Why Do I Need A Real Estate Agent To Find Real Estate Listings?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executives VA0225060364, MD638478

In the spirit of consumer awareness.

This morning, I received an online lead from the 3rd party vendor that our "big broker" contracts with for foreclosure leads. The customer was interested in a property that was listed as "bank-owned", or "REO". However, the property is not bank-owned.

Now, I don't think for a minute that the vendor is being deliberately misleading, but, this property was purchased by a real estate investment firm at a trustee sale in Oct 2011 and listed for rent from Dec 11-Feb 12. The listing was then withdrawn from the MLS, probably because they either rented outside the listing agreement, or they are readying it for sale at a later date.

Now I have to call or email the customer and explain to them that the property is not actually for sale and why. As a RE/MAX agent, I feel that this sort of thing damages our credibility as professionals, and it perpetuates the stereotype that we like to pull the old "bait and switch". WE DON'T. Its a matter of public courthouse filings data being processed by machines that can't tell the difference between an investment company and a financial institution. The only properties available for sale by real estate brokerages are listed in the MLS. Otherwise, they are for sale by individuals or companies unrepresented by a broker.

To get the low down on how these sites list property and the entire foreclosure process, you need to talk to a live human being. A realty professional can explain the general steps in the foreclosure process from notices to trustee sale, to REO (the state of being bank-owned) to market. Oh, by the way, a pro can also tell you the ways to AVOID foreclosure altogether. There are about 9 different ways. CAUTION: Only a lawyer can give you legal advice!

You can search a bank's website for available homes, but banks do not sell properties directly to consumers. They list their assets with reputable brokers for sale through the MLS to the public. (Banks do, however offer properties for sale through a trustee when an owner defaults- the property is sold at the courthouse steps or a "sheriff's sale". If there are no buyers, the bank becomes the owner. After that, it is listed for sale by a contracted broker.)

Even though 97% of consumers start their home search online, the vast majority end up dealing with a human being professional to get it done. And who wouldn’t prefer a human over machine?

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Cathy Valdiviez Baumbusch, REALTOR. Licensed in VA, MD, and DC. 

Red Dress Realty at RE/MAX Executives

DIRECT: 202-630-2MOV 

8442 Old Keene Mill Rd., Springfield, VA, 22152

2704 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22301

Cathy has lived in the DC Metro area since 1996. She currently lives in West Springfield, VA. Licensed since 2001 and serves clients in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Cathy's service area includes Fairfax County, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church in Virginia and Prince George's, and Montgomery County in Maryland., and of course. 

Cathy has an excellent track record getting short sales approved and closed. Cathy can also facilitate buying and selling real estate anywhere in the world. 

Cathy is a VHDA Certified Trainer and she has taught classes on buying short sales, HUD homes, and foreclosures and social media marketing classes through Fairfax County Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education Program. 

Cathy is a retired Army Reserve Major and an accomplished singer with a rock band. She resides in Springfield, VA with her dog and cat.

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Comments (3)

Lehel Szucs
All Seasons Real Estate, Inc. - Covina, CA
REALTOR of choice

some good points here ... these third party websites that exist to collect leads and sell them to real estate agents have very outdated data .... the really bad part is that they post data from public filings and make them look like actual listings ... aaaaaaaargh

you are right that the best source is a real estate professional

Apr 30, 2012 01:17 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Cathy, I found a lot of these foreclosure sites don't have accurate information any way and it makes it hard on the agents to explain why they may have sold 6 months ago or are just not available.

Apr 30, 2012 01:36 AM
Cathy Baumbusch
RE/MAX Executives - Alexandria, VA
If you want to stand out put on a red dress!

I agree Lehel, I refuse to pay for leads because my company provides leads for free. However, the foreclosure listings are provided through the third party. Of course I have to subscribe to the third party's website (at a discount) in order to research the "listing" that the consumer is seeing.

Debbie, that's exactly true.

Apr 30, 2012 01:58 AM