Foreclosure Pirates, Fiends, and Tricksters
Over the past five years our listing ratio of short sales here in Clark County Washington has increased dramatically. While our closing rate is one of the highest in the county, a few banks are still unwilling to negotiate deals and are happy to force homes into foreclosure.
Investors in the area have become more aggressive in their attempts to buy these homes at auction. Apparently one of their biggest challenges is getting good information on the property and getting inside the home to check it out before they bid. In the past few weeks I have had a number of run ins with some of the more assertive investors.
This past June I was working with a buyer who targets homes that are going to auction in the next 30 days but don’t have any offers being negotiated with the bank. It is a good strategy and a great way to find homes that banks are trying to get rid of before the auction. As I opened the lockbox to get the key, a neighbor came rushing out of his house and pushed his way up to the door. He told me that he wanted to tour the house with us because he was going to buy it at auction. Based on my client’s mission, I refused. As my client and I walked through the house, I heard the door open and someone walked in! I rushed to the door to find mister Nosey Neighbor snooping around. I kicked him out and NOISILY slammed and locked the door behind him!
Another trick that has gained popularity lately is for the investor to call me, the listing agent, and pretend to be interested in buying the home. They act as though they are regular buyers looking for a new home. They tell you that they have found this one particular home and that it is the “Only One” that they want to see. These guys are usually easy to spot because they will get very agitated if you suggest other homes or try to get them to share what they are looking for in a home. The best way to discourage these people is to demand that they meet you in your office with a pre approval letter for a 30 to 40 minute consultation before looking at homes. That tactic will usually send them running for the hills! (but not always! Read - The Ugly Side of Investors!)
There are even some agents who are willing to risk their licenses to get these homes at auction. In the past few months we have noticed an agent who always visits our listings as the auction dates approach. That in itself isn’t the problem. The Problem is that he seems to “forget” to return the key to the lockbox on the homes that he or his clients plan to bid on! This effectively keeps any of his competition from being able to view the property. I have already explained to him (Quite Clearly!) that if his memory fails him one more time on one of my listings, I will gladly report him to our MLS and ask to have his license revoked.