Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Sam Island for Money

No homes for sale in your area? Then just pick out a property and call up the owner. You could also check obituaries, dive into local property records or head to social media for potential homes to buy. At least that’s what many real estate pros are doing.

“Creativity is key in this type of market,” says Adrienne Allen, head of real estate at homebuying platform Homie. “Go all out and never underestimate the power of something simple like a greeting card.”

Allen says her personalized greeting cards have been a successful way of reaching homeowners and convincing them to sell in today’s inventory-strapped market, which has just a 3.6-month supply of properties as of September. It’s the third-lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking in 1963.

“With such little inventory, more and more people are looking to find homes that are not actively on the market,” Allen says.

Ryan Waller, a real estate agent with Home Group Realty in Ontario, Canada (where homes are in even shorter supply) is currently using a similar, off-market strategy with one of his clients. He even had the buyers walk around their chosen neighborhood and hand-pick which houses to get in touch with.

“We drafted a nice letter to each of them — personalized to the house, and dropped them in their mailboxes,” Waller says. “The letter gives a short summary of the buyer and has a family picture.”

Though Waller’s and Allen’s techniques have both worked, they’re not the only option for desperate buyers. Are you on the hunt for a home in today’s low-supply market? Here are seven outside-the-box methods you might want to try.

1. Advertise on radio and local media.

Sending cards and letters aren’t the only ways to get homeowners interested in selling their properties. According to Waller, local advertising can help with these efforts, too.