Hello Banks, Noteholders, Servicing Companies, et al, etc, so on and so forth!
Today I want to let you know what is going on in the Las Vegas Area REO market. I am sure to get big REO listers very upset with me by writing an argument on WHY you should make the process easier to submit offers ONLINE for buyer's agents.
I get that our inventory situation is tight here in the valley. I get you have your hands tied with mediation, short sales, tenants w/ new tenant law and I get that you are releasing them as quick as you can. I get buyer interest is at an all time high and lots and lots of offers are being received. I AM NOT GETTING PROOF THAT MY OFFERS ARE GETTING SUBMITTED.
I want to clarify that NOT ALL REO agents are bad. I want to clarify that I DO NOT want their job. I get it. What I DON'T GET is that sometimes they make up extra rules and loop holes to get offers submitted. I even asked a PAS lister to show me proof (per PAS) that my THREE offers were submitted to them. Since July for one property (that keeps falling out of escrow.)
Let me tell you that little story: Submitted late July, went through all the hoops, wrote 10K over list (and clean, which means no seller paid concessions), waived appraisal, submitted with our Wells PA letter. Fell out of escrow late August (when my buyers would have been closing aka "PERFORMING") and getting a non-performing asset off of their books. Resubmitted the offer and was sent an email that another contract was accepted on September 3rd. Well the very next day there was a price reduction on this property by $10K. I call PAS FURIOUS. Our offer was now $20K higher! (if you want percentages over list price we are at 20% now) They told me to request screen shots of submission. I asked and resubmitted the offer immediately. Never got the screen shots that they submitted it but another big fat rejection letter.
I am fine with that, I really am, because this is what I (and other beyond frustrated buyer's agents in this market) are up against.
Let's get back to hoop jumping. List agents create their own rules for submitting offers. In many instances we have to jump through extra hoops to get our offer submitted because extra rules were made up by the list agents. Check out this (as of right now) very public post about extra hoop jumping written by an REO lister..
Now as an REO asset manager, where does that leave you when you are trying to solicit the highest and best offer when someone has to deliver an EMD check to be cashed JUST to submit an offer? You don't even have an offer accepted as of yet.
List agents lose our offers regularly and don't even acknowledge them in many instances. This has turned into an "us vs them" proposition. There are some buyer's agents who have one deal going on and will call and email constantly. Annoying, I apologize for them in advance, I am not them. My procedure is to fax and then scan and email and here is what I say in my email:
"I faxed over this offer this morning but always scan and follow up with an email as I understand all REO agents are swamped these days! I do this for back-up in case the fax transmission is bad. Please let me know that you are in receipt (email is fine, no phone call back necessary) and if you need anything else we will do our best to get it to you ASAP. Buyers Wells PQ does expire today. She is fully qualified through two directs (BOA and Wells) plus ING. She can go FHA or Conventional and she is going Conventional on this one with 25% down plus waiving the appraisal contingency. I have also attached a proof of funds for this to show they can pay over and above contracted price for a low appraisal. If you need an updated proof of funds just let me know! Have a great day!"
I have a hard time getting someone to press "reply" to that email and say "we are in receipt". So I repeat in 24 hours. Wash, rinse and repeat.
Some agents have lots of listings. Like hundreds and maybe even the big players get close to 1000 in any given phase from pre-market to almost closing. I am not jealous, I do respect them and revert back to paragraph 3 if you think I am jealous of all those listings. This is just an open letter on HOW we can make this easier for everyone involved:
We live in 2009, let's change the process and add some more transparency to the process! HELLO?!?! While Ocwen is not my favorite servicer, they are at LEAST in this century and they allow us, the buyer's agents, to submit our offers online. Allow a place for all of your required documents (EMD copy, Proof of Funds, Bank Specific Pre-Approval letter, Offer, Net Calculations) and shoot us an automatic email saying you are in receipt. This will definitely free up some time for those overworked REO list agents and their gatekeepers assistants. Buyers are also allowed to submit their offers directly online without agent representation with Ocwen. Yes, I make less money by allowing buyers to submit directly but many will still hire agents because they don't understand offer writing and submission guidelines. This will also allow the companies to net more by avoiding commission payments to agents. When the mandatory marketing period ends for the listing, pick the top 3-5 highest netting offers for the list agents to eyeball and then make a decision from there. At least we (and our clients) will know our offers are submitted directly the asset management company.. we avoid the extra hoops that the list agents make up..and you can get more offers and net more for your asset!
In uber hard hit areas like mine, Las Vegas Area, large servicers NEED to hire ONE OR TWO persons to manage utilities and repairs and maintence/upkeep. Get this out of the list agents hands! When we get an REO escrow, we have to go back and make sure utilities are on (I show so dang many that I usually can't remember if they are on or not.) 50% of the time they will not be on and they need to be on for appraisal (if a financed buyer) or inspections. This effects your bottom line in HOLDING COSTS. We are ready to roll with due diligence when we get an acceptance but, once again, we are set up with failure because one or more of the utilities are off. We cannot proceed with inspections and appraisal until they are on. Also, appraisals are ridiculous and having a couple of preferred contractors/handymen in your market will make the process quicker. I get it, the buyers are conveying an as-is property. Sometimes the appraiser will come up with a bunch of silly little repairs that are necessary to close. Sometimes these repairs will cost you very minimal amounts. Having your own systems ready also gets you to close quicker.
Send out surveys. PLEASE. Survey the crap out of us. Survey the list agent, buyer's agent, lender involved, title company, etc! Ask us what it was like to submit that offer to the list agent, ask us if we ever even got to talk to the list agent, ask us what response times were, ask us about the title company YOU chose. You may be shocked. I know, some buyer's agents are just annoyed with the process (like me) and may be unfair. If you survey us constantly and those of us that can write fair assessments of the escrow and way we were treated, you will find some consistent responses to what we are dealing with.
Grade the buyer's agents. When you create that website PLEASE grade us. Make us create our user names by our license numbers - not by emails - that way no one can "game" the grading system. Grade us by strength of offer, list price vs offer price, amount of contingencies, amount of concessions requested, close ratio, etc. Maybe some of us can have an edge over the fishers in the system.
It's broke, kids, and it needs to be fixed. I am requesting all buyer's agents who are FED UP AND SICK OF THE SYSTEM to REBLOG this post, print it and mail it to their favorite servicing companies and their representatives in congress OR write your own IN THE NEXT WEEK!!! We are mad as hell and we have no choice but to play the games & take it! (after all they control our inventory). We want TRANSPARENCY!
Thanks and have a great day!
PS here are some resources:
Indymac Quick Response Guarantee (FYI, they are not requiring PAs with Prospect Mtg Anymore) If you don't have a response from Indy within 72 hours call: 877-885-1624
© 2009 Renee Burrows AHWD - SRES - SRS - Las Vegas Real Estate Market Report Blog