So, you know what you want. You know the neighborhood, and you are ready to buy.
But it’s a seller’s market right now and everyone is asking top dollar for their stuck in 1960’s, no bathroom having, ‘I can see through your roof’ house.
You’ve been looking for 6 months, and you never thought you’d have to work so hard to give someone your money!
Well, all hope isn’t lost.
It’s possible to find good deals on off-market homes with zero competition and you don’t need a realtor to do it. But some of these gold mines aren’t for unseasoned buyers so you want to consider having a realtor familiar with the process help. So your gold mine doesn’t turn into a land mine.
But if you are ready to find your next potential house, here are some less fished pools you can check out:
- Direct Mail – You can use direct mailing, like an investor to find a deal. Just pick a neighborhood that you like and ask your Realtor to send out letters to the residents saying that you are looking to purchase a property if anyone in the neighborhood is looking to sell. Sometimes you get some crazy offer, but sometimes you find someone who is in a situation or on the fence about selling and an offer can help persuade them. And the best part? This is an off-market deal so no competition!Your realtor can write them if they are up for it, or you can do it yourself. Here’s some verbiage:Hi ‘Soon to be Neighbor’,
My name is GoodandWells and my husband and I looking for a home to purchase in your neighborhood for our family. If you are thinking of selling your home or may know of anyone who is, please contact us at your convenience or feel free to pass out contact information along.
Thanks for your time!
- Auction Sites – Auction.com, Hubzu.com are a couple places you can find online auctions (but make sure you check them out first cause they can have some rinky-dink houses, premium fees and sometimes no inspection clause allowances).
- For Rent Section on Craigslist etc – Sellers who were aggressive on their asking price find themselves willing to rent their unsold home in the classified. Sometimes these folks are still open to selling if they get an offer so don’t be afraid to email and ask! Here is some verbiage for you:
Hi ‘Reluctant Landlord‘,
My name is GoodandWells and I saw your property for rent on Craigslist. It looks like a lovely home from the pictures and I am wondering if you would be open to selling it. If you are please feel free to respond to this email or give me a call at 867-5309.
Thanks for your time!
- Drive around – drive around your desired neighborhood looking for ‘for sale by owner’ signs. Some folks just don’t like realtors and rather put up the sign themselves so always drive around (and/or use a site) to find them.
- Estate Sales – Like are great places to find out about house deals. Use google to find local estate sales in your area and you can find out from the auctioneers and sometimes the sellers as well if any houses are for sale.
- HUD Home Store – HUD houses can be an especially good buy because they regularly provide inspection documents to prospective buyers so you know issues before you place an offer. With any purchase negotiate/get a warranty for at least the first year in case you find something after the inspection.
- Short Sales – If you’ve got free time to wait to move in, then short sales are also a good option.
- Craigslist and eBay (For Sale Section)- Craiglist and eBay are also great places to find home deals. The pickings can be a little bad, but some sellers only advertise their homes on craigslist and a few have been really good options for folks. The buying process all runs the same regardless of if you bought on craigslist or the MLS so its legit.
- Ask People – Tell everyone you meet that you are looking for a house to purchase, you never know who might have one to sell but haven’t put it on the market yet.
- Sherrif Sale – This is not for the amateur or faint of heart (or wallet). You don’t usually get to see the interior of these properties before they hit the auction block and many times can be vacant for months or years and hence have major problems. If you don’t have a healthy reserve for fixing issues, and a stomach for renos before moving in
Bonus Tip 1: Foreclosures – Most banks sell their foreclosure properties using a realtor and listing it in the MLS so you are already looking in the right place. And not all foreclosures are homes that have been trashed or difficult to purchase. Savvy home buyers look for these homes that are in good shape and already have built-in equity. Not bad to get a home 30 to 50% off the market price.
Bonus Tip 2: Ask your realtor for a list of expired listings in your neighborhood. Ask him/her to contact the house you LOVE and see if the owners are still open to selling. Sometimes having a listing expire is enough to bring overzealous sellers back to reality for an offer.
Finding a house you love is half the battle, but you don’t have to only use the MLS. There are so many options available that it is worth giving a few of them a try.
Got any other tips on where to find houses? We’d love to hear about it!