With the real estate market in the Charlottetown area heating up, some realtors are going door-to-door to find houses to sell.
A combination of population growth fed by immigration and a shortage of labour to build new houses has led to more buyers than sellers in P.E.I.'s capital city.
That has led many realtors to hit the streets in Charlottetown's more popular neighbourhoods, knocking on doors to see if people are interested in selling.
For Jim Craig, a realtor with Remax Charlottetown, this is one strategy he uses to serve his clients' needs and adapt to the increasingly competitive market.
'If our sales stay at the current pace they're at, we will be out of houses to sell within six months if not one other home is listed.' - Mary Jane Webster
"It's getting to be more and more popular this year, just because we don't have the inventory," said Craig.
"We've got buyers looking for homes and they'll say, 'Jim, I want to be in Brighton,' and so you go canvass the Brighton area. Or you'll take a drive around and he'll say, 'Jim, I like that house, this house and that house. Can you see if you can get me in?' So I've actually knocked on doors to see if they want to sell their home."
Realtors are also dropping off letters letting owners know there is interest in buying their home.
Craig said he's seen an increase in the number of multiple offers on Island properties.
In addition to Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall are also hot markets, said Craig.
Low inventory, high demand
The Canadian Real Estate Association reports the number of active listings on P.E.I. are the lowest in 15 years for this time of year.
The low inventory of houses on the market is one of the factors that may lead realtors to try different strategies to serve their clients, said Mary Jane Webster, President of the Prince Edward Island Real Estate Association.
"Right now we currently have about six months of inventory," Webster said. "What that means is if our sales stay at the current pace they're at, we will be out of houses to sell within six months if not one other home is listed."
'I've had some situations where I've knocked on a door and end up selling over $2.5 million worth of property over the years with the people.' - Jim Craig
Webster said there are a number of economic trends leading to the low availability of houses across the Island marketplace. She said the arrival of newcomers through the provincial nomination program and an increase in first-time buyers is creating a much more robust market.
"It could be someone whose parents lived there and they're moving home or they want to move into an area closer to child care or school zones," Webster said. "It's really important for us as professionals to make sure that we do everything we can possible to get your client the home they want and in the neighbourhood they want."
'It's worked and it hasn't worked'
Going door-to-door is a strategy some realtors use to best serve their clients and get them what they want, said Craig.
"It's worked and it hasn't worked," Craig said. "I've had some situations where I've knocked on a door and end up selling over $2.5 million worth of property over the years with the people."
Webster said that homeowners may not be thinking about selling their homes at the time but often have plans to do so in the future.
"Here we have a situation where we have someone who wants this area, who's clearly been looking, ideally is qualified to afford the specific neighbourhood they're looking in and some homeowners will then say, 'Okay, now's the time let's take a look at this,' and will absolutely sell their home," she said.
Webster added that although sending letters of interest and knocking on doors is not an entirely new practice for realtors, homeowners may see more of it happening as the high demand continues.
"It's just a strategy for some people to use to try to get their clients in the door first," Webster said.
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