Can You Really Buy Off Market Properties?

“Off market” properties – what are they?

Why would anyone sell this way?

Are they really around in this hot market and why should you consider buying one?

Firstly let me explain what I’m talking about…

The team at Metropole come across two types of what I would call “off market” transactions.

Most are really “pre market” opportunities.Pre market opportunities.

We get the opportunity to inspect and make an offer on a property before it hits the Internet.

And then there are the true “off market” opportunities where for various reasons the vendor doesn’t want to make the sale of their property public knowledge.

And yes they do occur!

Last week the team at Metropole bought four separate properties off market (no one else knew about them) and currently, despite the hot market conditions, a significant portion of the properties we buy for clients at  are bought this way.

So let’s look into this in a little bit more detail…

Why do pre-market opportunities occur?

It works a bit this way…

A selling agent lists a new property and then there’s about two weeks before it hits the Internet. 


During this time photographs are taken, floor plans are drawn, the seller must approve the marketing and all this must be loaded on the Internet.

If you think about it…most selling agents would prefer to keep their whole selling commission for themselves rather than sharing it with other agents in the office.

So what do they do?

Well…they don’t tell the others in their office about it for a few days and instead they ring their “A grade” clients and offer them this great new property they have just listed for sale.

And then they call their “B” clients and then they ring anyone else they think may be interested.

A few days later they have to tell the other selling agents in their office about the property and these agents do the same – they call their top clients.

And if it doesn’t sell, eventually the property gets listed on the Internet and you find out about it.

How do you get on the speed dial of these estate agents?

Estate agents

This is tough when you are a “normal” property investor or home buyer.

You’re probably only going to deal with selling agents a few times in your life on the other hand the team at Metropole was involved in close to a quarter of billion dollars worth of property transactions last financial year alone.

Do you think this puts us on the speed dial of most selling agents in the areas where we are active in the  Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne property markets?

So while it may be difficult for you to get the call, you can still benefit from this special treatment by having the team at Metropole on your side.

By the way that’s the easy bit!

If you’re interested in starting or growing your existing property portfolio just click here and organize a free strategy session with Metropole.

Why do some vendors request an off market sale?

Of course, at times there are genuine reasons why some sellers request an “off market” sale.

Some of the one’s I have come across include:

  • To save on marketing and advertising cost – while it might do this, the lack of open competition often lowers the selling price
  • The need for privacy including not wanting the neighbours or family to know until the move happens
  • Financial pressure and the need for a quick sale
  •  Divorce, death or change in personal circumstances and the need for a quick but private sale
  • Nervous about auctions or lot’s of potential buyers tramping through their property.

Let’s look at some case studies…

Last week we were notified by a selling agent (one that usually loves conducting auctions) that he had just listed a great property for sale in a prime spot with water views in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

This well looked after, fabulously positioned apartment would suit a large range of owner-occupiers or investors yet we were offered first opportunity to look at it, and the seller didn’t want an active marketing campaign.  Melbourne suburb of St Kilda

Why would this be so?

Despite the property having wide appeal, it was tenanted and the tenants made access very difficult – they were very private people and made inspections very difficult.

Unfortunately the vendor was in financial problems and wanted a quick sale and couldn’t wait for the lease to expire and then sell then auction the property and achieve the maximum price.

The selling agent rang us to see if we had a client who would be interested in this property and we certainly did.

Now Peter (one of our property investor clients) has purchased a fantastic investment off market, without competition at auction and at a very fair price.

Here’s another case study:

We’re always looking for development sites for our clients to build small residential townhouse projects to keep as a long-term investment.

Local selling agents (in the suburbs where the team at Metropole are actively looking for properties) know that we are always in the market for our clients and one rang telling us of a property he had just listed that was a deceased estate.

The sellers were two elderly gentlemen who lived in different parts of regional Australia (brothers of the deceased owner) and had inherited this substantial property that would have given them a considerable windfall. Property buyer

Interestingly, despite their seven-figure inheritance, they weren’t keen to spend the required $15- $20,000 on marketing costs and were bit nervous about taking the property to auction.

Instead, they were happy with the certainty of an unconditional sale.

We were the only buyer notified about this opportunity, our clients made an unconditional offer within 48 hours and now own another great development site.

(They’ve just completed another development using Metropole’s project management team.)

The sellers are happy, the agent got a quick sale (and didn’t have to share his commission with anyone else in the office) and we got a great deal for our client.

In fact I would call it a bargain.

We get these opportunities all the time at our offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

As I said, we did 4 of these off market or pre market deals last week.

The most  common reason we are offered these opportunities is that there are tenants in place who make it difficult for potential buyers to inspect the property or maybe don’t keep the property in a presentable condition.

However as buyers’ agents we can see the potential opportunity through the clutter.

But it’s not always so easy…

Most pre-market and off market opportunities aren’t great deals

You see…many agents list the properties they have for sale by “buying the listing”.

In other words they entice the seller with an inflated price to get the listing and then slowly condition them to the real market price. 


This means that many of these opportunities we’re offered are not suitable for us, but that’s okay.

That’s the way the property market works.

Here’s my recommendation to you…

If you’re in the market for an investment property please give the team at Metropole a call on 1300 20 30 30 or click here now and organise an obligation free strategy session.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned property investor, we would love to help you formulate an investment strategy or do a review of your existing portfolio, and then help you acquire your investment property.

When you attend our offices you will receive a free copy of my latest 2 x DVD program Building Wealth through Property Investment valued at $49.



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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Can You Really Buy Off Market Properties?' have 5 comments

  1. Avatar for Property Update

    May 2, 2016 @ 8:57 am Claire

    I’ve been offered a property by a real estate agent. It has been offered as a pre-market sale
    As I live abroad and this is my first purchase in Australia, could you please explain what this means ” pre-market sale”
    Is this a genuine way of buying a property?


    • Avatar for Property Update

      May 2, 2016 @ 12:24 pm Michael Yardney

      Sorry to disappoint you – If you’re living abroad it’s highly unlikely you’ve been offered a true “hidden opportunity”.
      Why would the agent do that – these are usually reserved for their special clients.
      be VERY WARY!


  2. Avatar for Property Update

    November 20, 2015 @ 10:28 am Hari Yellina

    Thanks for the article, Metropole has sourced a property for us recently. If was off the market in Melbourne. We put an unconditional offer in 48 hours, and Vendor accepted it. In 2 weeks of the vendor accepting the offer, there was a property on same street, same size block, similar house. My wife and myself attend the Auction and the similar house was sold for $95,000 more than what we paid. We were very happy.

    Thank you Michael, Bryce and (Metropole Team)
    Hari Yellina.


  3. Avatar for Property Update

    April 18, 2015 @ 5:32 am [email protected]

    Michael consider this situation.
    Agent Fred rings Michael and no one else. Property for sale at $500,000. Michael says I’ll have it. Michael on sells it to Brutus for $700,000 which is $100,000 more than market value, but $100,000 below auction value because the Chinese have not heard about it. Would you be happy sourcing properties for clients that were above market value but below auction value?


    • Avatar for Property Update

      April 18, 2015 @ 7:16 am Michael Yardney

      Sorry – maybe I didn’t make things clear.
      When we find off market properties and we bought another one this week, the discount (if there is one) may be $10-$20,000 – not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s often what the vendor would have to pay for their marketing campaign


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