Can't find the home you're looking for? Does it seem like there just isn't enough options out there for you?
Welcome to the life of many frustrated buyers who feel the same way you do.
There are things you can do that will help you find the home of your dreams, even when it isn't already listed for sale.
Here in Raleigh, we are experiencing a significantly low-inventory housing market, with a large buyer pool. This is causing frustration among buyers for two common reasons:
- They can't find a home for sale.
- When they do find the right home, it's a multiple offer situation or gone in a day.
If this sounds like you, there are things you can do to help yourself with the help of a Realtor®, to find that perfect house.
Determine Location and Neighborhoods
The first thing you should do is to determine a location before you buy real estate.
By determining the location you can zone in on the neighborhoods you want and begin marketing, communicating, and searching for someone who is selling their home. This is the most important part of the home search. Location is the number one determining factor in price and is the one thing buyers should not sacrifice when purchasing real estate.
There are a lot of buyers who are so afraid of making the wrong decision that they begin to confuse themselves and start searching homes for sale in many different local cities. This is what makes having a great Realtor® by your side so important.
It's a lot harder to find the best home at a great price when you don't zone in on the neighborhoods you like.
If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone buying a house it would be to zone in on a location, neighborhood, area, school, something that will give you the opportunity to 'predict' a great deal vs. confusing yourself with the ambiguity of different zip codes, cities, and schools.
If you're unsure of what to look for in a neighborhood here is a great place to start from MaxRealEstateExposure.com.
Once you have determined a location it's time to start finding a home for sale!
Expired Listings is a Great way to Find a Home
One of the best ways to find a home for sale, when there aren't any, is to start by examining the people who tried to sell and were unable to. A lot of times people whose homes have expired off the market still want to, or need to sell their home at some point. Start by reaching out to these people.
When there aren't enough options on the market, or if there just aren't any, you need to become resourceful. For instance, the other day we had a buyer connect with us that they couldn't find the home they were looking for in Downtown Raleigh, so we put together a list of expired real estate listings that matched their criteria and asked if they liked any.
There are a number of reasons why a home expires off the market and it isn't always necessarily because the home is bad. Sometimes it is overpriced for the current real estate market, has a limited buyer pool, or just wasn't marketed correctly. You shouldn't be afraid to buy a home that was once an expired listing because it expired.
If you want to search expired listings in Wake County in certain locations let us know. We can put together a list of expired listings that match your criteria and help you to connect with the sellers.
Mailing Letters within your Desired Neighborhood/Area
When you mail letters try and engage people in conversation before attacking them with offers. Start with something like "We hope to be moving to the neighborhood soon" and a picture of you and your family vs. writing a generic "we would like to buy your home letter." By putting something interesting and eye catching you'll be far more likely to engage the people who are opening your letters vs. ending up in the trash with all the other marketing mailers.
Finish the letter with an opportunity to continue the conversation whether that is offering your email address or social media profile for them to connect with you. "We would be delighted to connect with you, our email is..." - Give them some way to connect with you.
At the end of the day people want to live next to people they like, so if you can start a conversation, you will have people helping you find a way to move into the neighborhood. Some of the first people to find out about people selling their homes are neighbors whether it's through conversation or looking out the window and seeing a sign go up (sometimes before it's listed for sale with the MLS).
Social Media to Join Groups/Pages
If you're looking at homes for sale in a certain neighborhood there are ways you can connect with potential sellers online. Let's pretend you want to search homes for sale in Cary, NC, specifically within the Cary Park Subdivision. One of the first things you should do is find ways to connect with the people in that neighborhood online.
If you can join a large facebook group you can write on the page informing potential sellers that you're looking to buy in the neighborhood.
A lot of times a simple 'Hi Everyone, My name is Ryan and my family and I are hoping to join your awesome neighborhood. We love the ( list a couple of things you like ). Do you know anyone who is considering selling that you can connect us with? Thanks so much! Ryan"
There have been several deals converted from a social media post like that one, and people using their networks on social media to find a great home, when there aren't many for sale.
Other things you can do include running sponsored facebook ads on a targeted zip code or area. Try a video as they're most likely to engage people!
Door Knocking Homes that Aren't for Sale
A lot of people don't want to door knock and that's fine, there are other strategies you can use. There's not going to be anything more effective than going home by home and asking people if they are thinking of selling. Because it is the most direct, it's also the one people are most afraid of, because there's a high probability of the owner saying no.
If you really want to find a home for sale in the neighborhood you like, you 100% absolutely, positively, should go door knocking. Drop a card off for them to contact you in case they do decide to sell/know of someone else in the neighborhood who is.
Door knocking is probably the most effective out of all the strategies as it allows you to find the homes you like and speak directly with those owners face to face.
Final Thoughts on Finding a Home for Sale in a Low Inventory Market
Finding great homes for sale isn't always the easiest objective - you should start by determining a location/area and go from there. The location is the most important aspect of purchasing real estate since it's one thing you cannot change about your property. After you've found the location you should start tackling expired listings and see what didn't sell.
Drive through the neighborhoods you like and put together mailing lists/addresses for the houses you especially like and prepare your letter. Mail to these homeowners. You can typically find their names registered with the county real estate website. If you were to search Wake County Real Estate you can find the owner's names here.
After you put together the addresses, names, and have mailed the letters you should feel free to connect with these people on social media, and to join local social media groups/pages. Let the community know your intentions and what you're looking for.
If there are any homes in particular, that you especially like, don't be afraid to knock on the owner's door and ask if they are considering selling their home anytime soon. Maybe it isn't for sale today, and they were planning to list it for sale in the next 6 months. You will at the very least build a connection in the neighborhood even if they don't plan to sell. For those of you that are scared to door knock remember -- it's flattering for owners to hear that someone loves their home so much they wanted to buy it! :)
Hi there! I'm Ryan Fitzgerald, a REALTOR in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the owner of Raleigh Realty. Chances are you and I share a similar passion, Real Estate! I also have a passion for technology, sports, and people. Would love to hear from you. Drop me a note in the comments section below and feel free to share this article socially!