How to Find Rental Properties Before They Hit the Market UK?

  • September 2, 2023
  • December 15, 2023
  • Shaz Nawaz
  • 9 min read

If you can find a property before it goes on the market, then you have an advantage over other buyers. To further help your position, you must remain ready to go as a buyer. 2023 is a buyer’s market, yet housing supply is still short. This guide covers how to find rental properties before they hit the market. First, let’s discuss the definition of off-market property.

What is Off-Market Property?

Usually, property is for sale openly through property portals, auctions, and estate agents. Off-market is not available for sale in such ways. It is sometimes called ‘secret property market’. This is because it is kept private from the public eye. Here are some reasons why sellers place property off market:

  • They are prioritising their privacy.
  • Hoping to get serious offers and the best price.
  • They are not moving but are open to the idea of it.

How to Find Rental Properties Before They Hit the Market in the UK?

Now, the question arises: how can you find such type of properties? Well, the following are some of the ideal methods to find properties before they even put up in the market:

Forming Relationships with Estate Agents

If you are trying to find the right property but in an unconventional manner, then it is necessary to build relationship with estate agents. They are likely to help you out if you can get them on your side. Estate agents can benefit you in the following ways:

  • They can let you know beforehand if a property is going up in the market.
  • There are certain off-market properties that are kept quiet. Agents only tell the buyers they trust. This happens when selling the property is a sensitive issue. For example, the seller is getting a divorce. Or the property developer wants to liquidate stock in a discreet manner.
  • People often sell top end properties off-market as they want to keep it secretive.

Therefore, you must know how to find rental properties before they hit the market.

Reaching Out to Absentee Owners

Another way is to approach absentee owners. Especially if they own empty rental properties. Usually, they just don’t bother selling their home and you can help them out with the decision. Suppose you locate an empty home or a flat that you are interested in, then leave a note. Just slip the note through the door. Or you can ask the neighbours for their contact number. It depends on the length of the empty period of the property. Such homes are mostly their old home, rental, or even a holiday home. Once you contact them, they may consider your offer and end up selling their home. Therefore, it is important to know how to find rental properties before they hit the market.

Getting the Help of a Buying Agent

Now, the question arises, “Who will help you find a house before it hits the market?” The answer is a buying agent. That’s right. The role of a buying agent is that of helping homebuyers find the right property. They will navigate you through the entire purchasing process. An expert buying agent knows very well how to locate off-market properties. Not only this, but they can also get you a discount on the property.

Leafleting the Location of Your Choice

For those who know exactly which area they want to live in, leafletting comes in handy. If you find the right location for yourself, then that is beneficial for you. Suppose you know the exact location, then you can put notes through people’s letter boxes. This way, you can let them know about yourself and inquire if they are willing to sell. If they were doubtful about selling their home, your note can prompt them. Some people don’t want to sell to a property developer. They prefer it remains within their family. Also, the seller may wish to avoid expensive estate agent fees. Then, they will sell directly.

Asking Family and Friends

You can get the help of your family and friends. They can play the role of an army of property scouts for you. It is ideal to tell everyone you know that you are trying to find a home. Ask them to keep an eye out for any suitable property that is about to go up for sale. Through word of mouth, you can know that a property is going to go up on the market soon. Thus, it is essential to know how to find rental properties before they hit the market.

Going Door to Door

Another method that you can apply is by going door to door. Once you narrow down the location you wish to live in, you can ask around in that area. You must consider the following:

  • Undoubtedly, it can seem awkward. Still, you can find the right property. You should approach in a diplomatic manner. Tell them you want to move into this area and ask if they know if any property is going up on the market soon.
  • Visit on the weekend, so that people are at home.
  • Prepare yourself to face rejection.
  • Make sure you have your contact details with you.

Trying Homebuying Schemes

When you are searching for ways to discover an off-market property, then you must always consider homebuying schemes: Through Deposit Unlock you can buy a new build by placing only a 5% deposit. You can purchase a home from a participating developer. This platform has major housebuilders such as Persimmon, Bellway, and Barratt Homes. In case there is nothing suitable available on the market, you should remain on the lookout for new development plans. How can you do this? Well, you can keep an eye out for planning applications for housing developments. Go to the area where you want to buy.

Furthermore, you can sign up to the emails of house builders. This way, you will know about any developments that are new. Another housing scheme you can check out is First Homes Scheme. Even if you are a first-time buyer, you can find newly built homes with a 30% discount in comparison to the market value. Moreover, this discount is on there permanently. So, every time the property goes on sale, a new buyer can benefit from it. Therefore, you should remain alert for new homes in your area that go up for sale by developers. If you are looking to buy a share of a property, you can do so through Shared Ownership.

It allows you to secure a shared ownership mortgage through which you can purchase a share. Usually, the shares are from 25 to 75%. Of course, you must meet the eligibility criteria. Then, you can pay rent on the share which is remaining. This payment goes to a private developer or a housing association. Please note that you will come across leasehold properties. Which means you may end up paying a monthly service charge. Also, you may need to contribute to maintenance fees.

Estate Agents vs. Buying Agents what you need to know

Is Buying at Auction a Good Idea?

There are plenty of advantages to buying at auction. For example, you do not face a risk of being gazumped. Additionally, you can avoid a lengthy purchasing process. Not to mention that buying at auction provides you with more certainty when it comes to the buying process. Yet, it is best to know all the pros and cons before going down this route.

Ways to Become an Attractive Buyer

Now that you know how to find rental properties before they hit the market, it is time to seal the deal. How can you do that? Well, by making yourself an attractive buyer. Then, you truly have an edge on other buyers. Here is what you can do:

1. You Need to Prepare your Finances

Whenever a new property goes up on the market, it is likely that the seller will go for someone who is financially stable. That is why it is best to sort your finances out before you go hunting for properties. You should also reach out to a fee-free mortgage broker. They will tell you how much you can borrow. While you are at it, you should get your hands on a mortgage agreement in principle as well. If you tell the seller that you did not talk to anyone about a mortgage, they will not consider you a serious buyer. Of course, if you are a cash buyer, that is an advantage.

2. You Must Avoid Getting Stuck in a Chain

Majority of seller worry about getting stuck in a housing chain. The reason is that this results in them depending on other people for selling their home. Thus, you can place yourself in a stronger position by remaining chain-free. First-time buyers are not part of a chain. In case you are already an owner of a property, there are methods to become chain free. An example as such is that you can sell your property and move into a home on rent. You can stay there as a tenant while you search for a home to buy. There are drawbacks to this situation. For example, you will end up paying more in rent than you would have otherwise. Yes, a mortgage would cost you less. Hence, you must comprehend how to find rental properties before they hit the market.


To summarise, there are plenty of ways that you can find a property before it hits the market. It requires building relationships with estate agents and asking around. Surely, it takes a lot of effort and time, but it is possible to find a suitable property for yourself. Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for and where before you embark on this journey.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *