Ways to Handle the Shortage of Existing Homes for Sale


A new normal transformed how real estate agents handled people who wanted to sell or buy a house. From virtual tours to wearing masks during scheduled showings, change is inevitable to remain profitable. The pandemic also led to a shortage of existing homes for sale, often leading to competitive bidding. Discover ways to handle a lack of inventory that create opportunities today and tomorrow.

Inquire About For Sale By Owner Properties

After a pandemic, people are hesitant about showing and viewing properties for sale. Many sellers try to save on paying a commission fee to an agent attempting to sell property independently. With updated protocols in place, the process is increasingly frustrating for people outside the real estate industry. 

Look for viable properties listed in for sale by owner publications and local classified ads and online classifieds. Contact the owners of the properties to discuss proper showing strategies and other concerns post-quarantine. Becoming a valued resource is the first step to landing the listing – and getting an opportunity to show the house to clients who are ready to buy.

Search for Withdrawn and Expired Listings

Expired listings would be a rarity during a housing shortage unless the property were overpriced. Bidding wars over existing properties drive housing prices up, but there are still sellers that overprice their homes. Contact the owners of expired listings to discuss home values and offer a free appraisal of the house. Use facts and local statistics to support the estimated value as well as convince the seller to relist.

Withdrawn listings could indicate sellers who are frustrated with a new normal and unsure about selling during the pandemic. Connect with hesitant sellers by offering essential industry updates and tips for selling a house that won’t disrupt the owners. Knowing an agent will handle aspects such as providing masks to prospective buyers helps alleviate the aggravation for homeowners. As they recognize how easy it can be, the owners are most likely to relist.

Chat With Existing Homeowners

Savvy real estate agents keep a finger on the pulse of local happenings, such as divorces and deaths. An empty nest could be the next opportunity to list a home. Some of these homeowners may not know how to list the property and have questions about its value.

Offer a list of comparable recent sales in the area to show how much the house could be worth and an appraisal of the property. When the owner realizes its value, the property could become the next new listing.

Connect With Builders and Architects

When a shortage of existing homes occurs, builders recognize an opportunity to create new ones. Connect with local building companies, contractors, and architects to find out the latest homes to hit the market. 

Develop a list of qualified buyers who are ready to purchase homes. Talk to these buyers to develop a list of the features they want in a house. Then work with contractors and architects to find new properties that suit these criteria. Agents who make these connections develop profitable relationships with contractors and get more referrals from satisfied buyers.

Industry Networking Matters

Networking with other agents and real estate professionals is a crucial aspect of staying active after the quarantine. Real estate agents often know about privately listed properties that are not marketed on MLS. The owners may want minimal traffic during the pandemic or have luxury properties being shown to an exclusively qualified group of buyers.

Either way, these are listings agents may not find unless they are networking with other industry professionals. Attend virtual seminars and join community forums online to stay in touch with other agents. Sharing a commission is always better than missing out on one.

Transform Landlords Into Sellers

With the lift on rent that occurred during the pandemic, many landlords find themselves financially frustrated. Being owed rent and standards for a new normal are causing landlords to want to sell their homes. With multi-family home sales on the rise, agents can use facts to transform landlords into sellers.

Buyers who have lost their jobs are pooling their resources and taking out mortgages with multiple family members. As this type of home-sharing continues, landlords can sell properties to qualified buyers and reduce the liabilities associated with renting. Agents can also help these landlords find more suitable properties based on their financial goals.

Work With Local Lenders

Unemployment, illness, and other factors have left people financially strained after the pandemic. Many are trying to rebuild their careers and lives. With that in mind, lenders are cautious about granting mortgages to buyers in transition. Work with local lenders who understand the current market conditions and know how to help buyers get a mortgage loan.

Buyers will appreciate having options and being pre-approved before viewing homes for sale. Plus, sellers will need to show the house less often when an agent has a list of qualified buyers. Satisfied sellers will tell others, helping an agent get more referrals and listings during the housing shortage.

Maximize the Potential of Each Listing

While there might be more buyers than sellers, it is still crucial for agents to maximize each new listing’s potential. Use video tours, professional photographs, aerial photos, and robust descriptions with relevant keywords to draw more attention to the listings. Better Homes and Gardens® affiliated real estate agents have access to an impressive library of images to enhance their listings.

The goal during the new normal is to attract qualified buyers who are specifically interested in the features of the property. Fewer showings make sellers feel more comfortable about listing their homes during the pandemic. 

A shortage of existing homes for sale means agents need to be more resourceful about finding new listings. The goal is to meet or exceed the expectations of each client looking to buy a house. With knowledge of the current market and global conditions in mind, an agent can harness these challenging times to become more profitable than ever.

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