Rumour Has It

Rumour Has It


Sonia Fox delves into the hush, hush world of off market home sales and discovers that discretion most definitely rules

Selling a home off-market was once a privilege reserved for the rich and famous, for whom discretion was key. “Whilst buying and selling this way isn’t new, the practice is evolving in terms of relevance to embrace potential purchasers who simply wish to remain anonymous, and others who are thinking tactically in a stalling market,” says James Turner, Director at Offshore Company Formation Specialists, Turner Little.

“Instead of utilising estate agents and online listings, homeowners are putting their trust in a world of independent brokers who have extensive networking skills and contacts. These properties never have a ‘For Sale’ sign outside, nor have they been listed with agents. There are never any details or photographs online, nor do buyers tend to visit the property until the sale has been completed.

“Private buyers of this calibre are often high net worth individuals who purchase properties through a company structure. If a buyer wishes to purchase this way, there are two options in play. The first, is to buy through an offshore company structure. The second is to utilise a revocable or living trust. The end goal is often about attaining both a degree of anonymity as well as asset protection.

“Whilst some buyers wish to keep their identities private, to minimise impact on price negotiations, others are keen to ensure that the purchase doesn’t negatively impact their wider business presence. Selling real estate today is appreciably more ‘public’ than it once was. Buyers can easily find out how long a home has been on the market, how much it was bought it for, and the value of similar homes in the area with the simple click of a mouse.

Rumour Has It

“Many purchasers choose not to interact with the larger branded agencies, because they are concerned it will be more difficult to keep information out of the public domain. Many are in the public eye, and may, for example be going through divorce proceedings and prefer to avoid publication of property particulars. They could equally be business owners who don’t wish to invite speculation in relation to their company’s performance amongst shareholders and competitors.

“The private market is also a failsafe territory for those looking to test the investment waters. The private market is often a precursor to listing on the open market, as buyers are encouraged to make blind bids on unadvertised properties. That said, there’s no guarantee that this strategy will secure the seller a higher price. Whilst a percentage of buyers might be prepared to pay a premium for exclusivity and the knowledge that they are the only clients in the frame to put in an offer, others will have a rare property shortlist and limited choice. Consequently their motivation for paying more to secure the property they want will be crystal clear from the outset,” adds James.

About Turner Little

Specialist company formation agent, Turner Little, offer specialist advice for those in need of privacy and security when it comes to property purchase and asset protection.

For more information, visit www.turnerlittle.com or call +44 (0) 1904 783 101.

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