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Call for industry to stop using the term ‘off market’

A real estate expert has spoken out against using the term ‘off market’, claiming it is confusing and misleading customers.

Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll urged agents to reassess their use of ‘off-market’, which is used to describe properties up for sale without being advertised on the major property portals.

“There’s no such thing as an off-market property – in fact, it’s an oxymoron,” Mr Driscoll said.

“According to the legislation, an agent can’t even discuss a property to a prospective buyer unless they have a signed contractual agreement.

“Once this agreement has been signed, the property is very much on market, not off market. Maybe a more appropriate term could be ‘marketed-quietly’.”

Mr Driscoll also said agents are often using the term ‘off market’ to describe a listing that is not being advertised on the major property portals, and he is calling on them to pay attention to their parlance.

“As an industry, we have become far too reliant on the major property portals, but as their costs have become increasingly prohibitive, some agents have started to explore alternative ways of finding a buyer,” he said.

“That said, we still need to be very mindful of our vernacular, as not only is it contravening legislation, it’s also potentially confusing for consumers. Just because a property isn’t listed on REA or Domain, it is still very much on the market.

Mr Driscoll said he was pleased more agents were now leveraging the unparalleled reach of social media to advertise properties.

“If you think about it, social media is omnipotent, as it targets both active and passive buyers. It also gives agents the ability to reach a vast audience at a fraction of the cost,” he explained.

“My advice to any agent is to encourage their client to get their home in front of as many prospective buyers as possible. If this means paying to promote it via the major portals, then so be it, but if they are confident that they can achieve the best result for their client without them, then this ultimately leads to a significant cost saving.

“As agents, our job is not about getting the most amount of money for a home, it’s actually about achieving the best possible financial outcome for our clients.

“While I am a huge believer in Vendor Paid Advertising (VPA), it is a privilege, not a right, and if clients are entrusting agents with thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money, every cent of it should be put towards achieving the optimum results for them.”

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