This letter is to all the banks, servicing companies, management companies and realtors who sell foreclosure (REO) properties. I know your jobs are not glamorous or cushy. Most of the time the only way selling these properties makes sense financially is to handle them like an assembly line. I get that. For the banks, I understand that it is your property and your rules for selling should take priority (without conflicting with fair housing laws, real estate laws or ethics) so long as you give proper notice along the way.
I just represented a client who is a union “shift” worker. He made an offer on a really nice foreclosure (REO) home Sunday and checked with me Monday before he went into work to see if I had “heard” anything from the listing agent. I had not, other than getting confirmation of receipt of his offer.
He has to be at work and without phone (it is a manufacturing facility) before his shift starts sometime between 3 and 4 pm. At 3:57pm that same day, the listing agent’s office emailed me telling me the seller was looking for “highest and best” by 8:00am the next day. I saw the email after 5:00pm (no call, just an email) and tried to reach my client although I knew he would not get my messages until after his shift, if then. I finally got in touch with him Tuesday morning early and revised our offer, but it was almost 10:00am (and after the “deadline”) when we could complete the task and return it to the listing agent. I do not know if it was even considered.
When did the courtesy of at least 24 hour or a full business day’s notice for a reply fly out of the window? Do the banks and management companies hold so much power they can ignore a whole class of people who may not work from 9-5? Do shift workers and those whose work demand they be without phone or internet deserve less opportunity because they happen to work when the banks (and many of us) are finished with their day? Do the listing agents and brokerages need the business so badly, they will pass on any stupidity the banks ask them to dish out. The listing agent’s office assured me they were only “doing what we are told to do”. Would any realtor accept this kind of behavior from an individual? Should we accept this behavior as the “new norm”?
I think that agents who choose to work with those clients need to stop the banks and management companies from being unreasonable with time frames and lax with notice. It may be a “hurry up and wait” world now, but not at the expense of reasonable notice and certainly not if it may discriminate against those who do not work from “9 to 5”. Suppose the email had gone to my spam folder? The courtesy of a phone call or text to mobile is not too hard a task to ask listing agents (or their assistants) to do for those they need to notify. Especially for shortened timelines.
All the “too short” notice does is create friction between listing and selling agents. When I get an email at 4pm to “jump” by 8am, I question whether I am the last to get an email or I am getting an abbreviated notice to aid another offer. I tick the other agent off when I question the notice and the timeline. I may be angry with the seller and his representatives, but I can only convey my anger to the their agent or their broker. No good comes of it for now or for future relationships. And I am sure I am not the only agent to feel this way. How can we be expected to be respected as “Realtors” if we ignore best practices for a single class of client?