Under contract means that the Seller has agreed to sell the property to a Buyer, they have signed a contract, and they are working through the details that lead to closing the transaction. That doesn't always mean that the property is sold. These days, too high a percentage of deals fall apart because of lending problems, title problems, unexpected property faults, etc.
If you missed a property you really liked, have your agent keep an eye on it for you. If it comes back on the market, you might get another shot.
Yes, you must have proof of funds or a strong preapproval letter for a bank to consider your offer. The agent is right- they won't even look at the offer without it :-) I'm not sure if that is your question, if not please clarify so we can help you more.... more
There are any number of ways you can do that, but what bearing does that have on what the home is worth today? If the home's value is 250,000 today, does it matter if the owner paid 50,000 or 300,000 to you? Your time would be better spent finding out what nearby homes sold for in the past 3 months.... more