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Everything you want to know about off-market property listings

Profile photo of Monica Mizzi

Heard about the option to sell your property off-market, but not exactly sure what this term means?

An off-market property usually describes a property that is listed without the use of public advertising or marketing to help promote the sale. 

But there’s another type of off-market property listing that has transformed the way in which sellers list properties. This type of off-market real estate listing lets you test the market for free. In fact, you’ll even get the opportunity to access complimentary property marketing collateral, such as professional photos, a floor plan, and a 3D virtual tour.

Curious to learn more? In this article, we’ll explore the two types of off-market listings. We’ll also help you work out if listing a property off-market is the right move for you.

What does off-market mean in real estate terms?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “What does off-market mean in real estate terms?” you’re not alone. It can be a confusing term to wrap your head around… especially when most sources of information on the matter only focus on the traditional type. Below you’ll find the latest information on both types of off-market property listings.

Traditional off-market property listings

A traditional off-market property listing describes a property for sale that isn’t marketed or advertised using typical ‘on-market’ real estate sales channels. 

When you choose to sell a property at an auction or private sale, your real estate agent will usually use a variety of on-market methods to market your property. For example, they may use:

  • Online listings on real estate websites
  • Advertisements in newspapers and magazines
  • Brochures, posters, and flyers
  • A sale board outside your property.

On the other hand, a traditional off-market property listing doesn’t make use of any of these real estate marketing campaigns. Instead, the real estate agent in charge of the listing will contact and source potential buyers from their database or from people who have previously expressed an interest in buying in the area. 

If a sale is made during this time, it is called an off-market sale. Properties may also be classed as off-market in the few weeks before they are listed on any of the major real estate portals. 

Doorsteps: A new type of off-market property listing


As mentioned, there’s another—albeit lesser-known—type of off-market property listing you should know about: Doorsteps’ off-market property listing platform. 

Doorsteps presents your off-market listing to buyers from its curated in-house database of tens of thousands of pre-vetted buyers who are ready to buy.

Doorsteps’ off-market property listing platform is designed to provide a more seller-friendly way to list your property off-market. It offers the benefits of traditional off-market listings without any of the usual costs or hassle associated with them. 

By creating an off-market property listing with Doorsteps, you’ll be able to gain invaluable buyer insights about your property before going to market.

Doorsteps will present your off-market listing to buyers from its curated in-house database of tens of thousands of pre-vetted buyers who are ready to buy. These buyers will then have the opportunity to provide feedback about your listing, as well as reach out to you if they’re interested in your property.

Essentially, the platform puts the control back into your hands. By discovering what qualified, pre-approved buyers really think about your property, you’ll gain the information you need to make more strategic decisions regarding your property. 

Plus, it’s completely free. 

Doorsteps is a proptech company that supports property owners to buy their next property before they sell their existing one. Off-market listings is a newly launched service by Doorsteps. To celebrate the launch, Doorsteps is offering the first 100 customers* who sign up to an off-market property listing with free:

  • Listing on Doorsteps’ off-market platform
  • Professional photographs
  • Floor plan
  • 3D virtual tour of the property (check out the vid above!)

With Doorsteps, you’ll be able to save on the cost of traditional marketing and advertising, as well as on agents’ fees, as no agents are required to list your property on Doorsteps. 

If you want to learn more about how Doorsteps’ off-market listings work, we’ll explain more in the next section.

*Dependent on location.

How do Doorsteps’ off-market listings work?

Doorsteps’ off-market listings platform makes the typically complex task of listing a property off-market easy and free.  

To start, register your interest by completing the signup form. A Doorsteps guide will then reach out to you on the phone to walk you through the details of the platform and answer any questions you have.

Next, you’ll book a time for a professional photographer to photograph your property and create a 3D virtual tour of it. (Just make sure to be one of the first 100 customers to sign up to get this all for free!).

After photos and videos of your property are taken, it will be added to the Doorsteps Off-Market Network. Pre-approved buyers will then be invited to browse your property online and give their honest feedback about it.

As the photos, 3D virtual tour, and floor plan give buyers a clear picture of how your property looks, they’re able to get a much clearer idea of whether it’s what they’re after.

You can get honest feedback about your property from pre-approved buyers with Doorsteps.

Buyers aren’t charged any fees to reach out to you or to provide you with feedback about your property. So you may find that you’re able to attract more leads than some other off-market sites which charge buyers to make contact with sellers. 

If any buyers leave you feedback, Doorsteps will send this buyer feedback straight to your inbox for you to look over. The insights about your property you may receive include:

  • How many potential buyers have visited your property page
  • What potential buyers think your place is worth n
  • If they think you should spend money renovating
  • The number of buyers looking in your neighbourhood
  • The style of properties they are looking for and the specific budget they have

Of course, if any buyers are interested in your property, Doorsteps will also inform you and help you work out your next steps.

The best part is that all of this can be completed without an agent, so you can keep your costs to a bare minimum. If you do decide to sell your property, you can then connect with an experienced real estate agent or choose to complete the sale on your own.

How do traditional off-market listings work?

Like the Doorsteps’ off-market listing platform, traditional off-market listings work by showing your property to a select group of potential buyers on a platform dedicated to off-market sales.

If you decide to go with a traditional off-market listing, you may need to pay real estate agent fees.

However, unlike Doorsteps, some sites will require a real estate agent to put together your traditional off-market listing for you. In such cases, you will need to pay an agent fee and sign an agent agreement. Like any other legal document, it’s important to consult a solicitor if you don't understand the terminology or wording of your agent agreement.   

Your agent agreement will include details about: 

  • Your property
  • The duration of the agreement
  • If the agreement is sole (exclusive) or general (non-exclusive)
  • The agent's estimated selling price
  • Your acceptable selling price
  • The advertised price
  • Method of sale
  • Settlement period 
  • The commission and fees you agreed on

Other sites will charge you a commission fee upon successful sale . There’s also the option to do a pre-market listing. This describes when a property is officially for sale, but on-market listings and marketing materials (like those mentioned above) for it are still being made. 

As such, only buyers who have signed up to receive notifications about pre-market listings on each given platform will learn about them. Eventually, these listings will end up on a publicly-facing listings portal.

Some traditional off-market listing sites may give you the option of getting professional photos of your property. If your budget allows, it's recommended that you do, because regardless of whether your property is off-market or on-market, you'll want to show it in its best light to attract buyer interest. 

But as you can imagine, the cost of professional photos can range in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. That’s not to mention the cost of other types of marketing collateral, like a floor plan or videos. (And let’s not forget about the real estate agent’s fees too!).

It’s worth noting that some of these sites will limit the amount of information about your property they show to buyers, including photographs, floor plans, and videos of it. In fact, some won’t show any specific details about your property until the buyer makes contact with you. 

Needless to say, this can make it quite difficult for your property to stand out among the thousands of other listings. It also makes your listing less enticing for potential buyers, as they’ll need to make a decision whether to reach out to you based on very minimal information. As many sites charge buyers to make contact with off-market sellers, buyers of such sites tend to be more discerning with who they reach out to.

Once your listing is up, you’ll need to wait for interested buyers to come across it. Depending on your agreement with the agent, you may or may not get access to similar valuable buyer insights the Doorsteps platform freely shares with you. 

If someone is interested in your property, they’ll make an offer and the sales process will proceed as per normal.

Traditional vs. Doorsteps’ off-market listings

You should now have a better understanding of the two main types of off-market property listings. But maybe you’re still unsure about which of these off-market opportunities is right for you. To help you out, we’ve highlighted below how the two compare.

Comparison of traditional and Doorsteps’ off-market listings

 Traditional off-market property listingDoorsteps
AgentYou need an agent to list your property on an off-market platform.No agent is required to list your property on Doorsteps’ off-market platform.
Listing feesCan range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.No listing fees.
Marketing collateralWhile it's highly-recommended, it’s your choice if you want to create marketing collateral for your listing. If you do, your agent will usually organise it. Standard marketing collateral includes photos of the property and a floor plan.Doorsteps will organise marketing collateral for you, including professional photos, a floor plan, and a 3D virtual tour.
Marketing collateral costsUsually in thousands of dollars (non-refundable regardless of whether you sell your property or not).Freeyou won’t need to pay a single cent.
Who will see your propertyYour agent will share your property with their internal database. This can range from tens to thousands of customers depending on the real estate agency.Doorsteps will share your property with its internal buyer database of tens of thousands of customers.
Buyer insightsMay or may not get access to buyer insights.Will get free access to buyer insights sent to your email.
Contract of saleA contract of sale is required.A contract of sale may or may not be required depending on the state and timing.
SaleYour agent will usually handle the sale. They will work with you to engage a solicitor to complete a contract of sale Once you have interested buyers, Doorsteps can recommend an experienced agent to you based on your needs, or you can sell your property yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Either way, you’ll need to engage a solicitor to complete a contract of sale.
Sale commissionYour agent will take a commission if successful.

Doorsteps will not take any commission from you. 

If you choose to work with an agent recommended by OpenAgent, and that agent successfully sells your property, OpenAgent will receive a commission fee from the agent.  

Pros & cons of listing off-market

If you're selling a property off-market, you may be able to significantly reduce your overheads, depending on which type of off-market listing you go with. For example, as we’ve mentioned with Doorsteps, there’s no need to pay for any marketing costs or agent fees.

Off-market listings may also give you key buyer insights about your property that can help you make an informed decision about your next steps. This makes off-market listings an ideal choice if you’re unsure of whether you want to sell your property yet.

How about the cons? There’s a chance you will get less interest in and/or a lower price for your property with an off-market listing than with a typical campaign. Of course, this will be dependent on a number of factors. 

Listing off-market can significantly reduce your overheads.

It comes down to numberswith comparatively fewer buyers than on-market listings, there is likely to be less competition for your property. A full-blown marketing campaign will also get more eyeballs on your listing, and is more likely to generate greater interest in your property.

But don’t let this dissuade you from considering an off-market listing. By using a reputable off-market listing platform, leveraging marketing collateral like photography and 3D video tours, and keeping your costs low, you can stage a successful off-market property listing. 

Why it’s worth using Doorsteps 

As anyone who has ever tried to sell a property knows, it’s an incredibly costly process. 

Doorsteps’ off-market platform lets you feel out the market prior to going to market. 

Using the traditional off-market property listing method is overall less expensive than the typical selling process. But costs can still quickly add up. As we’ve touched on above, you may need to pay agent fees, as well as marketing collateral costs, which can set you back thousands of dollars. It’s important to keep in mind that you may need to pay many of these fees even if your property doesn’t sell using the traditional off-market listing method. 

The team at Doorsteps wants to make the off-market listing process more efficient and accessible for sellers. Doorsteps’ off-market platform lets you feel out the market prior to going to market. 

Your listing on Doorsteps’ off-market platform will give you a clear picture of:            

  • How many buyers are looking in your area
  • Whether or not you need to spend money renovating
  • How long your property will take to sell and
  • The maximum amount you can get for it.

And it’s completely free for the first 100 customers. 

So think of it as an easy, no-commitment way to test the waters and gauge buyer interest from qualified, pre-approved buyers who are actively looking to buy.

How do I make an off-market listing with Doorsteps?

If you’re ready to begin, all you need to do is fill in this quick signup form. A Doorsteps Guide will then reach out to you and will get the ball rolling.