If you're looking at a RealtyTrac ad, those aren't real listings. Those are advertisements. Plenty of those properties aren't on the market yet, and when they come on the market they'll be closer to the real market value. If it IS a real listing--and it could be--it may be because the bank has no idea of its real value and may be using an agent who really doesn't, either.
Since you don't have an agent do consider the services, such situations can oftentimes be avoided when negotiated properly or at least do consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in real estate--as for the earnest money, since you did not have a formal written agreement, and not knowing specific details in your notes, you may not be entitled to it at all--consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate and see what options you may have.... more