As the real estate market recovers, some areas are experiencing a shortage of inventory. This is making it a challenge for some homebuyers to find their dream home.
According to the report on CNN.com the number of available properties in the most active housing markets has fallen dramatically during the past 12 months. Figures from the National Association of Realtors show that inventory levels in Boston for example are down 29% compared to 12 months ago while inventory levels in other popular areas such as Seattle, San Francisco and Denver are also down significantly. The article goes on to point out that anyone looking for a new home in a popular location may have to employ different tactics that go well beyond merely being prequalified for a mortgage.
One such way is to look for something called pocket listings which are homes for sale that aren't on the multiple listing service. Not all homeowners want their property on MLS as some wish to keep the sale details private, while others simply don't want to have to deal with the process of getting the home ready for sale. Apparently the best way to find such listings is to search for a broker with good connections and who may be aware of such homes for sale. Real estate experts also point out that agents often have a home on their books for a day or so before it is entered into the MLS, and it might be possible to get hold of details before the information is posted online.
Buyers searching for homes in hot property markets also need to be prepared to see through poor photographs or unflattering paint colors to see the properties real potential. Not all sellers are prepared to go through a staging process to get the home ready for sale, making it easy to miss a property that might be perfect with just a few minor modifications. Another strategy outlined in this article is to search for homes that are priced little more than you'd like to spend as some may eventually go for a lower price if they have been on the market for a while. If a property has been up for sale for several months the owner may be prepared to negotiate on the price. Yet another option worth considering is to ask your real estate agent about any expired listings, as sometimes the owners may still be prepared to sell, especially as property prices have recently begun to go up.