In a recent newsletter I discussed the effect the current shortage of homes is having on buyers and sellers in the Phoenix Valley and nationwide. Current buyers who already own homes are happy to have more equity in the homes they want to sell, but aren’t always as excited about the prospect of finding a new home that they can afford when prices are going up and inventory is tight.
This has led many would-be buyer/sellers to hold off on moving plans. There may be a seller whose home would be perfect for your buyer, who has opted not to list because they are afraid they won’t be able to find a new home quickly. This costs buyers and sellers the opportunity to get into a home that could be right for them.
What can you as an agent do to help? Here are a few strategies to consider:
- Work with a knowledgeable mortgage broker. In a tight inventory market, a broker who can help find creative ways to minimize monthly payments or down payments depending on your clients’ needs may be the difference between getting your buyers into a new home, or staying put. A great broker knows what programs your buyers and sellers may be able to use – such as VA, FHA, reverse mortgages for purchase or other programs – to make their move happen.
- Consider alternative approaches to financing for seniors. Seniors are one group that is particularly uncomfortable about the logistics of buying and selling in the current market. One solution? Senior sellers who may want to buy a new home but need to reduce the size of their down payment might be eligible for the FHA’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase or H4P reverse mortgage program by FHA. This is a great program for sellers that want to sell their current home and keep more of their cash available for retirement.
- Don’t limit yourself to the MLS or your current pool of buyers or sellers. Reach out to your own network and let them know you have buyers looking. You never know who might want to sell but is afraid of the selling process. This strategy can work very well for buyers – and for the sellers as well. You never know, you just might pick up some listings too.
- Don’t just market homes, market your buyers. Another old trick that still works is to market your buyers to potential sellers in the neighborhoods where they want to look. Write up a description of the type of home your buyers are looking for and sell them to the sellers. Make sure the buyer is fully pre-approved of course. You can then market the buyer a number of ways – targeted Facebook ads, mailers, or good old fashioned door knocking can all be effective ways to connect buyers and sellers.
- Check out Zillow’s Make Me Move option. How many sellers might be willing to move if they got their dream price? Some of them have made this dream number public on Zillow – and in the current market, some of those dreams are no longer so far removed from realit. So, if you have a buyer looking in a specific area, check to see if any homeowners in the area have entered a Make Me Move number. You can then approach them and tell them about your buyer or buyers.
- Revisit expireds. Expired listings represent sellers who wanted to sell at one time and they may be willing to consider an offer from the right buyer. If you have such a buyer, scan past expired listings for homes that meet your buyers’ criteria and let them know your buyers might be interested.
A tight inventory market is a great time to get creative on behalf of your buyers. Take a close look at your own network of friends, past clients and data from sites like Zillow and the MLS to show your clients how a great agent can uses every resource to help them find a home.