It is no secret that many home buyers are having a hard time finding a home to purchase. The inventory of homes available for sale was on the low side even before the Covid 19 pandemic. Currently, there is a historic and dire shortage of houses for sale. According to data from Realtor.com, "The inventory of homes for sale dropped 53% between April 2020 and April 2021." In a recent fortune.com article written on February 17, 2022, Tristan Bove wrote, "The inventory of homes for sale is down 26% compared to last year, and forecasters see a rough year ahead." Home values will keep rising this year as well. It's time for buyers to pull out all stops and use some serious home search strategies.
Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you are in the market to find a home, first and foremost, find yourself an experienced, local real estate agent. Be sure to do your research and find an agent that specializes in working with buyers. Some agents even have an "ABR" designation (Accredited Buyer's Representative) from the National Association of Realtors. Be sure your agent has your best interest at heart and has time to work with you. Nowadays, agents sometimes have to drop what they're doing and show you a home the instant it goes on the market. Work with an agent that has ties with other agents in their office and in the community. Your agent should be reaching out to other agents to see if they have any sellers with homes that meet your criteria. If you're having trouble finding an agent through referral, you can find experienced, professional agents on matching sites such as Upnest.com and Homelight.com.
Get Set Up on Push Emails from the Multiple Listing Service
Be sure your real estate agent is a member of the local MLS, multiple listing service. This is where almost all agents list their sellers' homes. Your agent can set you up with push emails for homes that fit your search criteria. This means, when a home that meets your criteria is listed in the MLS, you receive an email. These systems typically send out the push emails each morning, so you may be receiving yesterday's listings. Ask your real estate agent to manually search your criteria a couple times a day for you. This will ensure you don't miss out on the actual day's new listings.
Search the Internet Multiple Times Per Day
The National Association of Realtors and Google conducted a study and found that "90% of all home buyers search the internet during their home buying process." If you want to step up the process of finding a home, search the internet yourself a few times a day. You never know what your real estate agent may be missing. You may come across some "For Sale By Owners," often called FSBOs in the real estate community. Also, it is not uncommon for buyers to find new listings on the internet before their agents do. Work together to maximize your search efforts.
Drive Around Your Desired Neighborhoods
If searching for a home locally, take time to drive around your favorite neighborhoods. Many real estate agents and sellers are using "Coming Soon" riders on their signs nowadays. This helps attract buyer interest even before the home is listed in the MLS or online. If you see a "Coming Soon" sign in a yard, get in touch with the seller or agent, or have your buyer's agent contact the agent, so you can be one of the first to see the home.
Deliver Letters to Potential Home Sellers
Some buyers and their agents are even delivering or sending letters to homeowners in their desired neighborhoods, informing them of their intent on purchasing a home in the neighborhood. You never know when a homeowner is considering selling their home. You may find a homeowner willing to work directly with you or your agent, instead of placing their home for sale on the open market.
When you find a home that interests you, don't waste any time submitting an offer to purchase. Remember, buyers are competing over homes, so be sure to offer a competitive price for the home. Home values are rising, so you may pay more than the list price.