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27th January, 2021

Discreet Property Listings: How to Buy or Sell an Off-Market Property

Discreet Property Listings: How to Buy or Sell an Off-Market Property

Marketing a property discreetly may seem like an odd concept as this means limited details, or none at all, are shared on portals or other public platforms. However, an off-market property can often sell quicker and with less hassle. Fine & Country has the experience and facilities to internally and privately market properties discreetly.

We caught up with off-market property experts, James Cooper, Director of Fine & Country South Devon, and Jan von Draczek, Director of Fine & Country Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire, to get an understanding of the buying and selling process with discreetly marketed properties.

What is an off-market property?

Old cotswold stone house in Ilmington

An off-market property, also referred to as a discreet property listing, is where a seller does not want their property name or address to be visible on portals, such as Rightmove, on social media, through digital advertising, in windows of high-street agencies, in print or with a ‘for sale’ board.

Why would you want to sell off-market?

Village With White Houses in Andalusia, Spain. Summer Sunny Day

There are many reasons for deciding to sell a property off-market. A popular reason is when the seller does not want the hassle associated with a typical property sale. Selling off-market is a great way of achieving a sale with minimum stress as there are less viewings and it is more likely you will only be dealing with serious buyers. During the pandemic, marketing properties discreetly has been an even more popular option to avoid unnecessary viewings.

If it is not the best time of year to take photographs of the property, your agent may generate an interest in the home before the marketing materials are ready to be produced. Pre-marketing a property can also be used to trial a higher asking price to buyers before officially placing it on the market.

In other cases, some people prefer to remain private and do not want the public to know that they are selling their house or what price they are looking to achieve.

If you are looking to sell your property discreetly with agents who have access to a database of high-net-worth buyers, request a free discreet marketing valuation with Fine & Country.

Off-market property buyers

english mansion house

If you are thinking of selling your property discreetly, you may be wondering who your potential buyers are and how this will affect your sale. Typically, off-market property buyers are in a good position and are ready to buy, meaning they have the cash funds, have nothing to sell or have sold subject to contract. Those interested are usually in rented or sold properties and cannot find what they are looking for online or are looking for the rarity factor. These buyers are usually in a position where they are prepared to wait until they find the property of their specific requirements and buy right away.

How to find an off-market property

Modern mansion in Fort Lauderdale FL on the water

If you are ready to buy a property but cannot find the home of your dreams through popular property portals, you may want to consider looking for off-market properties. Here are the main ways of finding off-market properties:

Estate agencies

Choose an estate agent who has experience in dealing with off-market properties. Fine & Country has agents in over 300 locations, in the UK and overseas, privately sharing discreetly marketed properties to a database of ready-to-buy individuals. Get in touch with your local Fine & Country agent to enquire about discreetly marketed properties and properties coming to the market soon.

Word of mouth

Another way of finding a discreetly marketed property is through word of mouth. Sellers wanting to sell privately may explore their contacts through friends and family before marketing it officially.

Approaching an owner directly

If you are a cash-buyer and have found the property of your dreams, but it is not on the market, it is possible to approach a homeowner and make an offer to purchase their property. It is important to keep in mind that this is something that should be done delicately, as not all homeowners will appreciate your offer or take it seriously. If you would like advice on approaching a homeowner with an offer, your local Fine & Country agent has the experience and knowledge of how to most effectively contact a homeowner with your offer.

How does an estate agent market a property discreetly?

Modern white living room with wooden furniture

Contacting a database of buyers

An estate agent with experience in dealing with off-market properties will understand the best practice for finding you a buyer without ever needing to put it on the market publicly. Typically, an estate agent will have a database of potential buyers who are waiting for a property of their requirements to come to the market. A good agent should know their applicants and their requirements well to secure you a quick and simple sale. Your estate agent will contact the appropriate potential buyers directly with your property and can even set a date that you need to exchange by to get the process moving along much faster.


If you have not had any interest in your property through contacting a database of buyers, then discreetly marketing your property on portals can tempt applicants. To market discreetly, an agent will use internal or view photos, set a general location or the estate agency’s office location and add some brief text.

James Cooper, Director of Fine & Country South Devon, says, “I did this for a property I listed on Christmas Eve. I listed three images, text about the locality and a seller’s insight. I had 28 enquiries on Christmas Eve along with a full price offer. The seller wanted speed, so rather than launching and having lots of viewings and sealed bids, we insisted on exchange by the 9th January, which we achieved.”

VIP Closed Members Groups

Another marketing option is for your estate agent to share your property on a closed VIP members group on Facebook. This is a great way to get your property in front of a large number of serious buyers, discreetly and at no cost.

How to choose the right estate agent to market your property discreetly

Front view of large Georgian Mansion

As discreet listings are not publicly marketed, it can be difficult to tell which estate agent will be right for your situation. Agents who are successful with selling homes on the market may have little experience dealing with off-market properties and could cost you your time. Here are a few questions to ask an estate agent before instructing them:

• Have they dealt with similar off-market properties before?

• Can they demonstrate other successful off-market sales?

• Do they have potential buyers in their database already?

• How will they be marketing your property?

• How long might it take to sell your property?

Jan von Draczek, Director of Fine & Country Rutland, Stamford & South Lincolnshire, says, “Over the years, I have seen some agents deal with off-market properties better than others. Personally, I feel that agents who do not do viewings on similar properties are at a disadvantage, as they do not have a relationship with either the sellers or buyers, as trust is necessary on both sides.”

If you are looking to sell your property discreetly with agents who have access to a database of high-net-worth buyers, request a free discreet marketing valuation with Fine & Country.

Contact us

Interested in buying or selling a property off-market? Get in touch with your local Fine & Country agent today to get started.


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