The benefits of off-market property
For many people, the most frustrating thing about the real estate market – whether buying or renting – is the existence of competition. In a perfect world, finding a new home or investment property would be as easy as picking a place out of your local listings, arranging payment and moving on in.
Whatever the reason, an off-market sale can be great for you as a buyer.
Unfortunately, that's rarely the case. Just when you think everything is lining up nicely – you've found your new dream house for sale, your finances are in order and you're just waiting for acceptance from the seller – that's when your competition can swoop in and pull your new home out from underneath you, offering the seller a better price that could be beyond your own budget.
It's a situation a lot of us are familiar with, a heartbreaking reality of real estate that can send you right back to square one. If only there was a better way.
Well, with the help of a well-connected buyer's agent with access to off-market properties, there just might be.
Dodge the competition
One thing is for sure, the population of our major cities is showing little sign of slowing down. The Australian Bureau of Statistics projects that, due to birth and immigration rates, the nation's population increases by one person every one minute and 32 seconds. That adds up to almost 1,000 people every day, approximately 350,000 people every year! The Real Estate Institute of NSW estimates that Sydney alone is expected to see population growth of one million people over the next 10 years – no wonder competition in the housing market is heating up.
So what can you do to get an edge on all these potential usurpers? Reach out to a buyer's agent, someone embedded in your particular location of interest who can start looking into not just properties already listed, but any private house sales that may not be announced to the general public.
You might be wondering why someone might be interested in selling their property off-market. There can be any number of reasons, but the most likely include:
- Relationship/marriage breakdowns
- Seller employment changes
- Inherited property or sale of a deceased estate
- Avoiding costly real estate agency fees
- Public figures protecting their privacy
Whatever the reason, an off-market sale can be great for you as a buyer. The reasons for sale may not be pleasant, but that's no reason to miss out on the opportunities that could be out there. You don't even need to make that personal connection with the seller – just let your buyer's agent handle all of the details of sale for you.
There's no harm in having a buyer's agent make some inquiries for you.
Secure yourself a bargain
With median house prices growing at the rate they are – almost 19 per cent in the year to June 2015 – you could be forgiven for trying to secure savings anywhere you can. Luckily, another positive side effect of private off-market sales can be a vastly reduced price.
Due to any of the reasons above, sellers of off-market properties are often looking for the fastest sale possible, which leaves the door open for lower offers and greater negotiation power. If someone needs to relocate quickly, or are keen to settle their legal affairs in the wake of a relationship breakdown, they're more likely to be receptive to less money than they would likely receive, should they sell through the often time-consuming regular sale process.
Again, you might not be particularly comfortable with the idea of offering below market value for a house, but that's what your buyer's agent is there for. They have no personal or emotional connection to the properties they are investigating for you, and are bound to whatever limits and budgets you set for them.
Next time you come across a property that you like, even if it's not currently for sale, there's no harm in having a buyer's agent make some inquiries for you. You never know what sort of deal you could find for yourself.