There are three ways to source off-market sites. The number one way is if you go door knocking, and a lot of places you can’t go door knocking to be able to find out whether or not that site’s available. An alternative to that is that you can do a letter drop. We can put a letter in, asking people if they want to sell, what price they would want to sell, and so on.

The second way of getting an off-market site is if you’ve got some sort of a rapport with an agent that you work with. The only way that can happen is if you are concentrating on an area, and you spend that time to build a rapport with your agent, with your local agent in that area. Quite often, they will come up with site that they haven’t even listed as yet on the market. That way, you can actually talk to them and say, “Look. If you find something like that, bring it to me.” Then they can help you get a site that’s actually not listed, which basically means you’re cutting the competition out, and you’re getting in there before somebody else gets there. That’s number two.

Then number three is if you’ve got a network. How do you get a network? Well you’ve got to be in the industry. You’ve got to know a lot of people. I think … I’ve already tried doing letter drops and everything, and they, I think somehow, they are a Queensland thing. I don’t see them working in Victoria as much, because there was a time I spent a lot of money, and I sent a lot of letters, and I used to sit … It wasn’t like that I’d do a letter blast in a particular suburb. I would actually send it to … I would actually sit behind the computer. Go through a lot of properties. Find out what they are, and then send it to … Then actually send it to a short list of sites that I had already vetted, saying that, you know, this is where I can do a develop and so on.

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I’ve spent a lot of time doing that, but in Victoria, especially when the market is in an upward trend, it is very, very, difficult to do that. If you could, you could try door knocking, but just remember, make sure that you’ve got permission from council and so on. To each area would be different in that sense. Working with the agent works. A lot of agent, all they want is their commission, and so long as they understand that, if you did settle on something or if you did whatever, they will still get their commission up front, or whatever. Whatever terms you actually negotiate with them. That’s actually quite good.

Number three is actually building your network, and how do you build you network? By going to different networking events. By being in the industry. That takes a little longer than the normal way of starting out. I did start out sending out letters and everything. I had three people call me. One of them couldn’t pay the mortgage, so he just wanted to sell his house. You could find something like that, but at that time, I was actually trying to find a way where I could do a JV with the lender, because I didn’t have money. If I did have money, I would’ve been able to get a site, no problem. Once you vetted a site like that, you could find somebody like that, but if you did have money, and somebody was just trying to get rid of their site, and you made them a good offer, you could be able to buy the site off them without having an agent involved.

Those are the three main ways that you can actually get an off-market site, and the reason I’m saying that is because there’s a … In an upward trend, where the market is going strong, there’s a lot of competition. Especially at the entry-level, where you’re planning to do a two townhouse development, or a three townhouse development. If the market is crowded, there’s a lot of people in that market, so if a project stacks up, it comes on the market, and before you know it, in seven days, someone’s actually made an offer. It actually … You’ve got to be ready. You’ve got to be market ready before you start diving into this. That’s my tip of the day, and I hope you like it. That’s my time. I’ll see you next time.

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Amber Khanna

About the author

Property Developer | Educator | Entrepreneur Experienced in Development Management, Financial Modelling, Land Acquisiion and Development Finance.

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