'House Stalkers' Go After Off-Market Homes

April 11, 2013

Some home buyers aren’t willing to wait for the for-sale sign to appear in front of the house they want. They’re knocking on doors of properties they want to own and even leaving letters in home owners’ mailboxes to ask the owners to consider selling their home to them, Reuters reports. Real estate professionals say their clients are asking them more frequently to approach the owners of homes that aren’t for sale to see if they’d consider selling their houses. 

"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, N.J.

In a recent article, Reuters labels this practice “house stalking,” and says it is becoming more commonplace. 

For example, one couple in Richmond, Va., used online county databases to find the contact information of the owner of a home they’d been admiring for years, but it was not for sale. They found out the owner was living in an assisted-living facility and sent her an eight-page, heartfelt handwritten letter asking if they could purchase her home. She initially wasn’t willing to sell, but they were able to arrange a rent-to-own deal. In January, they were able to eventually purchase the home. 

Source: “House Stalkers Finding Ways to Buy Homes That Aren’t for Sale,” Reuters (April 10, 2013)

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