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3 On Your Side: Homes Selling That Weren't On The Market

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Ever drive past your dream house and wonder if it'll ever go on sale? Well, what if you could have it right now? As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, realtors are knocking on doors and making cold calls to put their customers into houses that aren't even on the market.

You don't have to wait for a "for sale" sign to make your home-buying dreams come true. When Jason Abrahamson finally found his dream home, there was only one problem: it wasn't for sale.

His realtor changed that with a knock on the door. Abrahamson says, "I was very excited to find out the seller was willing to sell the unit after putting in the offer."

A combination of low inventory, high rents and low interest rates - as well as a lack of development in the last four years - has realtors getting creative. Realtor Joe Grunnet says, "Door knocking, making cold calls, sending out direct mails, sending personal letters to sellers. You know, are you open to selling if I have the right buyer?"

While you may end up paying a bit of a premium to convince the owner to sell, you won't end up stuck in a bidding war. Real estate expert Brendon Desimone says, "They can actually get in under the radar of other buyers and scoop up a home without having to go through the competitive bidding process."

Desimone warns though, before you let a realtor through your front door, make sure he's legit and has an actual interested buyer.

According to Desimone, "Agents are out there, desperate for real estate listings, and they will just send out blind letters to a whole bunch of people, trying to get someone who might be interested to actually give them the listing."

Buying off-market can also save on realtor fees if you approach the owner on your own and try to get them to sell.

Of course, it's not for everyone. If you go that route, just be sure to have a real estate attorney draft the necessary documents before seal the deal.

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