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House Hunting in the Off Season

February 12th, 2014

Real estate agentHouse Hunting in the Off Season

You’re ready to buy now but there’s not a lot of houses available.

So how do you find the right home without having to wait until April?

Here’s five ways to work with your real estate agent to get in that home before the Spring.

Look for Expired Listings

Have your agent search the MLS for homes that were listed in the recent past but never sold. Many homes failed to sell because they were perceived as overpriced for their value at that point time. Ask yourselves if the last list price seems reasonable in today’s climate. If so, and you like the house, have your agent contact the owner with a letter expressing your interest in purchasing the property. Show the owner you’re serious, and you’ll likely get a response.

Search for ‘make me move’ prices

Zillow has homes that are not officially on the market but could be yours if the price is right.  Some would-be sellers are unrealistic in their pricing, but others may have listed their property months or years ago, and their price may in fact be doable. Have your real estate agent each out to them with an offer.

Check rental listings

This may not make sense at first, but stick with us. Sometimes an owner will have lived in a property and then bought a second one deciding to rent out the first house. But sometimes owning a rental is more work than the owner originally thought. If you contact the owner to see if he wants to sell, he might be open to letting it go for a reasonable price.

Don’t ignore overpriced listings

If a home has been on the market for quite some time, and the price is quite high, you may be able to use this to your advantage with a more reasonable offer. After six weeks or less in some markets, an overpriced home loses its luster. Plus, a seller may not want to drop their price but would be willing to actually sell for a lower price. If you get in before they lower the selling price, you’ll have the best chance of having the offer accepted.

Off-market or pocket listings

We mentioned these last Thursday. Pocket listings haven’t been listed yet, and are often found by word of mouth. Savvy real estate agents talk frequently with their network to find out what’s coming up.

Are you looking to buy a home right now?

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