It would just about take a miracle now to get this deal through with only 2 weeks left before the auction. The seller will likely not return to the USA, it will likely be bought at auction by the bank who will let it sit for awhile before putting it on the market.
If you are not in a hurry you might just want to wait this one out and try to buy it as a bank owned property.
All the best to you!
Keller Williams Realty Studio City
Connie Winstead, Realtor
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
We have workied with situations like this and have been successful in approaching the bank to make an offer before it went to auction. It is quite common for banks to sell off these properties right before auction, in hope of getting their money...remember a bird in one hand is worth more than two in the bush! A sure thing is hard to beat.
When it does go to auction, at that point is only attainable by an "all cash" deal...no loans! Id the bank foreclosed the house, the seller is not the owner anymore and not the one who can accept the offer...it is up to the bank at this point. Dont bother trying to find the "seller" as it is a waste of your time.
You can find out more about us at http://www.myLARealEstateGroup.com.
Feel free to contact us to see how we may be able to help you.
Lou & Alex
LA Real Estate Group
Ryan, I am just telling you the normal course of things if you are really in the market. Whether you buy this property today, tomorrow or next year, a VERY GOOD Real Estate Agent will show you the way!
Dentist, mechanics, dry cleaners and everybody else have their place in this society, sure you can save money but at what cost?
As for you Ryan. Perhaps the listing agent can't get a hold of the seller either or maybe he had an offer and the bank did not accept it. Unfortunately, the listing agent can't sell the house unless the seller accepts the offer first. While you don't have much time before the foreclosure sale, the bank can postpone the sale if they have a viable offer on the table. I just closed a short sale and the bank postponed the trustee sale for a month while we were going back and forth negotiating the sale. The escrow closed a few days before the postponed short sale. Believe me, there's a way where there's a will.
If the house indeed goes to the trustee sale, then it will most likely resurface on the MLS as the banks usually list their REOs with local real estate agents. You are right, these days not many properties are bought at the trustee sale as the opening bid is many times higher than the most recent asking price because the opening bid is usually the amount that's owed on the loan plus some foreclosure costs. I'd ask an agent to let you know when the property comes back on the market. Banks do not sell individual properties directly to buyers. By the way, you may also think that you might be able to pick up a good deal at the real estate auctions, but I can tell you that you'll most likely not get a good deal there. I went to a big real estate auction in Sacramento a few months ago and I did not feel that any of the properties were good deals. I sat an open house for one of the properties and the house sold at auction for $155,000 plus 5% buyer premium. Another house with the same square footage in the same neighborhood was on the market for $120,000 at that time. No, there was no significant difference in the condition as the house that was sold at auction had been vandalized and needed a lot of repairs. The house that was on the market could not have been in worse in condition than the house that sold at auction. I know I am giving you more information than you asked for, but I thought I throw my two cents in on the auction issue since you are interested in possibly buying a bank owned property. Good luck to you.
As for the conflicting advice below about contacting the agent, while I don't agree with Waiting's description of Realtors' "mafia-style way of doing business," I will say that you don't need an agent to do a short sale. Most investors I know have their own systems set up, and those systems don't involve Realtors. There's a package of information that has to be prepared and submitted to the lender, but that can be done by anyone. It's really comparable to a FSBO. And it is time-consuming and detail-heavy. I would rather have someone else do all that, and then follow up frequently with the lender, rather than doing it myself. Still, you don't need a Realtor to do it.
As far as the owner being "out of the country," maybe yes, maybe no. There are lots of ways of tracking someone down. If he's got an unusual last name, call other people with the same unusual last name in the phone book and tell them you're trying to reach your target. Or check the tax records and see if he's the only name listed as owner. Maybe he isn't, and the other owner is still in the country. Or, knock on the doors of his neighbors. Usually, when someone goes out of town, he/she will let the neighbors know, with some contact information. (Just in case there's a problem and he has to be reached.) Try about 3-5 houses in each direction. Or it's possible he left a limited power of attorney with either the Realtor, or someone who the Realtor is aware of. So, you might be back to contacting the agent. Or track down the owner's e-mail address. That's usually not too difficult. Then send him an e-mail. There are dozens of other ways, too.
But, before doing any of that, get the comps. Make sure whatever you plan to offer actually represents a good value, not just a discount off a hugely inflated price.
And recognize that if the house doesn't sell at auction, it'll eventually come back on the market as an REO, often at a lower price still.
Hope that helps.