If you’re looking to become a property owner for the first time, or even if you’re a seasoned property investor- buying a house in London is certainly not easy.
House prices are continuing to rise and housing in London is getting more and more scarce. So it’s a great idea to have lots of different options to buy so you have the best chance of finding a house you love.
Off-market properties are another area of the housing market that is less known about but can result in you finding great deals on houses that you won’t be able to find on standard markets.
In our article, we’ll take you through the benefits of buying off-market and the best way to use these opportunities in London.
Off-market properties are houses that are not fully listed on housing markets– so you won’t find them on mainstream property websites or at your local estate agents.
Normally, these are houses sold directly by the seller to the buyer. Just as you would sell your old car straight onto someone else- it’s the same but just a house instead!
It’s very rare to see large property developers selling off-market, it’s much more likely to find one individual homeowner or even a landlord, who’s very keen to sell their house quickly.
It’s important to know that this doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with the house- the buyer is just in a position to sell quickly or more peacefully!
These houses aren’t as common because it’s more difficult for sellers to find many buyers unless they have one already. But when you find a seller, you can usually discover a great house that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.
Off-market properties in London are even more useful because the demand for houses in London is so high- buying can get very competitive!
When looking for houses on normal estate agents, you usually have a lot of competition for the house you want to buy. Nothing is more annoying than finding a house that you love but someone else takes it!
Buying off-market properties mean not many people know about the property- you won’t get involved in any bidding wars!
Some sellers will be in a rush to sell the house for various reasons. Usually, they will be willing to negotiate and accept a deal that’s below the house’s market price.
If the seller is in no hurry to sell, usually, you can take a bit more time viewing the house and getting to know the seller. You don’t have to decide to buy very quickly to bid before other buyers- you can take your time when deciding if the house is right for you.
When sellers are in contact with multiple buyers the buying and bidding process normally takes a long time. Sellers want to wait for the highest possible bid in order to get the most money for the sale. This is not the case with an off-market property as the seller can dedicate all their time to you and get the deal done as quickly as possible.
Finding off-market properties is probably the hardest thing about buying them. Since they are not listed and advertised everywhere like normal properties. It is a lot harder to find any that are actually available.
But there’s still quite a large market for off-market properties- around 50% of properties in some areas of London were bought off-market in recent years. Most of this occurs in the very high-end areas of London- you’re not very likely to find buyers for multi-million-pound houses online!
Trying to sell houses off-market makes a lot more sense in London as the standard house prices are extremely high- by using estate agents you may only find one or two possible buyers. For more expensive properties, it’s a good idea to attempt to contact higher-profile buyers directly who will be more willing to purchase.
Off-market properties are also a more secure way of selling. Expensive artwork or sculptures may mean it is not a good idea to post pictures of the house publicly.
This is relevant for the more expensive houses in some London areas that may have some of these goods. When selling off-market, you don’t need to post pictures publicly, so there’s less risk of receiving unwanted guests!
The ‘VIP buyers’ usually prefer buying off-market properties to avoid all the attention. Some people would not like it to be publicly known that they are buying or selling a house. This allows it to be more private and peaceful than buying publicly.
However, there is still growing demand for off-market properties in the mid-range market. There are still the main benefits of time, price and competition at any price point. You don’t have to be super-rich to buy or sell a property off-market!
London is always in need of houses so usually, you can find some off-market properties if you look hard enough. There are strategies you can use to increase your chance of finding them
One great way of finding properties just before they go on the market is to contact lots of estate agents. Lots of agents know about houses that are just about to go on sale. If you know about them early enough, you can contact the seller and start a deal before the house reaches the market.
It’s still possible to find off-market properties in London online. Places like Gumtree can link sellers directly to buyers without the need for an estate agent. Although, these types of properties can have more competition as more people will know about the sale.
Builders and contractors may also have some good knowledge of where to find off-market properties. They often know homeowners who weren’t able to complete building projects so are now willing to sell.