So, You want to be an REO Broker...

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Ron Lee at Re/Max Gold

This is my third lap, if you will.  Having been in the business since 1978, I've seen three full market cycles. The slow cycle for most agents comes when homes stop selling overnight and inventories creep skyward.  This is when you need to ramp up for REO's.  (REO = Real Estate Owned) This is the shorthand used by the industry to discribe the inventory of property owned by the financial institutions. Most of which come through foreclosure.

Being an REO Broker can be very rewarding.  One such individual in Los Vegas claims to hold more than 400 properties that are listed or prelisted.  Another in California's central valley said that he has 105 active and 120 in the pipe.

If you want to jump in, there are places you can go start the process.  I recommend becoming a member of the National REO Brokers Association (NRBA) then look for The Insiders Guide to REO  it is a complete "How To" book for successfully listing and selling bank-owned properties. 

You will need to register with what seens like thousands of Asset Management companies .  Most start by doing BPO's or Broker Price Opinions. These pay $25 to $100 for a mini appraisal with photos.  Some people actually make a full time job out of just doing BPO's.  5 per day average $50 ea and boom $60k a year job with little overhead.

Some of those BPO's will get you in the door at the REO dept. Then when you get an "assignment", the fun begins.

You get to go to all kinds of neighborhoods to see if the property is still standing and determine if anyone is still living there.  If they are, you get to infom them that they no longer own the house and attempt to negotiate a prompt move. Most lenders prefer to grease the tracks by allowing you to offer Cash for Keys.  What they usually forget to tell you is that they expect you to write the check and submit your proper paperwork and copy of the check for reimbursement.  I have about $15,000 out waiting for reimbursment. I can't immagine what the guy in Vegas must be going through.

Then you get to make reports, find contractors, haulers and cleaning people, get bids, submit for approval, make sure the work is performed properly, pay them and then wait to be reimbursed.

Okay, the house is now ready for sale and you get the "Listing". It looks like no listing most agents have ever seen. Don't read the fine print, it will only scare you out of the businss.

Bing, bang, you get an offer. Well you upload it to their website, fill out forms and wait for a responce that usually resembles a short HUD-1 with the offer on the left and changes on the right. It's their way of making a counter offer. Be sure you also find their standard "Addendum". Take the addendum and email and create a counter that they will not sign until the buyer signs and gets it back to them. Then it goes up for Lender approval, Mortgage Insurance approval and 15 other people in the chain. Of course the Buyer has a Verbal acceptance and is expected to close in 30 days or pay a per day penalty.  In the mean time the Buyer's lender is twiddling his thumbs because he can't start the loan until he has a signed contract that he is expected to close about a week after the paperwork actually trickles back down to the Buyer.

Are we having fun yet?


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Dan Tobias
Rodeo Realty - Northridge, CA
Northridge Real Estate Expert


thanks for the post, and the info. I am going to check out that web site

Jun 20, 2007 05:26 PM #12
Craig Huston

I am a Home Mortgage Consultant for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

 You are correct that the asset management group for Wells Fargo (PAS) is not accepting new folks at this moment. They have in the past couple of months. Most of the realtors have between 15 and 30 listings.

I am in the Southern California area of Ontario. I currently do approvals on over 400 homes. Eventually they will start accepting new folks soon.

 One thing that I can tell you is that all of you if selling REO's need to learn about renovation loans. Basically a good percentage of REO's are in shambles, not finance-able by a traditional bank. A renovation loan can take care of this. Many have heard of FHA 203K loans, but don't realize you can do just about any loan size (into the millions) and any amount of repair. You can check out my website links to renovation financing to learn a little bit. feel free to call my cell with questions.



Jul 26, 2007 09:27 AM #13
This is the best article that i found about REO!! thanks Ronald
Jan 28, 2008 02:31 PM #14
Ron Lee

Thanks for the "Atta-Boy".

It's really gotten quite interesting in the past year.

Looks like I will be over 200 properties in a month or so. Just now starting to get offers on a daily basis, that should in theory lead to a few open per week that should lead to 10-15 closings per month.  Still waiting for it to be profitable.

My roll has had to change as we took on more and more assignments. I now have an REO coordinator, BPO coordinator, Transaction Coordinator, Accounts Receivalbe person, Accounts Payable person, a person to turn off and on utilities, a person to print flyers and 20 plus buyers agents to inspect the properties and show prospective purchasers around.  I'm just now getting to the point where I can pick and choose a few good buyers each week to work with personally, since that side pays so much better.

 Hang on it can be a wild ride.

Jan 28, 2008 03:09 PM #15
Joy Robnson
I am an experienced closing attorney...who would like to get into REO closings...any suggestions?
Feb 05, 2008 03:03 PM #16
Ernie The D!

REO!  So Cal!

We have a few hundered in my office.  I know agents will four and five hundred! 

The question is If one is to sell REO who is the coach if you have never done it before.  With 95 percent of the State's Sales force have 5 years or less, who is qualified to sell REO?  cept the Ol' dudes and Dudetts.

This is were I would be differnet. 

Four years ago I became a mgr with one the biggest producing firms in So Cal. Of coarse the market was pretty good and agents were getting all kinds of sales for just hangging out.  Until 1996 came around.  Dark and gloomy for many newbie agents.  My office is only 5 years old of the 30 year old firm. So I got the new guys.

Being in the business since 1990, first as a Loss Mit then as an REO specialist, I learn't a lot on that side of the busness.  So I beleived that everyone had a clue on this stuff, since all the people I hung around with did the same.  But I was wrong!  Agents were coming to me and asking the definitions of REO and Short Sales were, and I could beleive my ears.  Ah come on, ....

Well, my mentors and my master mind groups all had the same opioion that the PFC and REO is coming.  So I started on teaching agents in 2006 on Pre F/c and  as time went on, REO.  Slowly at first, then business meeting at time, then to evening training sessions.  I only got a couple that saw and opportunity.  Agents from other company's came to work out of my office because there was a coach.  Someone that understood the techincal aspects of this market.  The in's and outs. They stared with a few listing and now runing 40-60 each in their inventory. 

Needless to say I have 7 REO agents in the house with 250 pre list and listed homes. I have a Pre F/C department and many buyers agents that understand both.  I have promted on line training with verious training system to teach and get the new crop of interested agents certified before start coaching them on the details of the business (they need a little skin in the game). 12 more great agents coming to assist the REO inventory! 

Now corparate comission me to duplicate the program for any of their 32 offices.  Which will begain soon.

It's unusual for an REO agent to share the secrets, but lets face it, times have changed, just get on the internet and you will find anything you want.  So with that in mind, if there was a coach that can walk you through the maze when you have a question.  Boy what a deal huh?

My office has done well this last 6 months. over 10 mil. per month,   Not bad for a little ol guy from Kentucy.. 

 What are your thoughts on this subject matter? Should I continue coaching and showing agents the ropes?  Or should I keep it to my self! 








Feb 10, 2008 01:21 PM #17
Lezley Barr

It seems as though you are extremely experienced and I have the ultimate question for you?



It seems to me that you have been in the REO business long enough to have experienced all phases of this business.   I have one vital question and you will be hero of all time.


Feb 11, 2008 01:35 PM #18
Johnny Huang
Pleasant Hill, CA
Insurance and Real Estate Broker
One thing that bites is registering with all those BPO companies and asset mgmt companies. Typing out the same information and sending the same documents over and over and over is such a chore...
Feb 15, 2008 01:53 PM #19
Endea Thibodeaux
Lanham, MD
Solar Energy Consultant, CDPE, CLHMS

Very good post with lots of good responses.

May 29, 2008 11:25 AM #20
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Downey, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 916-3237

Hi Ron--what happened--are you not blogging anymore--great post!

Jun 11, 2008 01:02 PM #21
Cyndi Roberson, Realtor & Affiliate Manager
Prudential One, REALTORS - Beavercreek, OH

I found this information to be very helpful. I am just getting into the BPO part of the industry. I've registered with what seems like thousands of companies. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the assignments. A few of my colleagues have been doing it for several months now and they are beginning to see the 'fruits of their labor.' They are even turning down assignments because they are so busy. I'm hoping and praying that will be my problem, but I'm really looking forward to broadening my experience and expertise in the real estate industry.

Jul 22, 2008 01:02 PM #23

Great POST!

Jul 23, 2008 08:46 AM #24
Aaron Cullen
Brokers Inc. Residential Real estate - Folsom, CA
Folsom, El Dorado Hills & Sacramento Real Estate &

I have been on the buyer's end of several REO's, did not realize everything that is involved on the other side of the coin. Very insightful... Thanks!

Aug 12, 2008 03:32 PM #26
Eric Egeland
RE/MAX SUBURBAN - Libertyville, IL

Thanks for the post Ronald.

You have a lot of great info here....thanks for sharing

Sep 12, 2008 02:02 PM #27
Eric Auger
prudential Americana Group, Realtors - Las Vegas, NV

Hey there,

Banks need Real Estate Agents to help list and sell $600 Billion worth of foreclosures.

Well I am getting my share of the pie! I just bought the REO Kit here:

I thought you might want to give this a try too. Check It Out...


Best of luck ...

Mar 24, 2009 04:51 AM #29
John Conca
CENTURY 21 Select Real Estate - Placerville, CA
Century 21 Select Real Estate

I wanted to share this free list of REO asset managers and there website information that I got.  I signed up with just about every one of them.  Now in less than three months I have plenty of BPO's and two REO listings, one of which is already in contract.  Just do what ever you can to get started and be patient.  Good luck.









Bankers Assest Management

Bank of America


Brighton Real Estate


(CMS) Carrington


Citi Financial


Electronic Mortgage Corp. (EMC)

Equity Pointe



Fannie Mae

Fidelity (LPS)

First American

First Preston

AHMSI (First Option)

406 Partners



Green River Capital

Group Financial

Goodman Dean


Home Eq

Integrated Asset Services IAS


Land America

Lighthouse Real Estate Solutions

Litton Loan Servicing

Loan Servicing Solutions (LSS)




Nationstar Mortgage

Metro Pacific REO

National City

Nations Reo

National Default NDS

New Vista

NPR Capital



Old Republic


Owen REO


Premiere Asset Services (PAS)

PMH Financial


Premiere REO

Real Estate Disposition Corp. (REDC)

Reo Experts

REO World

REO Financial Asset Services

Single Source Property Solutions


Sun Trust

Tactical REO

US Bank



Washington Mutual



Apr 21, 2009 07:20 AM #30
Johnny Burke
Keller Williams Realty - Los Angeles, CA



 Thanks for the list above.

May 02, 2009 10:36 AM #32
James E Gallagher
HomesMax HomeSellers...SOLD - Concord, CA


You did a good job of briefly describing the life of an REO agent. I think that it is a good business model. I like the challenges. It is not your normal life as a real estate agent. Some great info in the comments.

Any agent who is trying to get REO's should start on that list of links that John put up. That is some good info there baby.

Jul 15, 2009 03:03 PM #34
Marlo Barge
Commerce Financial Inc./BMI Investment Capital - San Diego, CA
On The Fly (OTF)

Hello Everyone,

It is excellent pleasure to meet everyone acquaintence and I look forward to working with a top decision maker in the near future.

I have a consortium of buyers that our looking for deals all across the US especially the diamond states.

There looking for distressed commercial assets, Bulk REO packages, NPN, and PN in real estate.

My buyers our extremely motivated to take down any deals that are offered at a deeply discounted price.

We have LOI, POF and all necessary financial documentation required. Our clients are looking for product Ranging from 5M - 1B at 60 cents on dollar or even less.

With that said, Please send contact info. so we can open up a dialogue.

Look forward to possibly working together.

Please note: we our looking for seller exclusives deals.

Can someone assist with this issue?

Kind regards,

Marlo Barge/CFO

Feb 09, 2010 06:21 PM #36
Robert Slick
Beach and River Homes - Georgetown, SC

Good informative overview. Free list always a good thing.

Oct 04, 2010 03:46 PM #39
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