Sell My House – but Keep it “Low-Key”

Estate Agents are sometimes asked to list a property as For Sale, but to keep it as a low-profile listing.

This may involve not erecting a For Sale board outside the property, and not conducting any Showhouses.

The reasons for this instruction are varied, but in many cases a seller may not want his neighbors to know he is selling, or he may not be in any hurry to sell, and so he doesn’t want to be bothered with a high volume of buyers.

My advice to a seller in this situation is: Don’t list at all. Why? Because having a listing that no one can see makes as much sense as is as going to a restaurant when you know you aren’t going to eat. What’s the point?

You can actually damage the salability of your property. Technically you will have been on the market for months, or years – but not sold. This means you become a “stale” listing. And when you do get serious buyers will learn you’ve been on the market for long and offer you less than your property is worth.

If you do actually want to sell, then why would you not want a For Sale board and Showhouses? Does it really matter if your neighbors know you are selling? They will find out some day. And in many cases, your nosy neighbor may actually know someone who wants to buy your home.

So, if you don’t want people to know you are for sale, then don’t list.

And if you do really want to sell, then why would you do anything to harm the value of your home? In our experience, every seller we have ever met really wants the maximum market value for their property – and not one Rand less.

So let’s assume you really do want to sell and that you want the highest price the market will pay. If you refuse a For Sale board and Showhouse I can almost guarantee that you won’t get the price you deserve.

Fact: these marketing tools are critical to an agent attracting interest from qualified buyers. Massive buyer inquiry leads to buyer competition. And buyer competition leads to buyer offers. Where there is competition the buyers submit their best offers – and that’s when you sell for the highest market value.

Anything less results in lower offers.

Instructing your agent to market your property without these valuable tools would be like telling your heart surgeon to operate using only his left hand. Why would you do that? And why would he accept that instruction?

Our results at Harcourts show that, where we are able to use all possible marketing methods to attract buyer inquiry, such as For Sale boards, Showhouses, massive website listing, e-Marketing to buyer databases, and print – we obtain massive buyer inquiry.

When this occurs, one of two things happens: If the property is correctly priced we get offers. If it’s overpriced the buyers tell us, either with a lower, more market-related offer, or with no offers at all.

So, if you really want to sell, insist on all the marketing tools being used. And if you want a low-key listing, then it’s best not to list at all as you will only damage the future salability of your property.

If you have a property-related question you would like answered please email Steve on

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