Sometimes it feels like there's some sort of insider trading going on in real estate...

Asked by Betty, 90025 Sun Mar 23, 2008

I've been looking to buy a starter home, fixer in the plus/minus 300K range for a nearly two months now (pasadena, altadena area) I found around 4 properties that were perfect, each time they were on the market for literally a day or two and when I told my realtor about them, they would call and were told that the offers were already being looked at by the bank. My question is... How can I find a realtor who will have this knowledge of something going for sale within minutes... The person i've tried to go with up til now frustrated me a bit because I ended up calling them about most of the homes that interested me after finding them on bank REO sites or realty trac. Sometimes it seems that most of the 'deals' snapped up so quickly because the realtor/REO banker friends get info first...

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Kathleen Sei…, Agent, Gainesville, FL
Sun Mar 23, 2008
I don't think there is such a thing as insider trading in real estate - at least not in the same sense as in stocks. It isn't illegal for a person involved with the business to buy and sell, wether or not what they know is publicly available.

A lot of times when an agent has a prospect that is almost ready to list they may mention it in the office or at sales meetings, and if someone else has a buyer in that market then the buyer and seller can come to terms really quickly. That may be what you are seeing, especially if they are great deals.

If they are foreclosures then maybe the buyers are more on their toes than you are. I don't know what triggers a home to show up on the lists you mention (lis pendis, actual forclosure announcement, etc.) but it is possible that people locally may have known it was coming - by watching the people move out, the yard go untouched, the mail pile up, whatever. It may be a word of mouth thing OR it may be someone inside the process that is snapping it up.

To answer your dilemma,
As suggested, talk to your agent about your wants & needs, and your timeline. Tell them if something comes up you want to see it that same day if possible.

Foreclosures are not the only deals out there. Be very aware of the dangers of these, you can inherit some liens on the property and end up owing more than you expected.

Get a lender pre-approval in writing so you can put in an offer asap when you find a property.

As far as finding things first, your agent can't take you to see something they don't know about. Talk to them about your expectations.

Ask your agent who the buyers were on the 4 properties you wanted. You may have to wait until the contract closes, but it may help tell you how your were scooped.
2 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sun Mar 23, 2008
The best way to do is to tell your Realtor is to give your Realtor the precise requirements you have for buying a house and let them know in very precise terms that you are ready to buy once you see a house that you like and that you expect them to let you know when a house comes on the market the meets your criteria.

Tell them that you expect to hear from them rather than the other way around. I would also let them know that if they don't feel they can meet your challenge then they should let you know and you will get a Realtor who can meet your needs. A day or two is enough to send an offer in if they are on their toes.

Also, get your loan preapproved and let the Realtor know. I'd be helping you right now if you are in my area.

2 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Mar 23, 2008
Sorry to hear about your problems some of these websites don't have the current and updated info. and fi the area is extremely hot you have to be writing a contract at that moment.

Good luck
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1 vote
T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sun Mar 23, 2008
If you are relying on certain websites to get the latest listings, you are going to miss on a lot of them yes. Many websites don't update up to the minute with new listings. The only database that is instantly updated is the MLS and you Realtor has access to it. As Sylvia said, your Realtor should have the criteria you are looking for and do the search for you. There are literally hundreds of listings that come on the market every minute between all MLS systems.
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Sun Mar 23, 2008
I suggest you talk to some agents and explain what it is your looking for. Perhaps they can actually look for properties that suit your needs instead of waiting till they are listed.
0 votes
Janine Love, Agent, The Woodlands, TX
Sun Mar 23, 2008
Any agent with MLS access can set you up in their system to receive new homes (via email) that come on the market that fit your criteria on a daily basis. Most banks do not accept offers until the homes are actually listed.

Hope this helps.
0 votes
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