The name “off market” is a bit of a misnomer, but it’s well known in the industry. The term is used to describe properties that are for sale, but not publicly listed anywhere.
Why would a property be for sale and NOT publicly advertised? Don’t sellers want to maximize the exposure of their properties in order to find the highest bidder?
Sometimes, but there are other issues at play. Money isn’t everything. Here are some typical reasons a seller would want to sell their property without publicly listing it anywhere.
Maybe grandma doesn’t want her spoiled grandkids to know she is liquidating her property holdings and sitting on some cash (because they will inevitably need loans all of a sudden).
Maybe the big company executive doesn’t want his board members to know he’s selling his vacation home and buying a bunch of stock in a direct competitor because he’s planning to join their company in a few months.
Maybe the seller is at war with the neighbors and doesn’t want to give them the opportunity to mess up the sale.
Maybe there’s a looming divorce and some assets need to be moved in order to be protected.
All of those are reasons we have encountered in the past for people selling their properties off-market.
Personal safety is a serious concern for many people. This is especially true for high-profile people and high net worth individuals. Having people touring your house and seeing expensive art on display, your security systems or the location of the children’s rooms in the house can be risky. Many people prefer to quietly sell their properties without the attention that comes from publicly listing them.
Navigating showing schedules and having to keep a house neat and tidy all the time are time consuming tasks, especially when you’re living in the property as it’s being marketed for sale.
Another common situation is when the seller is “cash poor” but has good equity in their property. They may not have the cash available to make repairs or properly stage the property. Selling the property off-market allows them to bypass the expensive and time-consuming preparation that comes with publicly marketing a property.