Why Calling on For Sale Signs to Buy a House Doesn’t Work

Bob knows exactly the house he wants. He knows the city. He knows the price. He knows the size. He knows he needs at least a three-car garage. He knows he needs a pool.

Given this is 2011, Bob starts searching for homes online to see what might work for him in his given area. In an instant he sees several possibilities and contacts a local agent to set up appointments to take a look at the homes.

Maybe Bob was looking at Zillow or Trulia or Realtor.Com, all real estate search sites and none of which are set up to distinguish the difference between an Active listing and a listing that’s Active With Contingencies, the latter being a home that’s already under contract and also the common status for short sales once an offer’s been accepted.

Or maybe Bob was looking on a site powered by Diverse Solutions, such as ours here at All Phoenix Real Estate.com, and didn’t notice the note next to the word Active that said it was a contingent listing. Or maybe he did notice but didn’t understand these homes aren’t available.

In any case, Bob was less than thrilled to learn from the agent he contacted that none of the homes were available for sale. Some, in fact, had been under contract for weeks.

The agent sends Bob a list of what’s available meeting his criteria – a much shorter list than he had seen online – leading Bob to believe the agent’s just not showing him everything.┬áSo he takes off in his car at $3.65 a gallon to drive neighborhoods and call listing agents off the for sale signs in the yards.

And that’s when he learns that there are more homes under contract in the area in which he is looking than there are available homes.

Here’s the rundown for different cities in the Phoenix real estate market …

There are cities with more actives than under contract – Carefree, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale – some of the more higher priced places compared to the rest of the Valley.

But for the most part calling on For Sale signs, even if you happen to get a return call, is going to be a largely fruitless effort. It’s the way of the market.

So what’s the solution? Get help. Early. And understand a basic reality for those folks who work on commission – there’s no benefit to a real estate agent to not send you homes for sale. If the selection isn’t what you (or Bob) might want, it’s a sign of the times in the Phoenix real estate market and not an indictment of the agent.

Or you can find out the longer, harder way …

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.