The Best Off-Market Property Websites [2021 Guide]

Off-market properties offer sellers and buyers the opportunity to make a deal without the property being widely marketed to the public. So how do sellers tell buyers that their property is for sale? Off-market property websites are one option that is becoming more popular in Australia. Find out more about listing your home off-market to see if it’s right for you.

 

What are off-market properties?

Off-market property sales are often referred to as silent or secret listings, but they are usually still listed somewhere.

Unlike traditional property sales, off-market listings are not publicly listed on any of the major real estate websites nor are they part of a large marketing campaign. Instead, they can be:

  • Listed on real estate agent websites
  • Shared in agent newsletters
  • Posted on an agent’s social media pages
  • Shared with buyer databases
  • Offered privately to friends, family and neighbours
  • Listed on dedicated off-market property websites.

Pros and cons of selling properties off-market

As with anything, selling off-market has pros and cons, so it’s important to understand whether it’s the right option for you. 

Pros Cons
Off-market properties often sell faster than traditional ones Off-market homes often sell for less than traditional homes due to lack of competition
Buyers expect homes to be lived in, which helps sellers avoid staging costs Sellers have fewer offers to choose from because fewer buyers know about the home
Fewer buyers will view the property, minimising disruption to your home life The perfect buyer may not know about the property, leading to a missed opportunity
Sellers save money on marketing costs Sellers miss out on the competitive opportunity of an auction
High profile and private sellers can maintain their privacy Fees are usually payable after a sale, which can be an unpleasant surprise

You will save money on marketing by selling off-market, but you will never know whether you lost more on the sale price than you gained in reduced fees.

How to sell your property off-market

The key to successfully selling off-market is engaging a top quality agent. Your agent should have an extensive database of buyers and an excellent track record for selling off-market.

 

Your agent will share details of your home to hot buyers on their database and may advertise your property on their website. Some agents use off-market websites or submit an off-market listing on major sites, like Domain.

Off-market websites

Off-market property websites are becoming popular in Australia, so sellers have a few options, which will likely increase in the future:

  • Listing Loop
  • Property Whispers
  • Domain – off-market
  • Individual agency websites

Listing Loop

Off-market property websites - Listing Loop
Listing Loop homepage

Sellers need an agent to sell off-market through Listing Loop. Agents list properties on the website without charge, as Listing Loop only charges the agency if the property sells.

What information is included in listings?

When an agent adds a property on Listing Loop, they include the:

  • Property address
  • Property type
  • Sale price (single price or a price range)
  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces
  • Land size
  • Features
  • Listing status (e.g. active, under contract, sold)

How does Listing Loop find buyers?

Buyers interested in off-market properties register with Listing Loop. Once registered, they complete their property preferences and are only shown properties that match these preferences.

As an agent completes a new listing, they can see how many buyers match the property. Once they submit the listing, these buyers receive an email letting them know about the new match.

Buyers do have the option to browse properties in their preferred locations but only see:

  1. One blurred photo
  2. Sale price
  3. Suburb
  4. Property type
  5. Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  6. Land size

To view the complete listing, buyers must click to unlock the property, which prompts an agent to treat them as a serious buyer and contact them.

Property Whispers

Off-market property website - Property Whispers
Property Whispers homepage

Both sellers and agents can list properties on Property Whispers. Buyers and agents can access the site for free, while sellers pay to list. Property listings remain valid for 4 months.

Property Whispers lists both on-market and off-market properties and matches both to buyer preferences.

What information is included in listings?

Off-market property listings on Property Whispers include:

  • Price guide
  • Street address
  • Property type
  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and parking spaces
  • Photos and a description are optional

How does Property Whispers find buyers?

Buyers register and detail their property preferences on the website. When they match with an off-market property, they see:

  • Suburb and postcode
  • Property type
  • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and parking spaces
  • Price guide
  • Agent or seller contact details
  • Photos and description if provided by agent or seller

Property Whispers does not have a browse function. Instead, buyers can only view properties that the site automatically matches to their preferences.

Domain off-market

Off-market property on Domain
Off-market with Domain

Domain and Realestate.com.au are known for publicly listing many of Australia’s on-market properties for sale. Many buyers go straight to these sites to browse active listings.

Now that off-market sales are becoming more popular, these major players have chosen off-market strategies that differ quite dramatically:

  • Domain now offers a matching service for off-market properties.
  • Realestate.com.au is campaigning against off-market property sales.

Domain’s off-market property matches are currently only available in QLD, NSW and VIC.

How do off-market listings work on Domain?

Buyers are now able to create a property alert on Domain for any properties that match their preferences, providing they are a Domain member. Any time a new off-market listing is submitted, matching buyers receive an email or app alert and can then contact the agent directly. 

Sellers must go through an agent to list on-market or off-market with Domain.

Domain’s new Early Access tool for agents provides buyer matches to their active off-market properties.

What is Realestate.com.au’s stance on off-market property listings?

Realestate.com.au is strongly against off-market selling and actively campaigned against it in advertisements late last year. Here’s one of the 30-second videos from the 2020 off-market series.

Sarah Myers, REA Group executive manager of consumer marketing, explains, ‘We want sellers to understand there are risks in not advertising your biggest asset in the one place buyers will definitely look’.

On realestate.com.au’s end, they stand to lose money if alternative listing platforms or internal databases are used over listings on realestate.com.au. 

Individual agency websites

Agency websites
Private off-market listings

Many agents list off-market properties through their agency website. Each agency will have their own off-market programs, so be sure to discuss this with your agent if you are interested in selling off-market. 

Some ways agents share an off-market listing include:

  • Contacting people on their buyers database
  • Creating a private listing on their agency website
  • Mentioning the property in agency newsletters
  • Through social media posts
  • Dedicated off-market listing sites

Find out more about off-market listings through our article, What Is an Off-market Property Sale?

 

Costs of selling via off-market property websites

Listing Loop and Property Whispers each have a unique payment structure for sellers.

Listing Loop Property Whispers
No sale, no charge model Agents and buyers use the site for free
Fee is .22% of the sale price and capped at $2,200 Private sellers pay $49 plus GST to list a property
The agent that introduced the buyer to Listing Loop gets 50% of this fee If a property doesn’t sell within 4 months, the agent or private seller must relist
Buyers use the site for free Private sellers must pay $49 plus GST to relist

Domain’s off-market listings are an addition to their existing business model, so their standard listing fees will likely apply. Be sure to ask your agent about the costs of listing with Domain.

Other costs involved in selling off-market

Listing costs are not the only cost involved in selling off-market. The reality is, an off-market sale will also cost you any lost revenue on the sale price, if it sells for less than it would have on-market with a strong marketing campaign.

Here’s a real-life example of how off-market sales can cost you more than you think:

Greg Hocking, Greg Hocking Real Estate Group, was helping a seller to sell his Port Melbourne property. The seller wanted to sell for over $3 million but recent sales indicated he would get high $2 millions for it. 

The seller contemplated selling off-market to save on costs and increase his profit, but Hocking advised him to go to auction.

At auction, five keen buyers showed up and tried to outbid one another. The property sold for $3.7 million.

Based on recent sales information, the seller would have sold for under $3 million in an off-market sale, which would have given him over $700,000 less than he earned at auction. 

Before deciding on an off-market strategy, speak to an agent about the current property market and get an idea of market value. That way, you can choose a sales method that earns you the best price, while still meeting your other needs.

Should I sell my property off-market?

Selling off-market is a viable option for some sellers, but it’s usually for those who prioritise something other than price. If getting the highest price for your property matters to you, selling through a quality agent with a proven marketing strategy is your best bet. Compare your local agents now and decide which option is best for you.