I disagree w/ the poster who stated that you would be liable for a buyer agentâ€™s commission. The only time a buyer is responsible for a buyer agent commission is when there is an agreement between a buyer and the buyer agent for compensation.
The commission which is offered to a buyer agent as a part of the listing agreement entered by the seller may be disputed if you write a contract with an agent different than the one who showed you the home. That buyer agent commission might not be paid to anyone at closing. Instead, it could be held in escrow, until agreements can be reached or decisions are made as a result of hearings. While this isnâ€™t your issue, you can spark controversy or foster cooperation, depending upon your actions.
I am not a fan of dual agency, but have participated in dual agent transactions. I have seen dual agent transactions where the end result was win-win and all parties were happy with the outcome. The challenge with dual agent transactions is that you never know if, or when, you might hit an impasse. Many transactions start with agreement, but gravitate to opposite spectrums as the transaction progresses. For this reason, I recommend hiring a buyer agent.
Call the agent who showed you the property, and let them know that dual agency is not acceptable, so you need to hire a buyer agent. Choose a buyer agent, and ask that buyer agent to contact agent #1. You are asking for properties which are not in a foreclosure process, but rather those properties which are now owned by the bank, correct?
Lenders generally contract w/ one broker to list any and all of their bank owned properties within an area. That area is larger than just a few beach towns. The listing broker will list all the REO properties on their site.
Cooperative agents and buyer agents will focus on a geography and include properties that are available, regardless of ownership status.
You have two options for finding REO's in the beach towns. 1) Search the REO sites of several lenders and screen for your zip codes and towns. This will direct you to the listing agent for the property, which is in the lender's best interest, but not yours. You can find the properties using their sites, but you are still free to choose your own buyer representative. 2) Develop a relationship w/ a buyer agent who will monitor all properties in the beach towns and notify you when an REO property comes on the market.
There might be a buyer agent in your area that focuses heavily on REO properties. Most agent focus on geography vs. type of property. Most vendors, MLS systems, and tools that agents use push and coerce agents into a geography vs. a specialty niche.
In some MLS systems, the rules prohibit agents from publicly publishing a list of properties if they are not the listing agent, but the rules always allow the agent to provide a list of properties to their clients. I don't know the rules in SoCal, and defer to local RE Pros for commentary on this.
I cannot, in any of the multiple MLSs to which I belong, make a flyer with properties that I picked (REO, waterfront, hot deals, foreclosures, etc.) and promote that last with me as the point of contact. I have seen agents try to put together a list of all waterfront properties, only to be forced to quickly cease and desist such activity. This type of activity is considered promoting listings when one is not the listing agent, and that is a violation of MLS rules. Agents, in most MLSs, cannot use property info (whey the properties are not their listings) to solicit buyer inquiries. Agents can, however, provide property data to their own clients and customers upon request. I can inform "my" client or "my" customer of properties which meet their criteria and update "my" client of any new properties of status changes of existing properties.
You can find a buyer agent who will work with you to automatically alert you when a new property comes on the market that is an REO. You can arrange to receive this info via email, and contact the agent if and when you have further interest.
Regards and best of luck,