In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, real estate signs for home sales in Bangor. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Portland real estate agent Ann Cianchette will do whatever it takes to find a home for a buyer, including handing out fliers door to door for the next few days in the Cape Elizabeth neighborhoods where they want to live.

It is a tactic that has worked for her before. One of her buyers drove through a Yarmouth neighborhood and told her they would buy a house there if she could find one.

“I wrote a letter to the owners and said, ‘My buyers are super interested in your house. If you’re thinking about selling, please let me know,’” Cianchette said.

After that, one owner hired a real estate agent who called her and the sale was made.

A Portland real estate agent posted on LinkedIn seeking homes for a buyer in the popular Cape Elizabeth neighborhood in southern Maine. Credit: Courtesy of Keller Williams Realty

The strategy is on the extreme end of how real estate agents are finding homes for buyers in southern Maine, where there is an acute shortage of homes for sale and those that go on the market are snapped up within days. But there are plenty of anecdotes throughout the state of potential buyers knocking on the doors of homes they like to see if the owner will sell.

For agents like Cianchette who are working for wealthy clients who want to move now, it means pulling out all the stops. The current buyers have been looking for only about a month.

“It’s horrible for buyers now,” she said. “There’s no inventory and interest rates are starting to rise.”

Cianchette also took to social media, posting the request to Facebook and LinkedIn and emailing other real estate agents. Only four homes were on the market in Cape Elizabeth on Tuesday, and she said none fit her buyer’s needs.

She would not reveal much information about her buyers except that they live out of state and want to return to Maine to be closer to family. They have a budget of $2 million and want to live in the Shore Acres or Broad Cove neighborhoods of Cape Elizabeth, but are open to others. They also are open to houses that may need some renovations or expansion. Cape Elizabeth is just south of Portland.

“In this market of astronomically low housing inventory, we must do everything we can,” Cianchette said.