Off-market sales come at a price

Sellers may sacrifice market value for privacy, convenience

Wouldn’t it be nice to bypass all the marketing required to sell a home — especially people coming through at inconvenient times and public open houses — and sell directly to someone for a price you can live with, without the fanfare?

There are times when a sale off-market is appropriate.

For instance, an elderly man decided to sell his house for $1 million to a contractor he knew. He let his co-trustee know what he’d verbally agreed to and she got into the act. As a trustee, she owed a fiduciary duty to get the highest price possible for the trust. She knew that $1 million was too low.

After canvassing the local real estate community, it was determined that the house was probably worth about $1.4 million on the market. But, the co-trustee agreed that the property needed to be sold and that it probably would never be put on the open market due to health issues in the family.

The prospective buyer also agreed that the price was low. However, he couldn’t afford to pay more than $1.2 million. Both trustees thought this was an acceptable price since no commission was involved and the house had some issues. For instance, part of the house was built over the septic tank.