Now there are 2000 or less homes on the market, and with a little marketing, it's easy to get homes in contract. It's a whole OTHER story to get the transaction closed however, and short sales are still difficult and gaining in difficulty IMHO.
So, my point is that Realtors with a "deal" in those zip codes, probably already have the home in contract, or will withing a couple of weeks, or even a couple of days.
Your best bet is to too find a Realtor who will work hard for you to find a home you can buy--following the Metrolist daily if not 2 and 3 times a day, networking with other Realtors in town, to see what's coming up on the market, looking at previously listed but unsold homes that might still be available. And of course, work with someone who can advise you on writng an offer that stands a chance to getr accepted. No sense in writing a weak offer after an exhausting search!
As of Sunday 9/23/2012 1:30PM, on MLS: Metrolist
Using the criteria you listed above,
Two bank owned houses in 95621
3 short sales, one foreclosure, one regular listing in 95841.
Not a one in 95608
That is your entire inventory. All other listings that meet your criteria on Trulia or the other websites are pending, in contract, sold, expired or withdrawn.
Are any of them "deals"? The lower priced properties in a zip code usually attract a lot of attention from investors and owner occupant buyers. The intense competition from the other buyers keeps the ultimate sale price close to current market value.
All realtors have access to all listings on the market. If I had a listing I do not represent a buyer on the same property but others might. In the rare chance that someone has a listing coming up they might be able to do that 'magic match' and put you in contract to purchase it. However, to do right by the seller they need to expose the home to the market to generate the best price and terms for the seller. If they don't then they wouldn't be working in the best interest of their seller and that's a violation of our ethics as a realtor.
I would suggest you find a buyer's agent that you trust and is experienced in this market. Monitor your search by using a client portal that will allow you to learn about homes that come up immediately. Currently the portal notifies you up to four times a day if a property comes up that matches your criteria. Work with someone who knows how to compete to have your offer accepted as well. Because you can expect to have competition on any home that you want to make an offer on. But there are realtors who get their offers accepted more often, if you trust their advice.
A 'deal' in this market is that homes are priced at 2000 levels at an interest rate that has been unheard of. Beyond that, you're playing poker against other buyers and you don't know who they are. So get educated on the value and determine your best offer. This market will turn when interest rates start to rise, but until then, it's a seller's market. But the deals to a buyer are unbelievable at these prices.
Good luck Mike!