On-Market vs Off-Market: A Comparative Analysis for Selling Commercial Property

At A Glance:

  1. On-Market Selling: Publicly listing the commercial property attracts a wider audience and fosters competitive bidding, potentially leading to higher sale prices and market validation.
  1. Off-Market Selling: A discreet and targeted approach allows for greater privacy, control, and flexibility in negotiations, appealing to specific buyers and potentially reducing costs.
  1. Choosing the Best Approach: The decision between on-market and off-market selling depends on property characteristics, market conditions, urgency, and seller preferences, each offering unique benefits to achieve a successful commercial property sale.

When selling commercial property, owners often face a crucial decision: to list their property on the open market or keep it off-market. Each approach has unique advantages and drawbacks, catering to different seller objectives and market conditions. In this article, we delve into the differences between on-market and off-market selling, analysing their respective benefits to help property owners make informed decisions when putting their commercial property for sale.

On-Market Selling:

On-market selling refers to the traditional approach of listing commercial property on public platforms such as real estate websites and industry databases and engaging the services of real estate agents. It is open to all potential buyers, creating a competitive bidding environment. Here are some of the key advantages of on-market selling:

  1. Wider Exposure: Listing a commercial property on the open market ensures maximum visibility to a broad audience of potential buyers. This increased exposure can attract a diverse pool of interested parties, including investors, developers, and businesses seeking new locations.
  1. Competitive Bidding: The competitive nature of on-market sales can drive up property prices, potentially leading to higher offers. Multiple buyers vying for the property can create a sense of urgency, resulting in a quicker sale.
  1. Professional Representation: Real estate agents with expertise in the commercial property sector can effectively market the property, negotiate offers, and handle the complex paperwork involved in the transaction.
  1. Market Validation: An on-market sale can give sellers a realistic assessment of their property’s value. The competitive bidding process reflects market demand and can give sellers confidence in the sale price.

Off-Market Selling:

On the other hand, off-market selling involves a more discreet and targeted approach. The property is not publicly listed, and potential buyers are typically identified through personal networks, word-of-mouth, or off-market databases. Let’s explore the benefits of this approach:

  1. Privacy and Control: Off-market sales afford sellers greater privacy and control over the sales process. This discretion can appeal to high-profile sellers or those who wish to avoid public attention.
  1. Targeted Audience: With off-market selling, sellers can directly approach potential buyers interested in acquiring a property with particular characteristics. This targeted approach can lead to more serious and committed buyers.
  1. Flexibility in Negotiations: Off-market transactions often involve fewer competing bids, allowing for more flexible negotiations. Sellers and buyers can engage in personalised discussions to reach mutually beneficial agreements.
  1. Lower Costs: By avoiding marketing expenses and agent commissions associated with on-market sales, off-market transactions can be more cost-effective for sellers.

Determining the Best Approach:

The decision between on-market and off-market selling hinges on various factors, including the property’s unique attributes, current market conditions, and the seller’s preferences and goals. An on-market approach could lead to competitive offers and potentially higher sale prices in a seller’s market with high demand. Conversely, in a buyer’s market with limited interest, off-market selling might attract serious buyers who are ready to negotiate on favourable terms.

Moreover, the urgency of the sale and the level of privacy desired by the seller are critical considerations. For instance, sellers requiring a quick sale might opt for an on-market approach, while those seeking confidentiality might lean towards off-market channels.


Choosing between on-market and off-market selling strategies for a commercial property for sale is a decision that should be carefully evaluated based on the unique circumstances of each seller. On-market sales offer wider exposure and competitive bidding, while off-market sales provide greater privacy and flexibility. A well-informed seller, supported by market insights and professional advice, can leverage the strengths of each approach to achieve a successful and rewarding commercial property sale.