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Agents increasingly using ‘grey’ low-key marketing - claim

Estate agents are increasingly using low-key ‘grey’ marketing to avoid too many prospective buyers swamping them when homes go on sale.

That’s the claim of buying agent Anthony Pearce of Stacks Property Search, who says the increased labour and time required to meet Coronavirus protocols with regard to viewings and working from home make a flood of prospective buyers unwelcome.

“Agents have lists of buyers who are pre-qualified in terms of finance, intent and readiness to progress. For the best properties, they are recommending quiet marketing so they’re not inundated with requests for viewings” he says.


“Quiet marketing involves withholding properties from the portals, or sometimes uploading a brief outline with little detail, a general but non-specific indication of location, and no pictures. Agents will contact suitable buyers on their list and aim to sell the property without ever going to the open market” he continues.

“Estate agents are working in challenging circumstances, many report lists ‘as long as their arms’ of keen buyers, they’re working remotely, preparing full details is time consuming, and dealing with new unknown buyers who are browsing the portals is pushing them to the limits. Grey marketing, or quiet marketing, used to be reserved for vendors who didn’t want to go public or wanted to test the market; but now it’s becoming a more mainstream way of selling efficiently.”

Pearce says any prospective buyer who is on a hot list - and therefore may get advance notice or full details of a property that is otherwise marketed quietly - should expect to pay a premium for the privilege. 

“It’s not a transparent market, establishing the correct market value can be difficult, and if you start haggling too hard about the price there’s a good chance there’s another buyer behind you in the queue who’s prepared to pay. The trick is to make yourself look like a very attractive buyer – cashed up and sounding serious” he advises.

He urges buyers to get themselves on hot lists by “badgering the Bejeezus out of the agent making them aware of your intent and proceedability” with reliable funds.

Pearce adds that such buyers should make themselves easily available to view at a moment’s notice, follow all protocols to the letter, and not to linger if considering making an offer. 

“Proceedability is king, vendors will go for cash buyers where the deal can be done quickly even if the offer is slightly lower” he adds.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    Don't know about anyone else but any app who 'badgers the bejeezus' out of me goes on a very different list to the one he thinks!

  • Richard Copus

    If your property is not being marketed fully (which means it might not reach its full market value) threaten to take legal action against the agent as he/she "must use [their] best endeavours to find the best buyer at the best available price" as tried and tested in the courts. Also, we have all had experience of people who do not like being "badgered" and just walk away and find something else. If you are "inundated with requests for viewings" and simply don't have the staff to cope with them, take someone on from the growing ranks of the unemployed who will be very pleased to join your team.


    Or just move agents. Simple, isn't it?

  • icon

    You cannot move if you have signed a Sole agency agreement

  • Richard Copus

    Ah, but if you point out to them that they are not fulfilling their part of the agreement, i.e. marketing their property properly, then that is in breach of a fundamental term of that contract under contract law and you CAN walk away from it. A contract works both ways.


    You can - they will say they will hold you to the contract - they will threaten to end a bill if you sell via another agents - of they go to court do you really want the stress - do you want to spend the money on a lawyer defending the action -

  • Samantha Sullivan

    The whole point in being instructed as the acting agent is to have an experienced professional to advertise in order to generate the maximum interest, in turn generate the best offer for their customer.
    This 'grey' marketing should be re-named as 'lazy' marketing and clearly they have no care to get the best price, it seems it's their buyer who is the customer?


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