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Finding the perfect house when inventory is low

Finding the perfect house when inventory is low

So you have your house on the market and you get an offer. This is great news, except for now you need to figure out where you’re going to live next. This is an exciting process, but in an environment where there is limited inventory it can also be quite frustrating. How do we find that next house?

1) Be ready to make a quick decision. Think through as much as possible what exactly you are looking for in a home. Look through homes and make sure that your desires are in line with your price range. When the market has a lot of speed you don’t have the luxury of thinking on it sometimes, or bringing friends and family through for a second look, you need to make a quick decision. The clearer that you are on what you want, the easier it will be to say “This is the one!”

2) Looking online first is the path of least resistance. People who have their home listed with an agent are actively looking to sell their home. In the Grand Rapids area the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) can be found on or you can search on my website at These are the homes that are being actively marketed, and as such everyone knows about them. They are the easiest to find and will also potentially have the most competition.

3) Ask your agent to search expired listings. I have searched through listings that expired 1-2 years ago and then cross referenced to make sure that they have not sold since then. These are people that we know had a desire at one point and gave up. However,the market was weaker then so it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the house. They may not be aware that the market is better now so we contact them and see if they have the desire to sell.

4) The following technique works the best if you have a really clear idea of what house you want and what neighborhood you would like it in. Maybe you have made an offer and it didn’t get accepted but you still really like that neighborhood. Identify comparably sized houses and write them a letter. They may have been considering selling their home but just waiting for the right time. Proactively look for homes that fit your needs and then ask them if they are interested in selling. Not everyone will be, but maybe one will and that’s all you need.

5) Get the word out. Let your friends and family know what you’re looking for and put them to work! Sometimes they have friends or coworkers that have mentioned that they are thinking about selling their home. Your agent should be asking around other agents that they know if there are “pocket” listings that they know of. Networking can be a great source of information!

To summarize this all, the main thing is to be patient. The right house is out there! Be prepared, be patient and then be decisive and you’ll be enjoying your new home before you know it!

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