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Low Inventory Got You Down? 5 Tips for Finding More Homes for Sale

September 17 2023

home search magnifying glassIt's not news that housing inventory is low, but anyone who's been working as a real estate agent during the past couple of years can attest that it's more difficult than ever to find homes for sale! Listing agents are struggling to find homeowners interested in moving and selling their home, and buyer's agents have the challenge of finding a house for their buying clients, one that meets their needs and is within their budget.

We've created an ebook in partnership with several companies whose bread-and-butter is helping agents find listings. You can download and read it here — and in the meantime, here are five more proven ways for you to try to find more listings as a real estate agent.

1. FSBO and expired listings

This is a tried-and-true method for finding listings, and that's because it works! The red-hot seller's market that many areas were experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic and during recovery have now largely vanished, but there are a lot of would-be sellers who didn't get the message and who might be trying to offload their house without the help of an agent.

A list of FSBO sales or expired listings can truly be real estate gold because you already know that the people who own that house are interested in selling it; you just need to understand what the barrier is (or was) to concluding that transaction.

2. Build relationships with builders

New construction is an important part of inventory in many markets, and it's the only way to make a listing appear out of thin air, more or less! Builders want to focus on what they do best, which is build houses, not negotiate with a buyer.

If there are developers or construction magnates in your area who aren't already working with a brokerage or a specific agent, maybe that could be you!

3. Find the landlords

Making passive income by renting out a home can sound like a dream come true — but real estate professionals know that being a landlord can also be more of a nightmare scenario for some people.

Who owns a home that they're currently renting out in the market where you operate? How long have they owned that home? Do they struggle to find quality tenants? Are they reaching retirement age or another life milestone that might cause them to reconsider their investments, both time-wise and money-wise, and make some different allocations?

The landlords are going to want to sell that house someday, and if you know who they are and have been chatting with them about the pain points surrounding rentals in the area, then you might be the first agent to know about that listing.

4. Familiarize yourself with foreclosures

Due to forbearance programs connected to the coronavirus pandemic, foreclosures have been mostly down nationally, meaning there haven't been as many in the past couple of years as we typically see. But now that the forbearance is ending and those programs are not available anymore, it's possible that we could be seeing more foreclosure activity in the near future.

These homes can represent an opportunity in at least two different ways. First, you can reach out to homeowners who are facing foreclosure and offer to help them sell the house to pay off the mortgage.

If that doesn't work out, then you can always try to represent the property on behalf of the bank if it doesn't sell at auction after it's been foreclosed. The bank doesn't want to keep the house; it wants to sell it to a buyer. Some agents specialize in REO (real estate-owned) listings and work directly with the banks to help represent and close transactions around those properties.

5. Knock on some doors

With email and social media both prevalent ways of reaching out to prospective buyers and sellers, door-knocking has largely fallen out of favor. And that's a bit of a shame, because not every possible buyer or seller is active on social media, and one of the best ways to find listings is to learn who in the neighborhood might want to sell but feels like they can't for one reason or another.

And how do you find those listings? Simple: You travel from door to door to introduce yourself to the occupants, ask if they own or rent, and then pose a few questions to them about their current situation and how happy they are. If it seems like they're dealing with a problem that you could help solve as either a listing agent or a buyer's agent, then you might have found yourself a new client!

Low home inventory is a challenge for everyone in real estate. Buyers want more options for their ultimate purchase decision; sellers might be leery of leaving a house where they're comfortable because they're unsure they can find something comparable at a decent price. To generate more inventory for your own listings and for your buyers, sometimes thinking outside the box is the best approach.

Want more outside-the-box ways to find homes for sale? Download our ebook today.