Strangers are knocking on doors and calling phones across the Nashville region, but they aren’t selling anything. They want to buy something — your house.
Realtors under pressure to find homes for clients who are ready to buy are looking for homeowners who are ready to sell. The problem is, there simply aren’t enough homes for sale to meet demand.
“The market continues to get tighter and tighter and tighter,” said Keller Williams Realtor Roger Poulin, who recently spent an afternoon knocking on doors in East Nashville’s Lockeland Springs neighborhood.
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“Half the people I talked with told me, ‘You’re about the 50th person who’s knocked on my door,’” he said. “It’s a trend.”
The problem is simple arithmetic. During the first half of last year, 23,477 homes were actively listed for sale in the multi-county region. This year, there were 20,809. There were 2,668 fewer homes on the market, said Ryan Turbeville, a Realtor with the Ashton Group of RE/MAX Advantage.
With fewer choices on the market, Realtors have to get creative.
“A lot of it’s old school, door knocking, that sort of thing. It still works,” said Turbeville.
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COVID-19, high prices discourage sellers
Eager buyers are moving from other cities and states. Some are drawn by the Nashville region’s diverse economy. Others are attracted by lower crime rates and what they see as traditional values, Realtors said. They may have cash on hand after selling a home in a high-cost city.
Two circumstances are making it hard to find a home to buy. Concerns about COVID-19 make many would-be sellers reluctant to list the house and let buyers inside. Others would love to sell at today’s high prices but are discouraged by the prospect of having to buy at a similarly high price, said Turbeville.
“A lot of sellers are uncomfortable with COVID, having random people in and out of their home,” he said.
“More than COVID, a problem is — people might want to sell their house but don’t know where they’d go,” he said.
Some homeowners worry they would have to move away to find their next home, said Poulin.
They think, “I’d have to live in Pleasant View or Pegram. But I lived in East Nashville because I wanted a walkable, urban lifestyle,” he said.
Creative approaches ease concerns
Many Realtors are using technology to encourage homeowners to safely list their house for sale. The Ashton Group emphasizes virtual tours that allow potential buyers to “walk” through a house without ever setting foot inside.
So does Shawanda Dodson-Crawford, a Realtor with Exit Realty Diversified.
“Instead of in-person open houses, people are in the house only if they are interested in buying,” she said.
Maintaining relationships with clients is a good way to get listings. It’s also a good way to maintain friendships.
“When COVID hit, I called every client. Even if I hadn’t talked to them in 10 years, I called to check in and ask, ‘How can I help you?’ ” said Dodson-Crawford.
When interest rates fell to historic lows, she reached out again to discuss selling or refinancing.
“Being proactive,” she said.
Getting on a bus with dozens of other agents has won at least one listing for Kevin Pellatiro, a Realtor with Benchmark Realty in Cool Springs.
He’s participated in several bus tours organized by Laura S. Dahl, principal broker and owner of Music City Experts. Once a month, Dahl charters a 40-passenger bus and invites agents and other professionals to visit homes that either are or soon will be listed for sale.
The prospect of one quick tour, instead of having to prepare the house for individual tours again and again, convinced the owners to go ahead and list their house with Pellatiro.
“I got the opportunity because of the potential to bring 40 real professionals through the house at one time,” said Pellatiro.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Demand for homes in Nashville area has Realtors knocking on doors