This is a question that arises from time to time: when homes are scarce, and inventory is critically low, how do real estate agents find inventory to show to home buyers here in Silicon Valley?  Here’s a short list of how it’s done:

  • Show up at office and real estate board meetings and get the word out in person (“pitching” during “wants and needs” sections of the meeting, aka networking in person)
  • Emailing or phoning colleagues at other companies who may know of pocket listings (off MLS listings), another form of networking
  • Researching expired, cancelled or withdrawn listings
  • Looking on various online sites where off MLS listings may be advertised
  • Considering homes on the MLS which are under contract but not yet solid for “backup offers”
  • In some areas, lots of homes are sold “off market” or off the MLS.  In those places, it’s important to reach out to the agents or offices which sell this way.  There’s one off MLS group active in Palo Alto, too, which can be another resource.

Inventory is terribly small right now and we are hoping that the usual trends of rising numbers of homes for sale will kick in next month and that March will have plenty of available housing.  Meanwhile, though, it’s slim pickings and agents and their home buyers need to be a little more creative.