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How to sell without listing

How to sell without listing

MAIN IMAGE: Gerhard Kotzé – CEO of RealNet property group, Magdaleen Erasmus – Fine & Country Pretoria East, Jan Engelbrecht – Fine & Country Lowveld Kruger South, Hayley Vann-Herbert – Jawitz’s southern suburbs manager and agent for Constantia Upper & Bishopscourt

Senior writer

The agent-broker formula that works in the USA allows two parties to exchange and negotiate real estate on behalf of their clients. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 87% of the homes sold in America are bought or sold through this system. This high success rate is more frequently than not a result of the strong relationships that agents and brokers build up over time, meaning that very often, residential properties don’t even go to market.

Regardless of the fact that the SA market does not adopt the same agent-broker formula, residential properties are sometimes sold without being advertised. Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of RealNet property group, says, “actually happens quite often.”

He explains that this occurs more commonly when there is a shortage of supply and when buyers ask RealNet to source a property on their behalf. “If we then acquire a listing that matches their requirements, it is very possible it will be sold before being advertised. And the sale, under these circumstances, will probably be quick. However, in the current phase of the market, with more supply than demand in most areas, it is better to advertise the property, giving it more exposure to potential buyers.” 

Kotzé points out that in comparison to the USA, there is no buyer mandate system in SA, which means that agents do not specifically look for properties for their buyers. “If a client wants to sell without advertising,  RealNet agents will of course seek potential buyers from their own databases. They have the added advantage of using our group’s internal referral network to source potential buyers from their colleagues.

“Most good agents will, in any case, have a database of potential buyers for every property they list for sale. This is especially true if it is an investment-type property and they often deal with investors keen to expand their portfolios. In other cases, an agent may just have sold a house for someone who is looking for a new home,” explains Kotzé.  

Fine & Country distinguishes itself in the industry by adeptly navigating transactions that often bypass conventional listings, leveraging an intimate comprehension of the market and their clientele’s requirements, and applying a unique marketing strategy.

Magdaleen Erasmus from Fine & Country Pretoria East explains, “Whether catering to buyers or sellers, our nuanced understanding of our client’s preferences as well as our commitment to personalised service facilitates seamless transactions”. She confirmed that she sold two properties last month before they were listed.

This symbiotic relationship between Fine & Country and its clientele is further fortified by deep-rooted community ties cultivated over time. Jan Engelbrecht from Fine & Country Lowveld Kruger South explains this; “Through fostering enduring relationships within local neighbourhoods, we not only stay attuned to market conditions but also cultivate trust among buyers and sellers alike,” says Engelbrecht, who frequently sells properties without listing them.

Consequently, Fine & Country excels in aligning the demands of the market with the availability of properties, ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties involved.

Another agency that frequently sells without listing is Jawitz Properties. Hayley Vann-Herbert, Jawitz’s Southern Suburbs Manager and Agent for Constantia Upper & Bishopscourt says that this is common in prestigious neighbourhoods like Constantia. “We’ve found that certain high-demand properties in sought-after areas benefit from a more discreet approach.

“In the higher priced areas, where the real estate market is characterised by exclusivity and discerning buyers, off-market sales have proven to be particularly effective. These properties often command premium prices and attract interest from a select group of buyers who value privacy and exclusivity.”

This approach allows Vann-Herbert and her colleagues to maintain confidentiality for sellers while still achieving favourable outcomes in terms of both price and timing. “Furthermore, our experience and expertise in the Southern Suburbs market enables us to identify opportunities for off-market transactions and effectively negotiate on behalf of our clients. Whether it’s a luxury estate tucked away in the hills or a prestigious property in a coveted location, we have the resources and connections to facilitate successful off-market sales in the area.”

Ensuring that both buyers and sellers receive tailored solutions that meet their objectives effectively requires a personalised approach, says Vann-Herbert. “The off-market selling model requires a high level of trust between sellers and agents. When a client prefers not to have their property listed for any reason, we leverage our network and expertise to handle off-market sales discreetly and effectively.”

One of the reasons Vann-Herbert likes selling off-market is that it presents a unique opportunity to test the market and gauge interest before committing to a full listing. “This flexibility allows sellers to assess demand and negotiate from a stronger position when and if they do decide to list publicly. Moreover, without the constraints of a public listing, sellers have greater control over the sales process, dictating the timing of showings, negotiations, and the sale itself. “It’s essential to acknowledge the challenges associated with this approach, however,  including limited buyer reach and the dependence on the expertise of an experienced real estate agent to navigate the process effectively.”

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