Short Sale...Dirty Dealings?
Hi! I will try to make this as brief as possible, but it's going to be tough!!
My husband and I are trying to purchase a short sale property, but I believe that there is some fraud going on involving this property. The house has been listed (off and on) for the past 4 months as a "short sale" at the bargain price of $104,900. Other homes in the neighborhood have sold between 140k and 170k. It is in excellent condition and is extremely underpriced. Here's where the situation gets pretty wonky. The real estate agent works for a small (unknown) company. When our agent contacted her a couple of weeks, she told her that there was a contract already in on the property, but they are taking backup contracts (and that there were no backup contracts already). We decided that we wanted to take the chance that the first contract would fall through, so on May 21st we put an offer in on the property for cash, at full list price, with no contingencies. My realtor's cover letter requested that the listing agent respond with the status of the sale/first contract and if there were any other backup contracts before ours. The realtor responded only with this message:
"Date: Friday, May 21, 2010, 1:18 PM
I received the offer you wrote on ####### Road. Thank you very much. I'll be in touch.
She answered none of the questions my realtor had asked of her, and has not yet contacted my realtor. In researching the listing history of this house, my agent discovered that the house had been listed on and off since February. On May 11 the house was taken off of MLS and relisted 20k higher. Several hours later, it was put back on at orignal 104,900k price. That same day, it was once again taken off MLS and relisted 20k higher. The next day it was taken off and put back down to 104,900. Coincidentally, May 11 was the same day that Bank of America sent their appraiser out to appraise the house for the short sale. Additionally, when we originally inquired about this property, we were told that it was under contract, and that the contract was 2 months into the short sale process, with no other backup contracts. The MLS now shows a (new) contract date of May 11.
Last night I looked on the MLS for the listing and couldn't find it. After a little bit of sleuthing, I discovered that the listing was removed on May 22, ONE DAY after our offer was submitted to the agent.
I know there is something quite fishy going on here. I'm thinking that possibly this no-name little real estate company has an investor (or group of investors) trying to purchase this home at a rock bottom price? And that potentially they are going to turn right around and sell it for 25-50k more...instant profit, if they can get BofA to agree to the short sale price? (and then rip Bank of America off!) And that possibly everytime they get a backup offer, they pull the house off the market in order to buy more time for the short sale process? Does this seem like a plausible (and illegal!) scenario?
I would just walk away from this whole convoluted mess, but this house is perfect for us. It is close enough to our current house that my daughter's life would not be affected too much by the move, and that is very important to me. I want this house!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry for the length of this posting...I wanted to try to detail the issue. What, if anything can we do to find out what is really going on with this property? And would we have any recourse?
I would be grateful for any feedback.