Active buyers who are alerted to properties that aren’t yet on the market have the opportunity to move before anyone else, gaining a competitive edge.
A property that’s available for sale but not yet advertised to a wide audience is considered “off-market”.
On the other hand, some properties are made available for sale for a brief period before the home is publicly advertised. These are sometimes referred to as "pre market"
When a vendor decides to sell, there is often a two to four-week window between the day they enlist an agent to sell the property and the day the listing goes live.
If an owner prefers a quick and quiet sale, the agent might not advertise the property at all, and will instead try to find a buyer from within their agents database or professional network. This might be the case for separating couples, deceased estates, extremely wealthy individuals or simply those who value privacy.
How to find off-market properties
The oldest method is contacting agents directly in the area you are looking to purchase and asking them to add you to their database. Some of the real estate portals allow buyers to register on their website to be alerted to off-market properties. Buyer’s agents are also another method as they can have large databases of agents who feed them potential properties.