how to buy a house that is not for sale

“Nine out of 10 [homeowners] will say ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Brendon DeSimone, real-estate expert for the website Zillow, and an agent licensed in California and New York.
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“Maybe even once a month, when the market is active,” said Hellman, a real-estate agent with Long and Foster , based in Arlington, Va.
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But in places where the inventory of desirable homes is tight or for highly sought-after properties, it isn’t all that unusual, real-estate agents say.

Joshua Baris, a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker in Northern New Jersey, recently had to knock on an unsuspecting homeowner’s door for his client who wanted a specific three-bedroom luxury condo in West New York, N.J. His bold step resulted in a successful sale.
So when she found what she was looking for, her trusted real estate agent didn’t think twice about knocking on the door and asking the question, "Would you consider selling your home?" To Lichon’s surprise, the homeowners said yes.
"This is happening more often than you might think, especially in the current market, in places where inventories are extremely low," said Keith Sorem, a real estate consultant and associate at Keller Williams Real Estate Services in Los Angeles.
It's the ideal location for us (near a school should we have children, near a church, quiet, etc…). Should we confront the homeowners and ask them if they'd consider selling for $10 000+ more than their value, or should we just wait til it goes up for sale (which will be years).
Money is not a problem (when my grandparents died, they left a large sum to me, and I had it saved in an account, collecting interest, for about 8 years).
The Springs used online county databases to find the owner, tracked her to an assisted living facility and then sent her an eight-page handwritten letter asking to buy her house and selling themselves as the best new owners.
Real estate agents are regularly asked to approach owners of not-for-sale properties, Parente says, but her advice is to reach out to the owner directly.
"One house just got listed a couple of days ago, and … they already have two offers," says the longtime agent for Legacy Real Estate & Associates.
Nationwide, home listings are down 14 percent in 2013, according to real estate website Zillow, and competition is intense for available properties in choice neighborhoods.
Last year, 20 percent of those who sold their homes without using a real estate agent said they did so because a prospective buyer had contacted them, according to a National Association of Realtors survey of 8,500 people.
Real estate listing sites such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com allow prospective buyers to set up alerts on any property address, whether it is listed or not.
"A lot of buyers want to get into this market, but the inventory is just not there," says Christine Parente, a broker and owner of Re/Max Trading Places in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
When a seller knows you can afford her house, she knows that this negotiation is “in good faith,” or, the real deal.
Continue negotiating until you have agreement with the seller on the terms: the price, when the transaction will close, and any seller concessions, such as paying part of the closing cost or including personal property such as patio furniture.
Lock in Your Mortgage Rate: Once you have an agreement, the house is “under contract.” Now you must kick into high gear to get several critical tasks done simultaneously.
Once you’ve settled on a lender and a mortgage, the mortgage is “locked in” for 30 to 60 days — ostensibly enough time to complete the rest of the paperwork and close the sale.
That puts the deal in jeopardy because the lender will not make a loan for a house that is being sold for more than the market value indicated by the appraiser.
Make an Offer: Once you have seen the home firsthand and have a property valuation report, and have lined up an attorney, you are ready to present the seller with an offer.
Hire an Attorney: For a few hundred dollars, a real estate attorney will provide you with all the advice and counsel you’ll need to go from offer to closing.
Your attorney should have the necessary offer forms and you can also visit our Real Estate Forms section for all the state-specific paperwork you’ll need.
Structure your offer based on the market research you have completed and your direct observations of the condition and amenities of the house.
These are factors that the appraiser considers when he visits the house as required by the lender (as outliened in Step 8).
Student loans, car loans, credit card balances, child support and other non-negotiable financial obligations are factors that determine how much mortgage debt your household can shoulder.
Typically, your down payment plus your mortgage equals how much you can spend on a house.
You don’t need a real estate agent to sell a house.
Historically, about 20 percent of annual house sales are direct purchases between the buyer and the owner, though the definition of ‘by owner’ varies.
First, bring your offer to your lender for a firm commitment for the mortgage.
Many people will tell you that every property is for sale if you offer a great price – but that isn’t necessarily true.
For instance, a note which says: ‘We the area and your house – it would be the perfect place to start our family’; will get you further than ‘We want to buy your house if the price is right’, which can sound a little cold and invasive.
The reality is, the owners aren’t selling (officially at least), so to motivate them to part with their property, you’ll likely have to pay a little over the market price to get your house.
Many people will tell you that every property is for sale if you offer a great price – but that isn’t necessarily true.
One of the most surprising things you will find trying to close a real estate deal is price may not be the sticking point – often it’s the timing or conditions for the people involved.
If you want to buy a house which isn’t on the market, you will need the right strategy and a bit of luck as well as the right price.
Much of Paul’s experience came from his media adviser roles in the property investment sector, analysing the dynamics of the residential and commercial markets, the impact of government policy and the views of industry leaders to uncover underlying trends in the market.
And so begins the discussion between the would-be buyer and seller of a home that’s not even on the real estate market.
The buyer and seller will likely have that little voice inside saying, “What would this sell for if it were on the market?” Buyers may wonder if they’re paying too much, while sellers might worry they could get more money on the open market.
Bringing more than a decade of residential real estate experience, DeSimone is a recognized national real estate expert and has appeared on top media outlets including CNBC, Good Morning America, HGTV, FOX News, Bloomberg and FOX Business.
Second, the buyer might want the 6 percent commission deducted from the purchase price, but the seller doesn’t see it that way.
Consumers often call on Brendon for advice and to help them find a real estate agent.
He has collaborated on multiple real estate books and his expert advice is regularly sought out by print, online and television media outlets like FOX News, CNBC and Forbes.
Brendon DeSimone is the author of "Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling," the go-to insider’s guide for navigating and better understanding the complex and ever-evolving world of buying and selling a home.
First, both parties often bring a real estate agent into the transaction at some point.
Just keep it simple: "We are looking to buy in your neighborhood and we really like your home’s location and the house style, if you have considered selling your home please contact us at ____ include an email address since that’s an easy way for them to contact you.
We did this – left a note on the door of a house we admired – saying that we were interested if and when they might sell.
If you have not already sent the letter can I suggest that you explain why you like their particular property in the area and are not interested in moving back to your former home itself.
You’d send a note to the person who lived in a house you wanted, and just wait.
I loved a house in our neighborhood and thought about writing a note to the owners but never did.
We’ve received a couple of letters from real estate agents over the years claiming to have a buyer for our house.
We did this 18 years ago (put letters in mailboxes) and happily the owners of the perfect (at that time) house called.
I also think the more you introduce yourself as a worthy buyer and then obviously address the benefits they will recieve for accepting your offer (without sounding pushy) you’ll be fine.
Are you completely informed and up-to-date on the legal aspects of buying a home? Are you fully confident that the seller will use all of the necessary (and correct) forms? Not only that, are you receiving the proper disclosures? Are you capable of handling the legal contracts? Any errors or omissions in these contracts can result in legal problems and the loss of your earnest money! If you’re not 100% confident, it’s wise to hire a professional real estate agent.
REALTOR®, realtor.com®, the spherical icon of a house within a circular map, the “WHERE HOME HAPPENS” tagline and stylized logo treatments including any one or more of the foregoing are trademarks of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and are used with its permission.
In today’s market, selling a house is harder than buying one, so I wondered if they knew their house was already sold if they’d want to move.
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Nationwide, home listings are down 14 percent in 2013, according to real estate website Zillow Inc, and competition is intense for available properties in choice neighborhoods.
"One house just got listed a couple of days ago, and … they already have two offers," says the longtime agent for Legacy Real Estate & Associates.
A lender might accept a short sale with the property worth less than the balance of the mortgage, if the borrower cannot continue to make the monthly loan payment, does not have enough money to pay back the full balance of loan and needs to move out of the property.
These items provide the lender an idea of the buyer’s capability to purchase the property and the extent of the lender’s loss if it approves the short sale with the buyer’s price offer.
A short sale occurs when a property is sold at a price lower than the amount the homeowner owes on the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage lender(s) agrees to the "short" payoff.
The lender needs to verify that the homeowner cannot continue to pay the mortgage and determine if a short sale is better than foreclosing on the property.
In the case of a short sale, the offer may need to be closer to the market value of the property rather than the list price.
"Approved for short sale" means the bank has already determined that the homeowner qualifies for a short sale and has approved the request to sell the property at a reduced price.
Yes, when a seller is uncooperative and slow to gather/submit the required documentation, this may stall the review process.  This sometimes happens when sellers – who know that a short sale can adversely impact their finances – are reluctant to give up their homes.  They may have very little motivation to cooperate.
Aside from "short sale," some key phrases to look for are "subject to bank approval," "preforeclosure," "third-party review required," and "pre-approved by bank" which may indicate that the property is being sold on a short sale.
If a buyer purchases a short sale property at a price that is lower than what the property is appraised for in today’s market, then the buyer enjoys a discount and picks up some equity.
Plus there is a risk that the homeowner will not qualify for a short sale in which case the property will need to be sold at a higher price.
The seller’s mortgage lender needs to thoroughly review a seller’s short sale request.
Homeowners pursue a short sale when they can no longer pay the mortgage, need to move from the property and want to avoid a foreclosure.
"Third-party review required" means the homeowner has not sought approval yet from his/her lender to do a short sale or approval is pending review of the homeowner’s application.
Making an appropriate and timely offer on an "approved for short sale" listing may be a quicker process because the seller no longer needs to be qualified.
Because of the complex nature of a short sale transaction, it is strongly recommended that buyers work with a real estate professional who has a track record in successful short sales.
If the loan was sold to an investor, such as Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, the investor will have to approve the short sale.  Investors will have their own requirements and review process before they approve a short sale.
Buyers can use an online database, such as a Multiple Listing Service, or consult real estate professionals who have experience in short sale transactions.
Yes, because in a short sale, the mortgage lender will be receiving less than amount the borrower owes on the mortgage.
The letter began, “Have you been thinking about putting your house on the market? Well we would love to buy your home!” Enclosed was a color photo of Dan and Meghan Keith; their daughter, Paige; and Jerry, the family’s pudgy pug.
Meghan Keith adopted a technique — the blind mailing — long favored by real estate brokers but generally not used by buyers.
On a recent afternoon, the Keiths were busy turning their new house into a home — adding a fresh coat of paint and curtains to 20-month-old Paige’s room — and perhaps still coming to terms with the success of their unorthodox real estate plan.
Within weeks, the Jacksons struck a deal to sell the Keiths their four-bedroom Colonial on Ridgeview Road, and made plans to move to that nearby retirement unit, which had become vacant.
Reply’s Web site aims to lure traffic partly by providing data on the housing market, including estimated values for more than 70 million homes, a service already provided by some other sites, including Seattle-based Zillow.com. Reply’s estimates will be based on past sales of a home, the price trend in the area and recent sales of comparable houses.
Glenn Kelman, Redfin’s CEO, said the company will notify homeowners of potential offers with letters and through its Web site, where people can check whether their properties had attracted any interest.
One Internet company that launched a similar service earlier this year is Igglo Oy, a Finnish firm that helps potential condominium buyers signal their interest in particular buildings to condo owners in Finland.
It appears to be unoccupied, and after speaking with our local postman (I currently rent in the same village) it would seem it is indeed empty, although the garden is maintained and the property appears to be in very good condition externally.
A You have nothing to lose but the price of a stamp, so I would advise you go for it and write to the owners asking if they are willing to sell.
It occupies a rather large plot of land, which I want to make clear to them I have absolutely no interest in developing, although they might be considering this as a possibility.
The worst thing that can happen, from your point of view, is that they don’t want to – but at least it will mean you know where you stand and that you need to continue the search for your dream home.
(%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1999 to March 2000 (%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1995 to 1998 (%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1990 to 1994 (%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1980 to 1989 (%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1970 to 1979 (%) Year householder moved into unit – Moved in 1969 or earlier (%) Means of transportation to work – Drove car alone (%) Means of transportation to work – Carpooled (%) Means of transportation to work – Public transportation (%) Means of transportation to work – Bus or trolley bus (%) Means of transportation to work – Streetcar or trolley car (%) Means of transportation to work – Subway or elevated (%) Means of transportation to work – Railroad (%) Means of transportation to work – Ferryboat (%) Means of transportation to work – Taxicab (%) Means of transportation to work – Motorcycle (%) Means of transportation to work – Bicycle (%) Means of transportation to work – Walked (%) 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dependent, and neglected children (%) People in Group quarters – Residential treatment centers for emotionally disturbed children (%) People in Group quarters – Training schools for juvenile delinquents (%) People in Group quarters – Short-term care, detention or diagnostic centers for delinquent children (%) People in Group quarters – Type of juvenile institution unknown (%) People in Group quarters – Noninstitutionalized population (%) People in Group quarters – College dormitories (includes college quarters off campus) (%) People in Group quarters – Military quarters (%) People in Group quarters – On base (%) People in Group quarters – Barracks, unaccompanied personnel housing (UPH), (Enlisted/Officer) (%) People in Group quarters – Transient quarters for temporary residents (%) People in Group quarters – Military ships (%) People in Group quarters – Group homes (%) People in Group quarters – Homes or halfway houses for drug/alcohol abuse (%) People in Group quarters – Homes for the 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Bottled, tank, or LP gas (%) House heating fuel used in houses and condos – Electricity (%) House heating fuel used in houses and condos – Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.
Why not put a polite note through door expressing your interest and asking the owners to all you for a chat.
Yep, my mum sold her house to someone who put a note through, and one of our neighbours where we used to be bought their house by putting a note through.
We’re a journalistic website and aim to provide the best MoneySaving guides, tips, tools and techniques, but can’t guarantee to be perfect, so do note you use the information at your own risk and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.
By driving around the area we want to live in, we’ve found a house we’d like to buy…perfect size, quite run down (we want a project) and nice area…but it’s not for sale.
I’ve moved on a bit now! Downloaded the title register and learnt the owner is the immediate neighbour who has a pending planning application for an extension on the opposite side to "our" house.
The house looks empty..all curtains drawn except 1 room which looks empty, driveway over grown and full of weeds, no car/signs of life.
Explain that you’ve been looking around the area and you really like the look of their particular house.
By looking at nethouseprices.com we’ve found out the house was sold a couple of years ago although it’s quite obvious that, at least on the outside, nothing has changed since then.
Well, even tho there is no "for Sale" sign on the front lawn it doesn’t mean that the owners are unwilling to sell tomorrow or in the near future.
How many times do you drive by "that house" on your way to work? You know what I mean….its the place that you say out loud everytime you pass it; "I love that house".
By expressing your interest, you are "top of mind" when/if the owner does decide to sell.
There’s nothing stopping you from offering, but you should be aware that many, many homeowners don’t really think of their houses as investments to be bought and sold, but as places to live, and would want a lot of money to sell it, irrespective of it’s market value; my favorite shirt’s "market value" is about $0.25, but I wouldn’t sell it for twenty times that amount.
If the situation were reversed and someone banged on my door with "I love your house; is it for sale?" I would tell them no, but take their contact information in case I decided to sell.
Nothing prevents you from ringing the doorbell and making an offer but 25% over market is not a particularly compelling profit margin for a homeowner not interested in selling, especially given the costs and hassles involved in to relocating.
Sleazy real estate speculators literally walked up and down the street, knocking on everyone’s door and telling them the Blacks were coming, but if the owner sold RIGHT NOW, they would pay above (what would surely soon collapse) market value.
As a homeowner who is already looking at new properties, but my house is not on the market yet, I would be your ideal candidate and would bite your hand off for 25% over market value.
The neighbor replied with, "Yes! We’re going to sell this house.

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