The trend for claiming that a particular property is only available ‘off market’ has been very slowly creeping back in. The term is a grey area; off market is often an excuse to over value a property and ask a higher price.
Sellers may test the water by being off market increasing the price considerably in comparison to neighbouring properties and hoping that no one notices the disparity. Of course in this day and age of the Internet when data is freely available, savvy buyers will be able to do their own research into comparable property values and from that make their own judgement on pricing.
The fact is that whether you are a seller hoping to attract a buyer by being off market or a buyer wishing to make a discreet purchase, strong experienced representation from an agent is crucial. A good buying agent will earn his commission in spades when it comes to firstly sniffing out a genuinely off market property, but above all when it comes to negotiating the best possible deal. Professional estate agents will trust only the most credible buying agents who come with a solid reputation, act with due diligence and have an impeccable track record.
Throughout the last financial crisis, some owners favoured going off market because they did not want to give off the wrong signals by openly marketing their property. Similarly, some buyers wished to remain under the radar, preferring to conduct their viewings and negotiations in private.
In the last few years, agents have definitely claimed to be offering off market properties when in reality they are not. Beware of off market properties, it’s tempting to misinterpret this as a kudos label, when actually they tend to be more expensive than rival properties and are really in no way superior.
If you want to sell or buy well, then focus on retaining the most experienced agent, someone who can navigate a deal through the lows and negotiate on your behalf, securing the property at a sensible price rather than paying the inflated price on an off market price tag.