OFF-MARKET property sales are booming throughout Melbourne as the hot real estate market drives buyers and sellers to seek new ways of securing their dream deal.

Properties ranging from Toorak mansions worth more than $20 million to $300,000 units in outer suburbs are changing hands behind closed doors and without advertising – often for premium prices.

Other homes are being sold within days of being listed as frustrated buyers make offers too good to refuse to avoid missing out again.

Estate agents said buyers who repeatedly missed out on properties at auction or in private sales were approaching them to find other similar properties before they were advertised .

Ray White Manningham director Frank Perri said off-market dealing was more prevalent than ever.

‘Buyers are not mucking around now,’ Mr Perri said.

‘They are upfront about what they can spend and they will declare their maximum price.’

Off-market sales were being finalised quickly and in all price brackets, he said.

Mr Perri’s agency sold a home in Yarra Valley Blvd, Bulleen, to a buyer who missed out on a nearby property.

The home with a market value between $1.25 million and $1.3 million sold off-market for $1.35 million.

Biggin & Scott Glen Waverley director Ming Xu said the agency was using its database to match vendors and buyers for off-market deals and doing so in quick time.

‘We are finding more vendors are selling without officially putting their homes on the market.’

But Mr Xu said vendors who wanted to have full exposure for their properties should opt for a combination of print media and digital marketing.

Marshall White director Marcus Chiminello said there were more such off-market deals at the top end of the market.

His agency had handled up to 50 off-market sales in the past year for homes priced at more than $3 million, including 30 Sargood St, Toorak, that sold for more than $5 million.

‘There’s more happening behind closed doors, and off-market and we probably have half a dozen opportunities in the $15 million to $30 million range,’ he said.

Mr Chiminello said agents would usually recommend vendors go to the open market to get the

best price, but a well-managed off-market strategy using an agent’s buyer network could also result in strong competition and high prices.

In the outer-eastern suburb of Berwick, O’Brien Real Estate agent Paul Rogers knocked on the door of a grand, six-bedroom home at 7 Panoramic Tce and asked the owners if they would sell the property because he had buyers seeking premium homes. After weeks of negotiations, a $2.95 million sale was sealed.

In the hot Glen Waverley market where a new home site can sell for more than $2 million, some vendors knew they could get a high price off-market, Ray White Glen Waverley agent Travis Brown said.

‘Buyers benefit from this as there is less competition,’ he said.

‘It means they might be better able to stick to their budget, rather than being tempted to offer more at auction,’ Mr Brown said.

But he advised vendors to go to auction to take advantage of demand in the strong market.

In Geelong, Vanders Real Estate director Rod van der Chys said he did not get a chance to take a Newtown house to market because it sold soon after a couple of investors inspected it.

The 700sq m property at 41 Craigie Rd sold for a price approaching the mid-$400,000s.

Some vendors preferred off-market sales to maintain privacy, to save marketing costs and to reduce stress, agents said.

‘Some owners don’t like to pay for advertising,’ said Jayde Salter of Century 21 Wilson Pride in Noble Park.

Many investors also preferred this method because it was faster and first-home buyers intimidated by auctions also favoured off-market sales.

‘Investors want a quick deal and a lot of the time, the deal is sealed via email,’ Ms Salter said.

Developers also preferred less competition that was often part of off-market deals.

‘Any properties with development potential tend to sell off-market,’ Claudio Cuomo, of Stockdale & Leggo, Glenroy said.

‘Developers don’t like to compete so won’t always bid at auctions.’

Barry Plant Bundoora director David Moxon said many off-market buyers had been unsuccessful bidders at auctions.

In Mentone, Hocking Stuart agent Garry Donovan sold an Aspendale house off-market for $3.05 million to an underbidder of a neighbouring property.

Ray White Ferntree Gully director Patrick McConnachie said an off-market sale could appeal to owners to avoid the stress of selling, but it was not the best way to gain the highest price.

‘It limits the competition between buyers which is the number one factor in achieving above average sale prices,’ he said.

Posted by Ming Haw Lim & Tony Rindfleisch – Sunday Herald Sun on 28th June, 2015