The number of available properties for sale nationwide has dropped dramatically over the past 12 months according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If you’re a homebuyer searching for real estate chances are you have found a low inventory of properties.
A low inventory of properties also tends to cause bidding wars to come back. That means homebuyers have to get more creative. Paul Bishop, VP of NAR suggests going beyond the usual market tactics to help you be the first to find homes. Simply getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is not enough anymore.
Here are some tips for creative strategies…
Head off the competition by finding “pocket listings.” These are listings that have been contracted for, but haven’t reached the market or been posted on the MLS. There are various reasons for this to happen, many times at the seller’s request. However, the listing broker knows the property is for sale. Tell your agent you want to know immediately of any new properties for sale.
Get real-time information. Most potential homebuyers depend on the normal flow of information from MLS sites or other sources like Realtor.com. Ask your agent about real-time MLS alerts – emails that go out immediately when a listing goes live. This avoids waiting hours or days before you know about new home for sale.
Tell your Realtor you want to be notified immediately when the inventory of properties changes – and make sure he or she knows exactly what you are looking for! That does three things for you: it forces you to be very specific about what you want; it tells your Realtor valuable information about your wants; and, it signals just how serious you are about moving on a purchase quickly.
Don’t be too quick to reject what you think are bad listings! Look past the need for paint, or bad lighting, or unflattering photos. Make sure not to superficially reject any listing that could be a treasure that is just packaged poorly.
Set your search criteria a bit higher than your actual target price. You are then looking for real estate that is over-priced so you can keep an eye on them to come down.
- Look out for would-be sellers. Tell your Realtor to check property listings that expired weeks or months ago. Get him to contact the sellers to see if they are considering coming back on the market. They may jump at someone like you who is ready to buy!
Develop a strong relationship with your Realtor, get pre-qualified for a mortgage, make sure your credit is clean, and then let your agent know that you are ready to move quickly when the right property comes along. Read here for more general buying tips.
Information provided by Montgomery Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel, Sandra Nickel Hat Team Realtors.