I do strongly advise using a REALTOR to represent you in purchasing the property. There are many hoops to jump through and it would be in your best interest to have representation during the negotiating and closing process.
I'm sorry you had trouble getting a hold of the Realtor who is selling 1303 Bluff Drive. Sometimes the telephone number listed on the public web sites for the real estate agents who have listed the house in our market is the main real estate office. Many, if not most Realtors work out of home offices today and so your call may not have reached him somehow. I don't know the Realtor personally, but chances are good he was not deliberately trying to ignore you as most agents are actively looking for new customers. I looked up this property this morning on the MLS and the owner/agent for this home has listed the property as being under contract with backups considered if the first contract does not fall through. As far as the property not having a contract pending sign or sold sign, the local board of realtors does not permit sold signs to be placed on a property until the deed has been transferred from the seller to the buyer. A contract pending sign is OK with the board but completely at the discretion of the property owner. Some property owners prefer that no status signs be shown in their yard. I can see why you have tried so hard to get in to see this property. TIhe mixture of pine and mable wood and copper/slate used in the bathroom is beautiful. The kitchen is also very unique. What I have found in my years of business in the industry is that special homes that are priced right don't stay on the market fast. This home was on the market for awhile, but a signficant price reduction of over $20,000 suddenly made the home very attractive and competitive with other buyers. I wish I could tell you how to position yourself to be first in line to see right-priced homes that are very special without relying on a good Realtor who is representing you, but I don't. It is true that most homes that are listed on the MLS are also advertised in many places on the web, such as Trulia. But, there is a lag time between the property going into the Realtor database and the information flowing out into the public web sites. Meanwhile, buyer who have Realtors looking out for their home preferences have first shot at seeing those cool homes. Most agent who are working with buyers do so with written buyer representation agreements and those agreements state that the agent plans to collect their fee from the other agent. Some buyers believe they will save money buy not working with a Realtor. What the don't realize is that the owner has generally agreed to pay a fee to her agent regardless of whether there is an outside buyer agent in the picture. If there is not buyer agent in the picture, than her agent keeps the whole fee. When Realtors sell their own homes, they generally list the home in the MLS and gladly pay a commission to other agents who find a buyer for their home. The reason for this is that it is awkward and difficult to wear multiple hats of owner and listing agent and remain objective enough to help a buyer with things like the home inspection, financing, etc. Another agent smoothes the process along and looks out for the buyer's best interests, which is something an owner/agent cannot do as effectively. I wish you best of luck in your home search.