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Some homes should not be marketed on portals, says agency chief

Properties sold off market by a London agency found buyers more quickly, and for nearer the asking price, than those on the open market.

Data from January 2018 until today from Black Brick - well known for being a buying agency but also operating a managed sales service - shows that the average time it took to find a buyer when a property was sold off market was just 10 weeks, compared with an average of 37 weeks when marketed publicly.

In addition, Black Brick achieved on average 96 per cent of the asking price with off-market sales, compared with 92 per cent of the asking price when properties were sold on the open market.


“There is certainly a case to be made for sellers opting to go down a discreet sales route, particularly for special, rare and unique properties” says the agency’s managing partner Camilla Dell. 

“Putting a property onto a web portal is not always the right choice for these types of prime and super-prime properties as finding the right buyer often is due to having the correct contacts and expertise.

“Online selling can be detrimental in the current climate as the property runs the risk of becoming over-exposed and would-be buyers can get the wrong impression if it sits on the market for a long time, believing there could be something wrong with the property.”

Dell adds:“By keeping a property off-market, it retains its value, exclusivity and desirability. The off-market approach won’t work for every property – but when you have something rare, special and unique, or particularly high value in a prime location, or owned by someone high profile, it can be very effective.”

She says off-market sales have come into their own during the current slowdown which has been much more prolonged than earlier downturns, although it has seen a shallower fall in average prices from peak to trough according to an analysis by Knight Frank. 

Black Brick also cites a recent report from homebuying service PropertySolvers saying it takes an average of 16 weeks to sell a home in England and Wales, while Rightmove admits that a quarter of its listings in 2018 had been for sale for over six months.

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    No matter how rare or super-prime a property it is I dont see how you can be doing a job for the vendor selling it to someone you know wants that sort of home and is registered with you.

    Hi Dave I have a house in Knightsbridge, wanna buy it, need it through in 28 days mate, get the brown envelope ready.

    Dont sound like estate agency to me Del Boy.

    Saves on Rightmove bill and im all for that


    Your post explains why your sector is dying on its ar$e.

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    I want to agree but I'm not so sure. We are not talking conventional here, but 'prime & super prime'. What does that mean in money? £2m - £100m? I can see that buyers at the super high end will not want to spend their time trawling Rightmove. Its similar with the classic car market at the high end. But in my opinion the entire topic is irrelevent to 99.99% of us who are not operating in the super prime market so who cares?

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    People might question the methodology here, I suggest they look at the results and tell us how they could improve upon these impressive figures.

  • Camilla Dell

    Hi everyone,

    I think our data is showing an interesting trend - in a tough sales market (which we are in), simply creating a nice brochure and posting the property on a web-portal doesn't cut it, and in some instances may actually cause the property to sit on the market for a lot longer.

    Our off market sales approach has worked incredibly well for properties priced from £5m upwards - it hasn't been a case of wanting to save money by not posting on the portals - far from it. We have built up a large established network of contacts - which includes other buying agents, family offices, private banks and these channels allow us to successfully match the right buyer to the right property. Often these buyers value privacy and the opportunity to buy something that isn't widely available.


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