The Secret World of an Independent Property Search Agent

We offer an insight into the secret world where property is bought and sold “off-market” bypassing the traditional estate agent middle-man. It used to be that only the super-rich and famous would employ an independent property search agent but there is a new breed of seller who favours discretion over attracting a huge buying audience and an easy transaction over a protracted process handled from start to finish by a local expert.

Why do people sell off-market?

Most sellers of premium properties know the value of their home will be in its rarity and no longer see the need to have it mass marketed online so that everyone can speculate on their reasons for selling and have a window into the interior of their home. It is estimated that outside London at least 1 in 5 properties over the £1 million mark are sold off market. This number has doubled in the last 10 years.

At times of market unrest, when certain properties take longer to sell, private vendors are increasingly opting for a more discreet selling model. They understand that if they market through a well-known high street estate agent, half the county will know within days that they are selling and more importantly remember how long the property has remained on the market.

How to uncover the “secret” properties

So how to access these properties? Enter the independent property search agent. They don’t have big shouty websites as they rely almost exclusively on word of mouth recommendations and their local networks include solicitors and often well-established estate agents that may have access to properties which they have sold in the past.

Many buyers think that if they are diligent enough about keeping up to date with all their alerts on the major property portals they will see all there is to see. Not so, says West Sussex independent search agent Jennie Hancock. In most of the home searches she has conducted, the properties exchange hands without ever hitting the property portals.

Discreet rather than secretive

Jennie Hancock is well known locally as West Sussex’s best-connected property search agent, having grown up in the area and worked in property for over 30 years. If you need a West Sussex home search, look no further than Jennie’s website at Property Acquisitions. Amazingly Jennie doesn’t just rely on her little black book, such is her encyclopaedic knowledge of the premium property market in and around Chichester. And she’s been around long enough to have an unrivalled network of contacts in the area, ensuring she is the first to hear when someone is considering selling even before the decision is made. Discretion is a property search agent’s guiding mantra. Just because you have heard a snippet of property gossip at a social get-together or local networking event, it doesn’t mean you have to repeat it, but you can most certainly act on it.

Benefits of using a West Sussex home search agent

The other benefit of using an independent property search agent is the speed with which transactions can take place. Everyone knows the painstaking pace of local searches and conveyancing, but Jennie simply taps into her local network to get the information requested far quicker than the average estate agent. Jennie understands the potential sticking points between buyer and seller and navigates her way smoothly through these with the diplomacy of an experienced overseas attaché.

All this doesn’t mean that the role of the estate agent is redundant, but it certainly pays a buyer to have someone onside who knows all the local estate agent teams well enough to have an honest, if “off the record” discussion about a particular seller’s motivations. And estate agents treat buyers who have engaged an independent property search agent far more seriously because they know there is serious intent to buy rather than just an idle enquiry. This relationship takes years to build and the rapport with agents and solicitors are key.

So, what is the secret of an independent property search agent?

In a crowded confused market where estate agents spend much of their time fighting for ever diminishing instructions, the property search agent works solely for the buyer and discreetly taps into their local network to uncover the hidden gems, the properties which remain secret until the deal is done. For Jennie it’s not a job, it’s a lifelong passion and the networking is part of everyday life rather than a 9-5 activity.

To uncover the hidden West Sussex properties, speak to Chichester’s best kept “secret” independent property search agent, Jennie Hancock on 07776 452128. Or email her at