Buying a home is a lot like running a race: Once a listing goes live, buyers have to sprint off the starting block before throngs of other buyers start bidding. Talk about stressful!
What if there were a way to buy a house before it’s officially on the market?
Well, there is—and it can help you snag your dream house long before your competition even knows it exists.
Use current listings as a springboard for up-and-comers
Current listings may be out of the bag, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to find listings that may be waiting in the wings.
“Go to open houses in the area where you are looking, and chat up the neighbors if you see them,” says Bond. “Ask the real estate agent and neighbors about the neighborhood, and try to work in a question about if they know of other homes becoming available.”
Hone in on homeowners undergoing life changes
One great place to seek out budding home sales in a neighborhood is to infiltrate their local parenting groups. After all, parents are all in “transitional periods—with newborns, babies on the way, or young children heading off to school,” says Davis. “Thus the likelihood of these families looking to move is very high.”
Additionally, paying attention to the “life events” of people in these areas via local papers or other outlets can also provide solid leads. Check local announcements on births, weddings, and yes, even the obituaries (a bit morbid, but many of these homes will be market-bound in the near future).
Hit up HOA boards
If there’s a certain building or community you’re interested in, contact its HOA or condo board and inquire if anyone has heard rumblings of any places that might soon be up for sale.
“I’m frequently inundated by requests to see my listings before they launch, by people who’ve heard about it from the head of the board or someone in the building,” says Brian Letendre, a broker at Bohemia Realty Group.