Finding the perfect home for your needs, wants and budget can be a challenge even when mortgage rates are low and there are plenty of properties for sale. But when fewer homes are on the market, buyers and their real estate agents must find creative ways to maneuver around the competition.
According to the National Association of Realtors, while inventory levels recently rose, the supply of non-distressed homes remains well below normal.
If low inventory makes your search a challenge, you need to be willing to think outside the box. Here are just a few ways to do so!
#1: Set up an alert system.
“We always set up our buyers with daily automatic emails and text alerts with new listings based on their criteria from the past 24 hours,” says Russ Murray, broker/owner of Buyer’s Resource Real Estate.
“When the market is highly competitive, we’re proactively searching for new listings multiple times a day, and in the process of transitioning to a system that can give us and our clients immediate alerts when a property is listed.”
Make sure your real estate agency has a similar system in place in your area. If not, you’ll want to specifically search for an agent who can accomplish this for you.
#2: Contact those who bought during the downturn.
Many realtors will search their database for past clients who bought when the market was down in 2008 and 2009, and will call and update them on current market conditions and ask if they’re interested in selling now that prices have increased.
#3: Target rentals.
You or your real estate agent may also contact landlords of rental properties to see if they would be interested in selling. You may never know if you don’t ask!
#4: Write a letter.
Frank Llosa, broker/owner of FranklyRealty.com, says he writes letters to homeowners in specific areas where his buyers want to live.
“About two percent of the homeowners we contact via letter – end up deciding to sell,” he says. Llosa suggests asking neighbors who are walking their dogs about potential sellers too.
“Dog walkers know everything,” he says. “They may have seen a photographer at the house or a landscaper getting a place ready to go on the market.”
#5: “Make Me Move” listings.
Buyers can search by zip code on Zillow.com for “Make Me Move” listings where homeowners who are testing the market put up an above-market price to see if buyers are interested. Llosa recommends contacting those owners to see if their price is firm or they’re willing to negotiate.
#6: Sign up on PreMLS.com.
There may be a social media group in your area for members who share information about listings before they go on the open market. Look for these types of groups and join them, or have your agent look into a group like this as an additional option to assist you.
Llosa has seen that “some agents let buyers see a home before it goes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and others tend to just alert people so they can see it on the first day.”
#7: FSBOs (For Sale By Owner).
A variety of websites including Zillow.com, ForSalebyOwner.com, iGoFSBO.com and Craigslist, allow you to search by zip code to find for-sale-by-owner homes. ForSalebyOwner.com has an app for smart phone users to search for homes in addition to their website too.
#8: Forget single-family homes.
Look into switching your selection from a single-family home to a townhouse, or look for a home that needs some work. This may be easier to obtain, and you might even like it better in the long run! Keep your options open.
If you have any questions about the home buying process, feel free to ask us! We know it can be an intimidating process at times, and we’re here for you. To learn more about our 10, 15, or 30 year First Financial Mortgages – click here.*
You might also want to subscribe to our Mortgage rate text message service, by texting “firstrate” to 69302. When our Mortgage rates change, you’ll be the first to know**
Click here to view the article source by Michelle Lerner of FOX Business.
* A First Financial membership is required to obtain a mortgage and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. Subject to credit approval. See Credit Union for details.
**Standard text messaging and data rates may apply.