Back Into The Swing Of Things

With the holidays approaching, I felt I really needed to at least get some offers out there. I figure there probably aren't too many people buying houses this time of year, so I'd have a better chance at getting my lowball offers accepted. I've had this thought in the back of my mind since before Thanksgiving, but I just been so busy. Even though I'm still really busy, I managed to make some time for research yesterday..

I spent a couple of hours searching the MLS for motivated sellers. I came across several properties and narrowed the list down to three. I then called the agents and got some information about each property.

Property A was a small house in Mesa. The listing said the seller was motivated, but after talking to the listing agent, I didn't get that feeling. I can't pick out any one thing that made me feel that way. It was just a feeling. Anyway, the property was at the upper end of my price range, so I passed on it.

Property B was a house in Phoenix. The listing said the owner had passed away and a son was selling the house. It was being sold "as-is" and the owner knew there was a leak in the roof, but would not fix it. This sounded good, so I called the agent and was told the property was actually owned by three sons (which I already knew from a property records search) and that they had a couple of offers already. The agent was meeting with all three sons that afternoon. I didn't have a chance to write up an offer and fax it in and was planning on doing that this morning. Just for the heck of it, I looked up the property again this morning to see if the sons had accepted any of the offers. The status is no longer "available", but "TOM," which I believe stands for Taken Off Market. I haven't spoken to the agent yet, but I'm guessing the sons did not accept any of the offers and took the property off the market for some reason. Perhaps they want to wait a bit before selling, perhaps there are estate issues. I don't know. I'm going to go ahead and fax in my offer anyway. Maybe it will generate a phone call from the agent with some more details. Given that three people are involved and they have already received a couple offers, I don't expect my offer to be accepted.

Property C was a small house in south Phoenix. Again, the listing said the owner was motivated and to bring all offers. The agent told me the owner currently lives in Show Low and is at the property only occasionally. A records search shows he bought the property in 1995 for about $46,000. The agent said he's put in new electrical, new plumbing, and one year ago, he put in a new roof. The picture shows the outside to be in ok shape, but you can tell it's vacant. I figured with the owner living 150+ miles out of town, he's probably well motivated. I faxed an offer yesterday afternoon that was about $40,000 under the list price, but, as always, I included a cover sheet pointing out the positives of my offer: all cash, quick closing, and pointed out that I was not using an agent, so the seller will save X dollars in commission (where X is 3% of my offer). No response yet.

I also talked to a Realtor about getting daily MLS listings emailed to me. His website allows you to set that up yourself, but the only criteria I could specify was price range and cities. He called me up after receiving my request and I told him what I was looking for and that I was hoping to get a listing of properties that used certain keywords in the listing agent's comments field. He said he thought he could do that and would set me up. I see this morning I've gotten two emails from him, but I haven't checked them out yet, so I don't know how successful he was.


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