How people are buying unlisted dream homes

(WFLX) - Ever drive past your dream house and wonder if it'll ever go on sale? Well, what if you could have it right now?

All across America, realtors are knocking on doors and making cold calls to put their customers into houses that aren't even on the market.

For example, Jason Abrahamson had been searching for a home for three frustrating months. "I looked at easily 30 properties and with different realtors, different companies," he said.

Then, he found his dream home. Only problem? It wasn't for sale. His realtor changed that with a knock on the door. "I was very excited to find out that the seller was willing to sell the unit after putting in the offer," said Abrahamson.

Realtor Joe Grunnett says the combinaton of low inventory, high rents and low interest rates - as well as a lack of development in the last four years - is forcing realtors and buyers to get creative. "Door knocking, making cold calls, sending out direct mail, sending personal letters to sellers saying 'Are you open to selling if I have the right buyer?''" said Grunnett.

Home owners are responding.

Cindy Holby was happy in her home and wasn't even thinking about selling it, that is until her neighbor made her an offer she couldn't refuse.

It made her happy she didn't have to deal with the drama of putting it on the market. "Having to keep your house clean and having to vacate it when someone wants to see it - just living under that pressure - it's not fun," said Holby.

Brendon Desimone is a national real estate expert and columnist for He says while buyers may end up paying a bit of a premium to convince the owner to sell, they won't end up stuck in a bidding war. "They can actually get in under the radar of all the other buyers and scoop up a home without having to go through the competitive bidding process," said Desimone.

But he warns, before you let a realtor through your front door, make sure he's legitimate and has an actual interested buyer. "Agents are out there, desperate for real estate listings, and they will just send out blind letters to a whole bunch of people trying to get someone who might be interested to actually give them the listing," said Desimone.

Holby says she never would have made the move if she hadn't been asked.

She suggests you ask questions and make sure the buyer is qualified before taking the next steps. A simple bank letter can do that. "Just keep your options open and see what they have to say. I mean, you can always say no," said Holby.

As for Jason, he is glad his home's former owners said yes. "I was very excited -- pretty much no strings attached. It was great."

Buying off market can also save on realtor fees if you approach the owner on your own and try to get them to sell. However, you may have to bring in a real estate attorney to draft the necessary documents.

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