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Let the Housestalking Begin

Mar 17, 2016 04:32AM ● Published by Family Features

Homeowners and buyers have been on a huge roller coaster ride over the past decade. The market went downhill quick, hit bottom and is now roaring back up again. But that's not good news for everyone. The sharp upturn in the market has left many homebuyers with money to spend but no houses to buy.

Television comedies set in tight housing markets, like New York City, often show renters wandering the street looking for moving vans hauling furniture out of apartments. Others sit at home, scanning the obituaries for apartments that have suddenly become available.

Real life homebuyers may not be ready to go to those extremes. But after making multiple offers or participating in bidding wars and still having no home to show for it, many are ready to participate in the newest real estate trend - housestalking. Here are a few tricks to make it work for you:

Knock on Doors

If you have your eye on a certain house, write a letter to the homeowner expressing your interest in the property. Even if they aren't willing to sell, they might know someone in the neighborhood who is about to put a similar house on the market.

Check Rental Listings

People rent for two reasons: They either want to make money or just couldn't sell their home when they needed to move. When the owner of a great home is between renters, it might just be the best time to swoop in with an offer they can't refuse. Many rental owners own several properties. So, it's also worth asking if they have anything else in their inventory.

Tap Into Your Social Network

Singles may just know the best secret for finding your perfect home match - ask your friends and family to set you up. Put the word out on social networking sites and at every gathering you attend that you're looking for new digs. You may just know someone who knows someone with the perfect house to sell.

Look for Hidden Gems

Not so long ago, great houses sat empty for months on end because nobody was buying real estate. Many homeowners eventually gave up and let their listing expire or simply withdrew their properties from the multi-listing service. Comb through those expired or withdrawn listings and, if you find something you like, write a letter to the homeowner. It's possible the right offer might just motivate them to move.

Be Willing to Settle

The worst house in the neighborhood is often the best investment. Be willing to invest a little time, money and elbow grease into a less-than-perfect property. Remodeling is a way to get exactly what you want in the exact part of town you want to be in.

Make Them Move

Check to see if your favorite real estate website has any "make me move" listings. Lots of homeowners post pictures of their houses with no plan to put it on the market. They just list their dream price in hopes someone is willing to pay it. If your dream home is worth their dream price, your housestalking days may just be over.

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