Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

5 Unconventional Approaches To Finding a Home

Written by Than Merrill

While the housing sector continues to rebound at a slow pace, prospective buyers have been faced with uncertainty on a national level. A myriad of market conditions have made it increasingly difficult for many buyers to acquire a home that suits their needs. Despite relatively low mortgage rates and increasing inventory levels, buyers are having a hard time finding the house of their dreams. As a result, buyers and real estate agents must find creative ways to navigate through the obstacles that accompany the home buying process.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), while September was the beneficiary of increased inventory levels, the supply of non-distressed properties remains insufficient for the market as a whole. This is following five consecutive months of increasing inventory levels.

Danny Hertzberg, a Realtor associated with The Jills Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Miami Beach, says that “when inventory is low, buyers need to establish their priorities in terms of price and the type of home and neighborhood they’re searching for. If low inventory makes your search a challenge, you need to be willing to think outside the box.”

The following list represents five unconventional approaches prospective buyers can take if they are having trouble finding a house through traditional means:

Sign Up For A Notification System

Many brokers and real estate companies offer unique services that make the searching process much easier. We advise prospective buyers to seek the assistance of a company that offers the services of a notification system. That is to say, sign up to be notified when a house that meets your criteria is on the market. You will be notified whenever a house that meets your requirements becomes available. This prevents you from wasting time on houses that are otherwise not acceptable.

“We always set up our buyers with daily automatic emails and text alerts with new listings based on their criteria from the past 24 hours,” says Russ Murray, broker/owner of Buyer’s Resource Real Estate in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
“When the market is highly competitive, I’m proactively searching for new listings multiple times a day. We’re in the process of transitioning to a system that can give us and our clients immediate alerts when a property is listed.”

Contact Those Who Bought During The Downturn

While the unconventional label fails to do this technique justice, it can be very beneficial to those who follow through with it. Accordingly, we recommend contacting those buyers who were fortunate to purchase a property while prices were in the basement in 2008 and 2009.

If you are able to convey current market conditions, they may realize that selling is in their best interest. Their home will likely be seen as an investment that can pay huge dividends, as it is worth more now than it was at the time of their purchase. What was once not an option becomes a very attractive scenario for both parties involved.

Don’t Prioritize Single-Family Homes

Single-family homes are often the most sought after property types. However, their position as a commodity makes them increasingly difficult to acquire. As they are the preferred property type for families, there is much more competition. Real estate agents, therefore, want prospective owners to be aware of other options made available to them.

While desirable, sing-family homes are just one of the many types of properties you can buy. Consider the possibility of buying another type of home. This could include a townhouse or even a home that requires a lot of work. Just know that there are other options.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Listings

The following websites offer the ability to find homes that are for sale by their owner:


While these are the most popular FSBO sites, there are many more that permit you the ability to find homes that are for sale by the owner. These owners, for one reason or another, neglected to have their home sold with the help of a realtor or similar professional. With that being said, they are not listed in the same places as a typical property. These sites may award you the opportunity to search through houses that meet your particular criteria, but are not listed on the MLS.

Target Rentals

While searching for a property to buy, it is easy to overlook rental properties. Remember, landlords are equally invested in the real estate industry. If selling benefits them, they will likely take any offers into consideration. With that being said, make a consorted effort to contact landlords to see if they are even interested in selling. You might be surprised at the amount of positive responses you get.