“I Would List My Home, But I Can’t Find A Home To Buy!”

Ever heard this: “I Would List My Home, But I Can’t Find A Home To Buy!”

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With record-low inventory nationwide, Realtors seem to be hearing the same thing day in and day out: “I’d move, but where would I go?”  For most agents, that’s the end of the conversation, simultaneously ending the possibility of taking a new listing as well as facilitating that buyer side.   After all, nationwide, inventory is at all-time lows (according to Altos Research this week) at just 414,278 active listings.  We are still at least a million listings shy of being a balanced market.

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Don’t just answer with “Yeah, there’s really nothing on the market, I mean everything in the MLS is already pending.  I’ll put you into my search widget and we’ll watch for something to pop up together.”   While that’s one method of finding something for your would-be sellers to buy, you can’t end the conversation there and expect to do any business this year!

Market forces are working against you.  Rates are higher now, and inventory is scarce.  Add some inflation, the specter of a possible recession, and overall uncertainty and you now have a transitioning market.  

You have a choice to make.  You can either wait for the market to bounce back or you can create your own opportunities by being more proactive.  We prescribe to the mantra, ‘hope for the best but plan for the worst!’  Assume you’re not going to wake up to 3.5% interest rates and double the inventory. 

Back to our conversation with that would-be seller client who won’t list with you because they don’t want to become homeless.  Here are 5 solutions that go beyond waiting and watching for magic inventory to arise.  


  1. Consider building a home instead of chasing after the scarce resale inventory.  There are several advantages to this option.  First, many builders are buying down interest rates using their in-house financing.  The buyer can lock in a better rate this way.  Next, the house is new.  No rehab for them and no inspection woes for you.  Your client can get their home on the market a couple of months prior to completion and not have to move twice.  Finally, when your client builds, they aren’t having to compete in a bidding war.  Builders with in-house financing also have superior mortgage interest rates!
  2. Consider buying first, closing, and then listing the previous home.  Don’t assume your buyer/seller prospects won’t or can’t utilize this option.  They may have a downpayment saved that isn’t their home equity.  They might use a bridge loan to borrow their equity, close on the next home, and then sell the old one.  You don’t know if you don’t ask.  The advantage is that your client can make a non-contingent offer, secure their next home, and deal with their old house later. Make sure you know lenders who offer bridge loans and you understand how to explain this option.REAL ESTATE LEADS, LEADS and more LEADS: Question: What is Tim and Julie Harris’s favorite PROBATE LEAD PROVIDER? Simple, https://alltheleads.com/harris
  3. Consider selling first, renting for a while, and taking the time to look for the right home.  The advantage here is the seller has cashed out their equity and is ready to pounce on the right home, but without the pressure of organizing closing and possession dates.  Who are your go-to leasing agents?  Consider both traditional rentals, short-term vacation rentals that may consider a lease, as well as apartment complexes.  Many have some great amenities that could work for a short to longer-term lease while you help your client find the right home to buy.
  4. Consider getting the seller’s home on the market now, but make the acceptance of an offer, ‘Contingent on Seller finding suitable housing’.  The buyer will probably want a specific time frame, but you can usually get 90 to 120 days to secure the next home.  Many buyers in today’s market are just anxious to find the right home and will be flexible with the seller’s situation. It’s still a seller’s market.  The advantage to your client is they won’t have to move twice and you’ve negotiated for them enough time to look for the next place.  A seller lease-back to the buyer (new owner) is another way to handle this.  
  5. Consider keeping the old house, turning it into a rental for now, and proceed to find and purchase the next home.  You can handle the lease yourself or refer it to your favorite leasing agent.  The home stays an asset for your client and they can keep their low-interest rate mortgage.  Don’t assume that this isn’t an option. You have to ask! Remember that Americans currently have record-high credit scores.  They may be more comfortable taking this option than you think.  In some markets, keeping the home and turning it into a short-term rental can be very profitable.  It might be the best option for your client.

What’s the bottom line? You can’t just wait around for listings to appear for your seller prospects who have to buy!  Be proactive with different solutions that could work for them.  You’ll have more transactions and they’ll value your expertise, netting you both current business as well as future repeat and referrals.  

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