever the reason, off-market deals require you as the buyer to be among the select few who are told about the listing – and that’s a challenge if you aren’t working daily in the industry.
Here’s how I, as a specialist buyers’ agent, unearth off-market properties for my clients.
Focus on the where and what
Through detailed discussions and considerations with the client, we formulate specific criteria on where and what they want to buy. It is imperative you know exactly what you are searching for when chasing off-market deals. It’s a surgical strike for buyers’ agents and we don’t want to miss our target.
A short list of no more than two or perhaps three suburbs is best. Also, a definitive inventory of must-haves around house size, age, condition, layout, composition of accommodation, ancillary improvements and distance to important facilities must be in my hand and ready to go.
Work the phones
I make a list of every real estate agent who has worked in the chosen suburbs over the past five years. Anyone who’s made a sale has a connection and they’re the conduit between us and the property owners.
I must then make a lot of connections.
In my business, we phone or email each of those agents. Once we know who is active, we have a primary call sheet of agents we speak to at least a couple of times a week to check what deals they have in the pipeline.
These regular phone calls achieve three primary objectives:
- You are Johnny-on-the-spot when listings suddenly come up. Things move fast in real estate and you want to be at the front of the line. If fact, these weekly calls ensure that when the selling agent is pitching for new listings, they can honestly tell potential vendors they already have a hot prospect for their property.
- You stay on their radar. Twice-weekly calls let the agents know you’re still in the hunt. That way you don’t slip to the back of their buyer cue.
- New deals are unearthed. This constant contact often helps us find off-market deals for other clients. I might be chasing a house for one buyer and the agent will mention that they don’t have any suitable house listings, but an investor unit is coming up that might suit another of our purchasers.
This is where the buyers’ agent will reach out directly to property owners to see if they’re interested in selling. It can include direct emails, calls, letterbox drops or actual knocking on doors.
I mention it as a strategy but it’s rarely as effective as working with local selling agents. Door knocking is a huge effort that doesn’t normally yield a good enough result to warrant the time and resources invested.
Agents already know owners in the area and will have a much easier time opening discussions with them about a sale.
There is one area where doorknocking can work effectively. It’s where we might be targeting specific types of properties where there are multiple options. For example, if we have an investor who wants to buy in a particular apartment block, we may search for all the investor owners in that block and reach out to them directly.
Buyers’ agent brand recognition
Often sellers will reach out directly to us about their home because they want to avoid the selling agent’s commission and want to get a deal done quickly. These are great off-market opportunities, but they only occur if your buyers’ agent has prominence.
This is part of the reason we work so hard on our social media channels and content. We also try to elevate our media profile and invest heavily in increasing our search engine rankings. All this plays to our clients’ advantage when sellers are seeking a quiet sale via a buyers’ agent.
Let’s be frank – selling agents and owners prefer working with buyer’s agents when it comes to off-market deals.
Time is often of the essence for these vendors and they don’t want to mess around with time-wasters. Selling agents know we have a book of clients who are ready to jump, are aware of what they want and are usually preapproved for finance.
The selling agent also knows that we can lead our clients through the practicalities of purchasing and remove much of the emotion that creates indecision.
Selling agents and owners trust us because of our past performance. Reputation is crucial to our business success and we aren’t going to jeopardise that by underperforming.
Persistence, relationships and trust are the keys to securing off-market deals, while hard work and experience are the inputs for success.
If you want the best off-market result for the least amount of effort, leverage my reputation to your advantage and give me a call.