An increasing number of Melbourne budget buyers are whisking properties off the market even before they are advertised to get ahead of the game.

Though off-market deals are not exactly bargain finds, savvy buyers are given the opportunity to buy at market value without the competition at auctions, amid a general shortage of stock in Melbourne.

According to George Alexander of Jas Stephens, there has been a big rise in off-market sales over the past two to three years. In fact, about 20 per cent of his Yarraville office’s sales were off-market.

“Back then, it wasn’t as common in the market place to buy off-market,” Alexander said. “But also the market was quite different--it wasn’t a sellers’ market five years ago, it was more of an even market.”

There is also more demand for private sales now coming from first home buyers. Joanne Royston of RT Edgar Williamstown advises those who want to buy off the market to be proactive about contacting agents.

“Sometimes, we show multiple buyers the one property off-market to try to maximise the price for the vendor,” she said. “But in saying that, that’s not always the case and they certainly would be under less competition than they would for an advertised property.”

It is also recommended to be in the know regarding auction results.

“That way buyers can then have a dialogue with agents about other sales results, and the agent also know what the buyers are talking about,” said buyers’ advocate Cate Bakos. “They will then get themselves on the hot list for that agent to sought new listings and off markets for them.”