Low inventory has been a continuous problem in the Wilmington real estate market. While new homes are being listed every day, it can prove difficult to find properties for buyers with tight budgets and special needs. Even finding a home with two masters, one on the first floor, can be a challenge. It can prove useful to think outside the box. So, if you’re searching for Wilmington, NC, homes for sale and not seeing what you need, consider a different approach – look back at expired and withdrawn homes. At one point, they wanted or needed to sell. There’s a good chance they still do.
Your Wilmington Expired/Withdrawn Search
To do this effectively, you’ll need the help of a Wilmington REALTOR®. Hopefully, if you’re already seriously looking at homes for sale, you’ve completed this step of the buying process. If not, now is a good time to do so.
The first step to this approach is running a search for expired listings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is available to REALTORS® and their clients. The MLS is the best tool for doing this because of its robust search system and historic database. We recommend starting the search 2 years ago and including up to 3 months before the day you began looking at Active listings. Most homes don’t sell because they’re overpriced and the owner doesn’t have room to be flexible. With time, this can improve, so you may find that owners of homes expired in the past 6 months aren’t as willing to negotiate as those from a year ago. This isn’t an issue if you’re willing to pay what they’re asking.
Simultaneously, you can run a search for withdrawn listings but keep in mind that listings are withdrawn for a myriad of reasons – a business relocation got canceled, a seller was unexpectedly deployed, the sellers wanted to complete repairs, a sickness in the family delayed plans, etc. Be mindful that a withdrawn listing may no longer need or want to sell.
You’ll want to only look for homes that fit your exact criteria, because the homeowners will be contacted, and you don’t want to be disrespectful of anyone’s time and efforts (it takes a lot of work to get a home ready for showing).You also want to doublecheck that none of the homes that you're interested in have been relisted. Each time a property is listed in the MLS, it creates a new record and assigns it a different listing number.
Once you have a list of 1-4 homes that are excellent contenders, your REALTOR® will either directly contact the homeowner or the previous listing agent (depending on the timeframe of when it was last listed). It’s important to follow NC Real Estate Association rules and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics to uphold standards and respect of all parties involved. Most homeowners do not mind inquiries about their properties if they’ve listed before, as long as the potential buyer is serious.
If the homeowners are still interested in selling and are willing to consider doing it right now, your REALTOR® will schedule a private showing and process any paperwork that may be required. You can then decide if the home is a fit for your needs. If it is, you can proceed as normal with an offer to purchase.
Keep a Tight Focus
We recommend approaching expired and withdrawn sellers only if you absolutely need to move and can’t find a suitable home currently listed for sale in the MLS. When looking at expired and withdrawn homes in Wilmington, keep your focus on what you need (rather than what you want) and what you can’t change (location, stories, etc.), because you can always change the cosmetic stuff and finishes (paint colors, flooring, etc.) later.
Are you starting your Wilmington home search? Need help with the buying process? Give The Cameron Team a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message.