The agent behind a new online service covering off-market homes in part of prime central London says his service will expand across the whole capital by the end of next year.
Invisible Homes has been set up by Mark Wells, a former partner at Homes One, a high end search agency in Kensington. Invisible Homes has started by covering only Fulham - where some 36 estate agents operate - but says this service will cover all of London by the middle of 2018 before extending across the UK eventually.
The Invisible Homes website allows potential buyers to communicate directly with anyone looking to sell off-market, whether agents or private sellers.
Wells says he got the idea for Invisible Homes when he was at Christmas drinks with a happy buyer and seller who had just exchanged off-market.
“It got me thinking - I looked back over all the 300 odd deals I’ve done in the property market. Thirty per cent of the ones I negotiated as a buying agent were off-market, and almost all of them ended smoothly. Buyers and sellers got on. Both sides were happy with the price. There was no gazumping. We were all friends. The ones from the open market were often a different story,” he says.
Buyers using the site create bespoke search criteria. These ‘must haves’ are immediately visible to relevant sellers - the latter can then email the potential purchasers through the site, giving details of their ‘invisible homes’ which are not being publicly marketed.
Sellers create a profile for their property, provide ID to confirm ownership, see a list of buyers whose demands match their homes, and then receive regular emails as new potential purchasers register.
“Londoners are increasingly looking to sell their homes off-market in a bid to avoid tell-tale online price drops. This makes life tricky for buyers, who feel they have to hassle estate agents to have any chance of viewing these exclusive homes” according to Wells.
“We give potential buyers the chance to communicate directly with anyone looking to sell off-market, whether they are estate agents or private sellers.”