What would you prefer?

To be given first refusal on London’s finest homes and investment properties


To join the queue of buyers who rely on websites and fight over inferior properties?

If you would like to discover the tested and proven strategies we use to find and acquire London’s finest homes and investment opportunities for prices that our clients didn’t think possible you can:

April 12, 2022
Jeremy McGivern
Posted in: How do I find the best properties?

Finding off-market properties – Have you used this tactic?

There are two really important and simple ways to source off-market properties.

The one I will focus on today is sending letters to the owners of properties that match your criteria. There are ways to improve the response, so here are some tips on how to do this…

How to find off-market properties by sending letters to property owners

  1. If you don’t have a large database of prime London properties that have sold then you probably won’t know exactly which properties will match but you can walk the streets you like to give yourself a better idea and make a note of the addresses.
  2. We haven’t noticed any discernible difference between hand delivering and posting letters, so save yourself time by posting them. However, always use a stamp rather than having the letter franked.
  3. Make the proposal in the letter attractive. You are not going to negotiate in the letter, but you do need to incentivise the owner to make contact.
  4. Give multiple ways for them to respond to you. Some people prefer landlines to mobiles and while others prefer email and vice versa.

Between a quarter and a third of the properties we acquire are off-market, so we have experimented with this a lot over the years. So you may be asking what is the typical response that you get from this approach?

What is the typical response from this off-market property acquisition approach?

And I’m afraid there is no typical response rate. As an example, we recently sent out 24 letters for a client with very specific requirements and received two replies which are both promising. The week before we sent out 237 letters for another client and received just one response.

Frankly, we seemed to have been a touch lucky in the first case while there is one simple thing we will do to boost the response to the second mailing, which we will also do for the first even though it is statistically unlikely to bear much fruit, but still should be done.

However, I’m not going to give away all our secrets. But if you want to find and acquire the best property your money can buy, you need to give yourself total market coverage (or as close to it as possible) by sourcing off-market properties.

And what I am about to say will probably bore you senseless as it is a point that I have made hundreds of times but has to be repeated because it is so important: If you are acquiring a property over £1m and you are relying solely on the websites, then you are massively handicapping yourself.

off-market properties

You often hear buyers lament the fact that they feel they are missing out on the best properties or are being pressured in negotiations because they know dozens of other buyers have also seen the same property on the websites.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use the sites. Of course, you should. But you just need to be aware that you are really just joining a queue of buyers, so what advantage does that give you?

Frequently Asked Questions: Off-Market Properties

Why are off market properties better?

Off market properties aren’t always better. Indeed, many are massively overvalued although the same is true for many properties on the open market. However, as a buyer you have two main goals – to find the best property you can buy and to acquire it for the lowest price/best terms possible. So, you need to have access to the all the best opportunities and many of these will not be on the agents’ websites.

This is especially true, the higher the value of the property.

How do you buy property off the market UK?

We use multiple ways to source properties that are not on the websites. One way is to send letters to the owners of properties that we know will match our clients requirements. There are several other techniques we use which I am afraid that I can’t divulge as I obviously have to consider our clients’ best interests, but if you would like to discover more about how we acquire off market properties please email my assistant dee@mercuryhomesearch.com or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

How many properties are sold off market in London?

The figure varies dramatically depending on the area and price range. I have seen one estate agent say that c. 70% of the properties they sell are off market but that seems rather high. In a typical year between 25% and 33% of the properties we acquire are not on the open market.

Contact Mercury Homesearch

Would it be a bad idea to adopt a different strategy so that you can have first refusal on the best homes and investment opportunities?

If you are open to discovering more about off-market properties, simply email me at jeremy@mercuryhomesearch.com or call 02034578855 (+442034578855 from outside the UK).

Topics | How to find off-market propertiesOff-market properties London

About the author, Jeremy McGivern

My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.

Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade.

My advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.

Get started today

Whether you wish to acquire a property for use as your main residence, an investment or simply as a legacy for your children or grandchildren, you can expect to purchase the finest property within your chosen criteria.