Realtors knock on doors to find listings

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ORLANDO, Fla. - The housing market is hotter than it's been in years -- but good luck finding a home.  Some realtors say the inventory of single-family homes is too low to meet the demand in a lot of places. 

In fact, some realtors are taking a very unusual approach to get more houses on the market -- literally knocking on doors, asking if a homeowner is willing to see.

For Brian Sommer, finding the home of his dreams wasn't easy. He had his heart set on the Wedgewood Groves community in Orlando, and he had his heart broken after a couple deals there fell through.

"Those were two houses we really liked, really liked this neighborhood, but they just weren't available," said Sommer.

That's when his realtor got creative.

"He spent one afternoon going door to door in this neighborhood and talking to people who lived here to seeing if they were willing to sell they're home," said Sommer.

His realtor ultimately ended up at one doorstep in particular, where the homeowner said, "Let's make a deal."

"I was amazed, I didn't know that would ever work, I wouldn't think to do that," said Sommer.

Turns out, it does work, and realtors like RE/MAX agent Brian Mahoney are doing it. Of course, he does his research, studies the market -- but then it's face-to-face, door-to-door.

"I got people that were intrigued, their ears were piqued," says Mahoney. "Just a little bit of telling them what's happening in the market, they were very intrigued."

Here's what he told them: inventor is low, and demand is high.

Mahoney did a quick Multiple Listing Service search and found tens of thousands of listings in Orange County. But only 2,200 of them were single-family homes, and only 802 had swimming pools.

What makes the market even tighter are big investment companies with a lot of cash who can muscle out the average family.  It's a nationwide trend.  The investors come in, scoop up houses, and turn them into rental properties.

"When something hits the market, you need to get out there the first day or two so you get a chance to look at it," said Mahoney.

Or you could tell your realtor to get out there and knock on doors. Sommer is glad his agent did.

"We're fortunate that our realtor was able to go our extra step and do something that definitely was untraditional, and I wouldn't have thought of," said Sommer. "We were able to get a home where we wanted to live, and we still bought the home under the appraised value, which felt like a win-win for sure."

If you're a buyer, shop around with lenders first and get pre-approved for loan.  And for sellers, be ready to move.

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