Even in a slow real estate market, it can be hard to find a real bargain. People who may have considered selling when the market was humming along have decided to stay put until things improve.

But that doesn’t mean the great deals aren’t out there. There are even many established companies which buy houses and make sure that the owners get the right price based on its evaluation, thus making the whole process of selling the house much simpler.

You just have to be a little more creative and do some sleuthing to find them. Here are eight ways to ferret out a great deal on a house:

If you want to learn more about the process of buying a house: Check out our guide How To Buy A House (What Your Agent Should Be Telling You)

1. Look at MLS reports to find out how long a property has been listed.

Keep in mind, however, that the house may have been re-listed after the original MLS contract expired. That means that a house might have been on the market longer than what the MLS listing indicates.

Look for a number for “CDOM” (continuous days on market), or “PMP” (property marketing period). These tell you how many days have passed since the property was listed. In many cases, the longer a house has been on the market, the lower the price the seller will accept.

picture of a cheap house price reduction sign

2. Ask around.

If you’re walking or driving through a neighborhood you like and see someone out in their yard, why not ask them if they know of any neighbors looking to sell? If someone is getting their house ready to list, you may be able to work out a deal directly with the seller without having to factor in buyer or seller agent commissions.

If you see a retired person working on their garden in a neighborhood you like, it’s a good bet they know their neighbors and what goes on in their block. They can be very good sources of information.

3. Knock.

This takes a bit of nerve, and you don’t want to do this when you’re by yourself, but if you see a house that looks like it needs a little love, you can always knock on the door and ask if they might be interested in selling.

The odds aren’t great, but if you stumble upon someone who wants to sell but doesn’t have the time to get the property in move-in condition, you could work out a terrific deal.


picture of the exterior of a house that looks inexpensive


4. Look at less expensive types of housing.

For example, there are some great deals on condominiums right now. Just make sure you ask plenty of questions up front about homeowner association fees, rules on pets, and whether the condominium complex is FHA certified. If you are on a restricted budget and are interested in living out of town, you might consider mobile homes on their own land.

These homes usually appreciate just like regular homes. And they can make good investment properties too because they rent for almost as much as regular houses.

5. Overcome your fear of fixer-uppers.

Sometimes an older house that needs $10,000 in repairs sells for $30,000 less than a move-in-ready version of the same house. If you’re handy and not afraid of DIY work or dealing with contractors, a fixer-upper can be a great opportunity.

6. Look in cheaper surrounding cities.

In some areas, you can save tens of thousands of dollars by looking half an hour outside the city. Also consider cities that were hit hard by the housing crash in 2008. Some of these cities still have nice bargains.

7. Look at foreclosures.

While some owners of foreclosed properties trash their homes before leaving, not all do. Banks are sitting on inventories of foreclosed houses that they’d love to have off their books, and you may be able to help them do that for a very low price.


picture of a foreclosure sign on a house


8. Explore short sales.

These aren’t great for people in a hurry, because they require approval from the bank that holds the lien. But if you’re willing to wait for the bank to give their OK, you can sometimes find a terrific deal. Also, since owners still live in houses involved in short sales, they’re less likely to trash them before exiting.

The main characteristic that buyers who get great deals have is persistence. Don’t rule out any source of house listings. In fact, why not check out some of the properties listed with ISoldMyHouse.com?

picture of a professional woman showing our 3 home selling options

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