It is not unusual to get a call from the friend of a potential buyer. This is where the actual buyer who tends to be out-of-the-area has been looking at the Internet and seen properties that he or she likes but they are not ready to get involved yet with a real estate agent. As someone told me over the phone this morning, "we don't want to waste your time."
Let me pause here to say that I'm a real estate broker and there's nothing I like more than talk about the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and its real estate market. We are not like many other places, here it's all about "location" and that influences the prices. Flipping homes? Good luck finding dilapidated homes here at cheap prices, that ship has sailed. On the other hand, take a beautiful view lot that has an older smaller home on it and want to maximize the square footage? Absolutely can be done but you need deep pockets and willing to go through permitting processes that are time consuming. But that's a whole other story.
Back to the "we don't want to waste your time" scenarios that I come up against a lot:
1. Out-of-towners who are scouring pretty much the whole country for "deals". The lady this morning said they were looking from the Carolinas to Texas to Arizona to several places in California. Well, that's pretty spread out and where they will land depends on their goals. Is it strictly an investment? Well, I think the Monterey Peninsula is an excellent place to buy real estate. If you are worried about what the market will do in the next couple of years, well, we don't have a crystal ball but do have the history of the last downturn. The Monterey Peninsula was not affected like other parts of the country, at least around the coastline. Most people just hunkered down until it was over with.
2. Out-of-towners with local friends. These are prospective buyers who have knowledge of the area and might even have lived or visited here in the past. These are people who have a clear vision: they want to get away from the summer heat so prevalent in some other states (Arizona and Texas come to mind, we get lots of buyers from there), are looking for a place to retire, or as an investment. The friend can be trusted to give guidance because they know the buyer, his tastes and financial circumstances. There's nothing I like better than to have the local friend help out to pinpoint likely neighborhoods, for example.
3. Out-of-towners whose dream it is to find a piece of vacant property and building their retirement home. Wow, that's a whole lot of time and effort that just cannot be done from afar even if they have a willing friend or contractor to help them. Looking at photos with a dynamite view does not show the steep grade from which it was taken. Water issues on the Monterey Peninsula can be a major and expensive headache. Permitting can be very stringent depending on where the lot is. Not that I would want to talk someone out of their "dream", but there is so much more involved.
My suggestion is always "come and see for yourself".