With the property market across the country hot at the moment and with quality listings incredibly scarce, buyers are having a hard time finding properties to meet their needs.
When faced with a seller’s market like we’re currently experiencing, it’s important for buyers to be proactive and make things happen.
Unfortunately, most people would simply prefer to sit back and wait for a property to list on a real estate portal and then go to the home open on the weekend. While that’s fine for some if you want to buy high-quality properties and beat the competition you’re going to need to go beyond this approach alone.
As a buyers agent, we regularly buy properties off-market and that gives both us and our clients a significant advantage over the competition.
There are a number of clever things you can also do, to try and identify off-market properties as well.
Build Relationships with Agents
One of the most effective ways to buy properties before they ever hit the real estate portals is to build up a relationship with local agents in the area you’re interested in purchasing.
The simplest thing you can do is to get on the sales agents email list. When they have a new property that they are preparing to list they will most likely send out an email to their list of active buyers. While you won’t be the only one to receive the email, you’ll most likely face a lot less competition than if the property was listed on a major real estate portal.
As well as this, you should be in contact with agents on a weekly basis, keeping on top of what they might have in their pipeline. Make it very clear with them what you are looking for so they have you in mind first of all, should anything come along.
Contacting Owners Directly
If you want to take the process one step further and look to contact owners directly, one of the easiest ways is to simply do a mail drop in the area. While the response rate might be low, you are really only looking for that one potential seller who might be interested.
Another great way to make contact with potential vendors is to door knock the neighbourhood. This is not going to be something everyone is confident doing and it is why it can really separate yourself from your competition.
You can do far better contacting owners and door-knocking when you have a very clear idea of the properties that you are potentially interested in purchasing. Try and do your research on the given properties so you can casually strike up a conversion with the owner and see if they are interested in selling.
Work with Agents
Another way to get a conversation started with a vendor is to take a list of properties that you’re interested in buying directly to a sales agent.
A sales agent will normally be very happy to make contact with an owner given there is already a buyer lined up.
There are some issues here because a sales agent will want a commission. However, vendors might be more comfortable dealing with an agent so they know they are getting a price they are comfortable with. It’s far better to at least explore the possibility through an agent than never make contact with the vendor at all.
One of the most effective ways to identify off-market properties is to speak directly to real estate agencies that handle a number of rental properties.
Most agencies have a large rent roll and when these properties come out of lease, the owners might be open to selling them.
The most effective approach is to contact the principal and deal directly with them as opposed to the property manager as they will be the most helpful in making a transaction happen.
As you can see with all these off-market buying strategies, they require you to be proactive and to make things happen. It’s fair to assume that 99% of people simply won’t do any of these things and are far more interested in browsing the real estate portals.
The job of a good buyers agent is to locate the best possible properties and that often means going directly to owners. These kinds of proactive measures are more important than ever in the current market and if you don’t want to miss out on the best opportunities it’s well worth exploring some of these strategies yourself.