Been there. Done that.
This would make me suspicious that the agent has already signed to buy the property, or brought in a buyer, before listing the property. This happens all the time where I’m at.
As a result, you’re making offers on sold properties.
You could do some homework, and find out who the sellers were on these phantom listings. If it’s the same seller, and he’s got more to sell, I would warm up to him, and get the inside track.
Otherwise, find out who the listing agent is (if not the agent you’re fighting over deals with). Make friends with ‘that’ agent, and let him know you’re a buyer. Also, if you’re flipping property it would be real smart to figure out who the buyers were, and get them on your list of buyers…
You should be doing this with all the agents that are in control of these steal deals. Your name should be on ‘their’ buyer’s list.
Otherwise, you want to be prospecting for your own deals, and not depending solely on the MLS.
I was taught to make friends with the ‘gatekeeper’ agents if I wanted to get first crack at the investment quality deals. One way I’ve found is to scour Craigslist. Many agents will advertise pre-listed properties there, hoping to find buyers before they’re forced to list them, and potentially split their commissions.
The steal deals ALWAYS either get pre-listing marketing, and/or presented to the agent’s buyer pool, before the property ever reaches the MLS …for obvious reasons.
BTW, looking into their means of finding properties is not going to be some secret, ninja tactic. It’s called networking, advertising for deals, talking to seller’s who seem always to have friends who are selling; it’s sending out direct mail to likely prospects; it’s ‘getting rid of’ business cards like they were radioactive, etc.
Hope that helps a little bit.