London estate agents are increasingly turning to off-market sales to earn fees and find buyers as the capital’s slow sales market continues to bite.
That’s the claim made by business-to-business trading platform LonRes, which has launched a service to enable agents selling off-market properties to find purchasers and share their fees.
The announcement marks a significant break in protocol within the capital’s informal off-market scene, which traditionally has operated over the tables of central London restaurants rather than the internet.
LonRes soft-launched the service two weeks ago but says the response from its subscribing agents has been so positive that 35 off-market properties worth over £225 million have already been listed.
This kind of property, which is almost exclusively the preserve of agents selling prime central London multi-million pound houses and apartments, is usually sold via networks of wealthy ‘black book’ contacts.
But the service is sensitive. Vendors of off-market homes ask not to be listed on any public portals and Anthony Payne (left), Managing Director of Lonres, has told The Negotiator that privacy is a ‘moot point’ but that “agents will have to communicate sensitively with their clients about using our new service”.
“Not only is the network closed to the public, but would-be LonRes subscribers must qualify to join,” he says.
“In using the service, selling agents can confidently promote their off-market properties to a wide-range of property professionals, while retaining complete anonymity for their property, client and themselves.”
Lonres says off-market properties will be included within its normal listings, but only contain minimal details of the sales opportunity such as price, basic information but not exact location.