With record-low inventory nationwide, real estate agents seem to be hearing the same thing day in and day out: “I’d list my home, but where would I move?” For most agents, that’s the end of the conversation, ending the possibility of taking a new listing as well as facilitating the buyer side. Nationwide, inventory is at all-time lows. According to Altos Research, this week there are only 465,000 active listings. We are still at least a million listings shy of being a balanced market, so this excuse is not going to subside anytime soon.

Stop answering clients’ concerns by saying, “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 a home for your would-be sellers to buy, you can’t end the conversation there and expect to do any business this year. The key is to set up the ‘drip system,’ then move the conversation forward by being a problem solver. How does someone list and buy at the same time successfully in a market like this?

Here are 10 solutions for sellers who what to buy that go beyond waiting and watching for magic inventory to appear.

Build a home instead of chasing after the scarce resale inventory

30% of available homes are new construction, so there are several advantages to this option. First, many builders are buying down interest rates using their in-house financing. Builders are closing loans in the 4.5 to 5.5% range currently! 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 few months before construction is complete and not have to move twice. Finally, when your client builds, they don’t have to compete in a bidding war.  

Buy first, close and then list the previous home

Don’t assume your clients 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 here 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 understand how to explain this option.

Sell first, rent for a while and take 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 scheduling closing and possession dates. Who are your go-to leasing agents? Maybe you are a leasing agent. Consider both traditional rentals, short-term vacation rentals, as well as apartment complexes. Many have some great amenities which could work for a short to longer-term lease while you help your client find the right home to buy.

Offer acceptance 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 simply anxious to find the right home, so they 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 built in enough time to look for the next place.

Convert the previous home into a rental

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. You can always run the numbers and see if it makes sense, at least in the short term.

Leasing back the home

In this scenario, the buyer is happy because they secured the house, and your seller is happy because they have both time and money coming in to facilitate their move to the next place. Once the home has been purchased by the new owners, your clients would essentially pay rent to stay while they house hunt. 

Buying an RV, a houseboat or a sailboat

There are endless examples of sellers who cashed out their homes, bought a recreational home and traveled for a while. You might be surprised that it’s not just baby boomers or retirees who are doing this! Another version of this option involves sellers cashing out and renting a series of short-term rentals in different areas of the country or the world, trying out new possibilities before they decide where to land.

Find your would-be seller an off-market home to purchase where that seller has flexibility

In this scenario, you are in complete control of both sides of the transaction, and you may pick up yet another client when the off-market seller also needs to buy. Refer to our podcast series and HousingWire articles about how to find inventory that’s not in the MLS.

Moving into an assisted living care facility

Many of the homes that are coming onto the market right now are in 55 and over communities. There is also inventory from families downsizing, new empty-nesters moving and the like. Are you prospecting in those neighborhoods?

Moving in with relatives

Whether that’s moving in with parents, kids or cousins somewhere else, it can be a short-term solution for sellers who don’t have another property in mind yet. 

Bottom line? You can’t just wait around for listings to appear for your sellers! Stop relying on your ‘drip system.’ 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.

Tim and Julie Harris host the nation’s #1 podcast for real estate professionals. https://
 has new podcasts every day. Tim and Julie have been real estate coaches for more than two decades, coaching the top agents in the country through different types of markets. https://PremierCoaching.com to get started for FREE today.

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