Even when there are lots of properties up for sale, it can be quite a challenge finding a home perfectly tailored to your needs and budget. When there are fewer homes available, the scenario gets really tough and buyers and their agents need to think outside the box to come up with suitable options. Buyers must set their priorities in terms of the type of home they’re looking for and its price. Sometimes even with steadily rising inventories, the availability of non distressed homes can remain well below normal.
Here are some creative ways of hunting for homes:
Set up alert systems
We set up daily text alerts and automatic emails for our buyers on the basis of the criteria they specify in the last 24 hours. When the markets are highly competitive, we keep searching proactively for new listings posted many times during the day. We’re trying to build a system using which we can give our clients instant alerts when properties are listed.
Contact downturn buyers
We also search our databases for previous clients who made home purchases when the markets were really down some years ago. We update them regarding the current market scenario and ask whether selling at higher prices interests them. Since many homes are second homes of people, we do a bit of detective work and try to locate owners using social media and ask if they want to sell.
I sometimes get in touch with owners of rental properties and find out their inclination towards selling. I once had a buyer looking out for a four-bedroom unit with precise specifications of view and floor plan. After contacting owners of similar units on 15 floors, I did manage to find someone willing to sell.
I’ve seen a colleague write letters to owners in areas where buyers say they want to live. He says that he achieves a success of around 2% in finding willing sellers. He also believes that dog walkers know a lot about the neighborhood. He asks whether they’ve seen a photographer or landscaper around a place getting it ready for the market.
Search test listings
Buyers can hunt for homes by ZIP code on certain websites where homeowners put up listings to test the market. The prices put up are usually relatively high in order to gauge buyer sentiments. Sometimes, getting in touch with such homeowners can prove fruitful and they might be willing to negotiate a bit.
Sign up on Pre MLS websites
There are some Facebook groups and websites which have members sharing listing information before it’s actually put up on the market. Signing up on these gives buyers and their agents a head start and they can see the houses before others do.
Visit for-sale-by-owners (FSBO) sites
There are various websites that allow you to look for for-sale-by-owner homes by ZIP code. Some sites also have apps that smartphone users can make use of while searching for homes.
Look beyond single-family homes
Another option for buyers is to switch from single-family homes to town houses. As realtors, it’s a part of our job to advise our buyer clients about slight variations in places they might want to live in or buy.
Once you find the home to match your tastes, budget, and lifestyle, you’ll want to know the home value of your property. You can obtain a free home valuation report from Neighborhood IQ to find out how much a property is worth. Also, the Home Loan Advisor can analyze your property, current market conditions, local market comps, and other variables in our proprietary algorithm, and match you with potential lenders.