Have your agent go back and see what each of the 20 properties sold for and how much above your offering price they sold for. Keep in mind there are many investors out there paying with cash and so often the sellers take a lower price to do a cash deal.
I would suggest you look at properties listed between $225,000 and $250,000 if you can really afford $295,000 since you will need to likely overbid quite a bit to actually aquire a property.
First ..there are lots and lots of buyers looking for discounted properties. Banks have lots of offers.
Check back on prior offers and see what they eventually sold for..ie I suspect if they did sell then maybe your offer was far too low...but dont trust what the banks say...go to the coutrhouse records and pull up the owners tax records and see what it sold for.
If your agent is not doing his or her homework..find another..there are lots of agents in California who are anxious to find a client.
Troy in Texas, formerly from San diego.
Very common! Especially in those areas. I agree that you should expand your search and stick to single family homes. You will also find more 2 bedroom 1 bath homes than 2 bath homes in those areas however I haven't seen any single family homes in that price range. You may want to consider another area that is adjacent such as Sunland. Many more single family homes in that range in Sunland, Tujunga and even some nicer areas of North Hollywood. You could also look for homes that have been sitting on the market for awhile. These homes would be more willing to take a lower offer if they have nothing on the table.
No you probably are not doing anything wrong..and you can see from your personal experience that the Real Estate Market is a bit different then the "Media" has portrayed it..at least here in Southern California.
Sorry to say that if you cannot offer over asking price on these REO & Short-Sale properties, you probably will not get the house. Everything we have bid on recently, in Short-Sale had stacks of offers..and only the highest offers were being accepted.
There is a lack of inventory in the areas that you are looking, so contrary to media reports, it is common to have multiple offers for attractive properties, particularly in your price range.
Offers must be complete and presented in a way that will get a counter offer if not acceptance. Does your Realtor call the listing agent and ask for an idea of the seller's expectations so the offer is tailored to their needs?
Just faxing over an offer is not really the best method to get your offer accepted.