What real estate agents use as sources for presenting buying opportunities to buyers?

Asked by Deborah Rummelhart, 90036 Tue Dec 30, 2008

I will need a real estate agent to help me look at homes to buy. I have a FICO over 800, am a first time buyer with no debt, and want to make a purchase that makes sense to me financially (200,000-250,000). I am currently looking at sales that have been made (especially price per square foot) in the following areas: park la brea, hancock park, studio city, sherman oaks, toluca lake, certain parts of glendale. I am going to drive around and make up my mind where I want to be and whether I want a condo or SFH or duplex and get pre-approved before hiring a realtor. My questions are: Will a realtor look at everything: regular sales, reos, short sales when presenting stuff to me? Do realtors subscribe to realtytrac or have other sources of information on homes for sale that the public is not aware of? Why are condo prices per square foot generally higher than SFH or duplexes? Price is really important to me, and I am willing to offer a fast closing or other? to get a good price.

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Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Sat Jun 30, 2012
Hello Deborah,

Realtors have access to the MLS. The MLS has up to date info. Realty TRac and other consumer based web sites often times do not have updated info. That being said some Realtors do subscribe to Equator and other REO platform sites, but the info on these sites is also on the MLS

Realtors will search every type of sale on the market: Standard sales, Short sales, Probate sales, Trust sales, and REO sales.

You should have a clear idea of what type of property you want to purchase and make sure to make it clear to your realtor.

Prices are usually based on two things:

1.Location 2. Condition of property.

A condo with upgrades and is in move in condition located in a highly desired location can be price highr than a SF fixer in the same location.

Best of luck to you,

Kawain Payne, Realtor
1 vote
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sun Jun 16, 2013
Realtors use data from Multiple Listing Service as well as through personal networking in the industry
Can help you with homes that are off the market.

Also, they can set you up on their web sites, so that you can be updated when a property shows up for sale.

Good luck.
0 votes
Gail Mercedes…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sun Jun 16, 2013
This is a complex question very well presented. Question asked 2008 and this is 2013. The housing market has gone thru a sea change since 2008. 2008 was the beginning of the "Great Recession" some may argue the the recession has ended and we are seeing a upside in the economy. I am optimistically hopeful. West side homes are seeing a positive upside in the housing market while other area are still underwater. Recovery area have seen a great reduction on short sales and reos. Plus there is a shortage of inventory cause home prices to rise. While other areas are still underwater have a large amount of short sales and reos.


- Will realtor look at areas and inform prospective buyer of areas with high concentration of short sales and reos. The answer is yes. Additionally, the listings buyers receive via MLS state if individual listing is standard, short sale or reo.

- Yes, Realtors subscribe to Realtytac but properties maybe in lender's shadow inventory and for whatever reason not available for purchase.

- Depending on area price per square foot may vary for condos, single family homes and duplexes.

- Price is important to Buyers and Sellers buyers have to be educated on areas, current home financing (interest rates and terms), available financing (conventional or FHA) and current homes market.

- Buyers should have pre-approval from direct lenders then they know their home purchasing power. That is a STARTING POINT to know what you can afford and what areas will allow the desired home, area and lifestyle.

Gail Mercedes Cole
EXP Realty
0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Without repeating what Deborah said, I agree with her advise.
Realtors are to present all available properties that meet your criteria, it is up to you to decide what that criteria should be. Sounds like you know what you like and I'm impressed with the amount of preparation you are doing for your purchase. Choose an agent who has access to and is willing to look at all the areas you mentioned.
Prices per sq.ft. for different types of properties depend on location and with the HOA how many units are in the complex.
If your willing to look at duplexes or triplexes as an option, it could make your first purchase manageable. ie...a first time buyer bought a duplex from me with low down payment, FHA approved we were able to close the deal for him where 75% of the mortgage payment came from the other unit, which he leased right away to a tenant for a two year term. It's worked well for him, it's been a year and he's ready to invest again.

Whatever you choose, good luck, it's a great time to make your first purchase!
0 votes
Grant Linsco…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Fri Jan 2, 2009
Hi Deborah,

Happy New Year! It sounds like you're off to a great start as far as looking for a new place and received some great answers. You will want to work with an agent experienced in short sales, REO's and active listings. Experience and negotiations are key. They should be able to present to you all of the options available on the market, and sometimes those not on the market.

About 20% of the deals I close for my buyers never hit the market and nobody else had a shot at them. That's because once my clients narrow down what they're looking for, I try to zero in and find it whether it's currently available or not. It takes a lot of hard work but it has paid off huge for several of my clients. Also, if you are well qualified and can close a deal quickly, this will work to your benefit in any transaction.

If you have any other questions you can email or I'm always available on my cell.


Grant Linscott
Keller Williams Realty
323.333.6222 cell
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Jan 1, 2009
Yes, we look at all available property that meets your criteria. Realtors have current and accurate information about distressed property.
The price per square foot on condo's often has to do with the amenities of the complex. My adivice is to try to purchase in the very best area's that you can afford.
Web Reference:  http://www.doreneslavitz.com
0 votes
Alexandra Pa…, Agent, Montebello, CA
Tue Dec 30, 2008
The realtor should be looking at all available properties and presenting them to you. Realtors are members of the MLS where most of the property available for sale is listed, others sources can be pocket listings. The MLS has more accurate information than realtytrac or any other source you may be using.
In regards to the prices per square foot there are several factors that can affect the price, it can be location, and the association the condo has. (Some condos have a gym, pool, spa, 24hr security, etc.)

Contact me so I can set you up with a system that lets you look at all the properties that are available.... for FREE and it also alerts you when new listing come on the market in the areas you want.
0 votes
Jim Mellen, Agent, Williamsburg, VA
Tue Dec 30, 2008
Hi Deborah,

You're going to be a great buyer for an agent in your area. You will be prepared and that goes along way to getting what you want. I would caution you though not to simply look at price per square foot. Weather you are in California or Virginia, there are lots factors that go into the building equation. Land value, fixtures, age, maintenance/condition,location just to name a few. These all have a value equivalent. if you are looking in a community where everything is identical, price per square foot might be useful. Don't take this to mean that it should be thrown out, just use the information to ask questions and make an educated decision!

Your agent, should you hire a buyers agent should look at all your options. Foreclosures, FSBO's, resales. new construction, REO's etc. You can select a limited service agency if they exist in California, to pick and choose the level of service you are willing to pay for. But if you a hire a full time full service REALTOR, they should look at everything that meets the criteria you establish-if not don't hire them!

Condo prices are generally more expensive because of the site development, amenities, engineering etc that goes into a large scale project. Similarly, ranch homes cost more than two story homes to build and generally cost more. That's another factor when using sq foot costs as criteria. Hope that helps, and that's a Virginia answer to your California question! Good luck, Jim Mellen
Web Reference:  http://www.JimMellen.com
0 votes
C. MICHAEL R…, , Dayton, OH
Tue Dec 30, 2008
Greetings from Dayton Ohio. I sold 2 HUD foreclosures the past 2 days. They are the best deal out there. The Realtor you choose should be familiar with HUD resales, bank owned and short sales. Most of these will be located in the MLS system and the HUD site for that area. Short sales take 30 to 90 days to find out if they'll take your offer or not. That's a long time but hopefully you'll get a great deal. Ask the Realtor how many foreclosures, both HUD and bank owned have they sold. Ask the Realtor is their Broker signed up with HUD to sell their foreclosures. This is important. Good luck. Michael Royce. http://www.mikesellsdayton.com
0 votes
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