Buying a Home? Think Outside of the Box


As housing markets rebound all over the country, buyers are dealing with lower inventories and increased competition for quality houses. When good homes get scarce, buyers have to take things up a notch and think outside of the box to land the home they really want.

Officially, inventory levels have risen for the last five months according to the National Association of Realtors. But there is still a large amount of distressed homes in the housing supply, inflating these numbers. The amount of high quality, non-distressed homes is not as high and therefore buyers are having to get creative when finding homes.

Here’s a few out of the box ideas on home buying:

Automatic Alerts

In competitive markets the buyers who get their information the fastest will be the ones who have the best shot at getting the home they want. Unless you like being on real estate listing sites all day and hitting refresh, automatic updates are the way to go.

Many real estate brokerage sites that are tied into the MLS or other sites like Zilllow can send you emails or even text messages when a home matching your search criteria is listed or had its listing changed. Having this info will give you the drop on other people who manually check the site.

Find Downturn Buyers

If there just aren’t a lot of houses on the market, you might need to get creative and inspire a homeowner to sell. Buying going through public real estate records, you can find homeowners that bought during the downturn at over inflated prices.

This is especially works well in markets where there are a lot of second home owners or businesses that invest in properties. They may not be aware that the market is better or be dealing with so many other properties the one you like isn’t on their radar to sell. Contact them and make them an offer; it may be the way out they never thought about.


Another great strategy is to contact owners of rental properties and see if they are interested in selling. Maybe they are tired of the hassles that come with renting out a second property. Maybe they have been too lazy to initiate the sales process themselves. Either way, a polite inquiry from you may get them to sell.

Talk to Local Businesses

Dog walkers, landscapers, maintenance men, painters and many others have a good feeling for certain neighborhoods and who is looking to sell. Ask home related professionals or just people whose job creates a lot of interaction with the community and see if they know of anyone getting ready to sell.

Make Me Move

Zillow has a setup where people who are testing the market will create a “Make Me Move” listing. They aren’t listing their house officially but instead are setting an above market price and seeing if anyone might be interested.

Reach out to these potential sellers and see how firm their price is. They are already in the mind set of wanting to potentially sell, so you’re half way there. Coming in early, with a real offer that is close to their asking price and reminding them of the savings they will incur by not going through a broker, you have a great shot at winning them over.