how to creatively negotiate an off market deal?

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So, I reached out to an agent about 10 days ago on a rental (homeowner w backed taxes) in a highly gendrifying neighborhood- 1950, 4 BR/1.5 BA, 1100 sqft asking $1500/mo. She didn’t call back. Long story short I call back today and find out the homeowner has been leaning toward selling since the property hasn’t rented (needs updating) but they received a rental app yesterday :) The original homes are comping at $250K-$300K with updated homes nextdoor comping at $575-$675. The agent said she would present the offer to her client, but she thinks he’s leaning heavily toward renting it another year and will allow him to pay some debt. Do you know of a creative approach to tie up the property now and make it a win/win..?

Back in the dark ages ('80's) I would approach older home owners & offer them a buyout with them holding the note at an attractive interest rate. My neighbors at the time were an amazing older couple who were RE agents & they would know who was interested in selling. 

Sometimes a down pmt was needed, hence partnering with others. Interest rates at the time were running 18-19% but capturing a beautiful old tired home that would appraise much higher after rehab was my exit strategy. I would pay off the sellers note (some with a penalty) once I got more reasonable conv. financing. It paid off very nicely & the majority became rentals or were eventually sold to buy more. I kick myself for the ones I let get away. One was offered to me for $110,00 & just sold for $590k.