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According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nationwide inventory is down 10.4 percent from one year ago, putting us at a 2.2-month supply. Depending on where you live, inventory may be even tighter. To put that in perspective, the market balances or neutralizes (is neither a buyer’s or seller’s market) at 6-7 months.
If it feels like there are no options for your buyers out there, this is why. So what do you do then, if you have an eager buyer without anything to buy? And how do you motivate a seller to get off the sidelines? Here are five ways to create more inventory.
For sellers, use leasebacks to your advantage. A seller often wants to sell, but is nervous about finding their next home. Explain how to use a leaseback to close on their existing home, lease back from buyers and then buy their new home with proceeds in hand.
This way, sellers have the time and resources they need to shop. This always works best in a seller’s market when buyers may have to be more flexible with contract terms.
Help your buyers create a broader vision of perfection. For example, could a two-bedroom plus den work for their needs? Or maybe a different location that they had not yet considered? Something like a two-bedroom plus den may cost significantly less, so funds can be reallocated toward a remodel or addition.
Have your buyers meet with a creative mortgage lender that can help brainstorm ways to cut their monthly payments such as buying down a rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage. Armed with more financial flexibility, a buyer’s potential pool of homes may change and increase in size.
Old fashioned networking
Pick up the phone and call other brokers. Often, a broker works with a seller who wants to sell but is looking for a specific home. Understand the seller’s needs and wants and see if you can help make something work.
Canceled and expired listings: Look through old withdrawn and expired listings to see if anything may work for your buyer. Always check to see if the past seller is relisted by a broker; if not, give them a call.
As real estate brokers, our job is to help buyers and sellers realize their ultimate real estate goals, which sometimes means thinking outside the box.
Julie Busby is the founder and president of Busby Group, and in the top 1 percent of Chicagoland brokers. Follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.