Inman asked real estate professionals what creative strategies they are using to maneuver through the inventory crisis.

It’s no easy task finding new leads in today’s market.

In April, CBNC reported that there were about twice as many agents as there were available listings.

“Frankly, this is not the time for amateurs,” Dana Bull, a real estate agent from Boston, was quoted in the report. “This is the big leagues here.”

With an end to the strain on inventory unlikely in the near future, agents need to focus on working with what already exists.

In late June and early July, Inman asked real estate professionals what creative strategies they are using to maneuver through the housing shortage, below are the top four.

Obituaries and divorces

While the industry is in the midst of a technological revolution, sometimes the best strategies are the oldest. 

Despite the state of a housing market, there are always going to be owners who need to sell because of life events such as divorce or a death in the family.

How can agents suss those people out?

Chris McGuire, founder of Real Estate Exam Ninja, suggests looking through local newspapers. 

Chris McGuire.

“Looking out for obituaries, divorces, and foreclosed properties in newspapers can be a great way to find leads as you can dig out details from the announcements and work out from there,” he wrote to Inman.

For those willing to use the internet, award-winning digital marketing expert Tyler Zey says Facebook Ads are a great way to generate divorce-seller leads. 

“The real estate reality is that 61% of divorcing couples sell their home to part ways, and you need effective real estate divorce ads to attract those sellers,” he wrote in a blog post on Easy Agent Pro. “Let’s get one thing straight: This post isn’t about preying on others’ misfortune. Helping a divorcing couple sell their home quickly and easily is an important, valuable, and necessary service.”

To start the Facebook Ad, hit the tab “Ads” on the left side of the screen on the home page. Facebook will then give the option to target a specific audience. This is where agents can get specific with key words like “divorced homeowners” or “separated homeowners.”

When it comes to the content of the Facebook Ad, Zey advises not to be aggressive about the home sale. It’s important to be emphatic, he wrote. 

His example of good copy: “Getting a divorce is hard … Selling your home shouldn’t be. Get the answers you need to make your home sale EASY in this difficult time.”

Tyler Zey.

The post should include a link to an article that offers advice on how to sell a home during a divorce and a landing page with a video that introduces the agent. 

“You MUST go the extra mile to build trust with these folks. The best way to do that online is with video. Yes, it takes more work to write some extra copy on a landing page. And it’s a lot more work to plan and shoot a video and upload it to YouTube,” Zey wrote. “But there’s really no alternative. Chances are LOW that this target market will give their info to a complete stranger on a plain-jane landing page, totally blind. Do more to offer real value to these folks or find another niche to target.”

Talk to homebuilders and investors

It’s more important than ever to stay ahead of the competition. 

One way to do that is by talking to homebuilders about the the projects they are working on. 

“Building inventory with homebuilders helps. Homebuilders are a hidden source of property listings because they rarely advertise on MLS. I was well aware of this and have been searching for development projects to connect with builders and find a match for my needs. There’s less competition and you can surely get your hands on something if you search properly,”Martin Orefice, real estate agent and founder of Rent To Own Labs, wrote to Inman.

Martin Orefice.

In addition to new builds, talking to builders about homes they are renovating can result in quick leads.

“Property builders usually have valuable leads way before the owner sets out their home for a listing. You may want to ask home builders if they have been working on renovations or new properties that owners are keen on listing someday. You can go by the area to check it out and hopefully get in touch with the owner way before others,” McGuire wrote to Inman.

Sourcing out rundown homes can also be useful. 

“While most people look for expired and withdrawn listings in MLS, I search for the old wrecked houses that were sold within the last two years. This type of house is generally bought by investors instead of regular homebuyers. So all you have to do is reach out to them and say it’s the right time to flip!” Mitchell G. David, a Realtor in Maryland and founder of the blog Beach Life Ocean City, wrote to Inman. 

One way to find these properties is by driving for dollars, a phrase used to describe the act of walking or driving in an area to find leads. 

Offer a rent-back agreement

If an owner is selling their home, odds are, they need to buy a new one. But in this deep seller’s market, it can be awhile before they find one.

That predicament is one reason potential sellers are hanging out on the sidelines. 

If an agent is representing a buyer, offering a rent-back agreement could be get them the deal.

A rent-back agreement allows the seller to remain in the home for a certain amount of time while paying rent to the new owners. 

Dave Nations.

“This allows the seller to buy without being contingent on the sale of their home and allows them to not move twice. This is a creative way to get a seller to sell if they are concerned about being homeless,” Dave Nations, founder of the Nations Network Team with Keller Williams, told Inman in an email. 

Sarah Renard, a broker in Oregon, recently won a 20-offer bidding war for her client and told Inman that while having the highest bid is undoubtedly one of the most important factors, it’s not always the only one taken into consideration.

Agents should ask the seller’s agent what terms are most important to their client, she explained.

“They might come back and tell you price is the most important,” she said.

But they may also ask for something specific, she continued, like a rent-back agreement. Even if a bid is the second or the third highest, if no one else is willing to offer that agreement, it will likely win.  

Browse websites with FSBO listings

It’s important to speak to what sellers are thinking, Veronica Figueroa of the Figueroa team in Orlando, Florida, explained during an Inman Connect session last month titled, “How is the inventory crisis going to end?

One way her team is doing this is by offering for-sale-by-owner assistance.

Veronica Figueroa | Photo credit: eXp Realty

While the seller may initially think they can do it on their own, Figueroa said it’s important for agents to assert their knowledge and explain how a trusted real estate professional can help navigate them through the process. 

But where are these sellers marketing their properties?

Agents told Inman they browse the following websites for FSBO listings:,,,, and

Email Libertina Brandt

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