Whether you’re soliciting listings or looking beyond the MLS on behalf of a buyer, these strategies can help you identify properties that could be available with a little legwork.

Drive the neighborhood

Remember that NAR’s Code of Ethics prohibits you from soliciting a prospective client if she already has an exclusive representation agreement for the same services with another REALTOR®.

Exploring a neighborhood provides first-hand information about for-sale-by-owner properties, mom-and-pop landlords, and any other real estate activity that may not already be accounted for in the MLS. Properties in a state of disrepair or the process of being updated also may indicate the owner is thinking about selling or could be receptive to the idea.

Scour public records

Notices of default, eviction, or delinquent property taxes can be indicators of a situation where an owner might want to sell the property. Ask the appropriate public office about when and where notices are published or first available to get the earliest access to the information.

Reach out to past clients

If you’ve been in real estate for a few years, you might have past clients looking to upgrade or who no longer want to own a home. Calling or sending a note inquiring if they’re still happy where they are could lead to a transaction in the near-term or keep them thinking of you for the future.

Ask the neighbors

Did you just sell a listing for a price that elated your clients? See if any of their neighbors have been asking about the sale—those could be the next homes to list. Also consider direct mail or cold calls letting other owners in the area know about listings that have sold near them.