Competition is tight for home buyers and real estate professionals alike: Most markets have scant inventories of homes for sale, and there are about twice as many working real estate professionals as available listings.
“This is not the time for amateurs,” Dana Bull, a real estate professional in Boston, told CNBC. “This is the big leagues here.”
Fierce bidding wars are common for the limited supply of homes for sale. There are 20% fewer homes listed for sale than there were last March. REALTORS® have reported four offers for each home sold, according to the latest REALTOR® Confidence Index.
Real estate pros report leaving no stone unturned searching for more housing choices for their buyers. “We’re pulling out all the stops in terms of mailers, in terms of getting on social media,” Bull told CNBC. Having strong networks in place is critical, she added. “We are tapping our network, trying to facilitate some of these transactions, and some of them are happening, going into Boston, out of Boston, out of state, across the country,” she said. “We are networking and doing everything we can, working our channels and working our connections.”
Ryan Waller, a real estate professional with Home Group Realty in Ontario, told Money.com that, when buyers can’t find a home to buy, he will walk around their chosen neighborhood with them and hand-pick which houses interest the buyer. They draft a letter to each of the owners to see if they would consider selling. The idea has worked, Waller said. Some homeowners may not be aware of how much their home has appreciated and may be open to selling when they find out how much it’s worth and that a buyer is already interested.
Also, some real estate professionals are turning to the media to get the message out to homeowners that now is a great time to sell. “We’re big marketers in town and have also resorted to the media to help us—running ads on local radio stations with messages like ‘We have buyers looking for the following…,” Waller told Money.com. He will even include specific neighborhood names, number of bedrooms, and more details to help his buyers find what they want. His team also has been publishing full-page newspaper ads to try to find potential sellers.
Some real estate pros have even resorted to using local divorce announcements, obituaries, and foreclosure notices. They may call the homeowners or heirs to inquire about the property, discuss the benefits of selling, or even make a cash offer on the spot.
Many homeowners may be concerned to list their home from fears that they won’t have a home to move to. As a result, real estate pros are trying to entice sellers with other available properties in their areas.
“It kind of feels like a game of Tetris,” Bull told CNBC, “where we’re looking at the whole playing board, and we’re trying to place people and strategically move people around in a way that best fits their lifestyle.”