Just as Felix and Oscar had to learn to live together despite their different styles so do real estate agents and asset managers. Thrown together by a real estate market in turmoil agents and asset managers seem to have total different work styles and yet here we are both trying to service customers and trying to sell houses.
Many agents are used to working long hours and often during busy times 7 days a week. When we list either a short sale or foreclosure we quickly learn that asset managers don't work the same hours we do. In fact asset managers don't work weekends, usually the busiest time for agents. So when we receive an offer on a property the chances are that we will be faxing the contract into an empty office and waiting days before it goes from one inbox to another before an asset manager is assigned to handle it.
It is easy to understand that lenders were initially caught off guard by the significant number of foreclosure properties that hit the market and were understaffed. As time has gone by and lenders have a handle on the current number of foreclosures and should be able to forecast the next 90-180 days, asset managers are still overwhelmed by the number of files they have to handle and still are working banker's hours. The result is frustration of both sides of the house.
Do I expect one asset manager to be on call 24x7? No! Not even the craziest of real estate agents works without a break. Do I expect that a team of asset managers should be available at least during normal business hours 7 days a week? Yes! In our current market lenders should revamp their staff and the hours they are available to coincide with the reality of the market.
As agents the only thing we can currently do is tell our clients and fellow agents to be patient and wait. For buyers being patient isn't easy to do. In fact if we did a survey of the number of properties sitting on the market today because a buyer gave up and moved on it would probably be high. As a listing agent calling an asset manager who can't give you a basic answer about the file in front of them for weeks requires us to continue to market a property, answer questions and listen to complaints from everyone involved in the deal of far longer than we should.
It is time for lenders and asset managers to make some changes in how they handle the properties they have been assigned to sell. Properties could sell faster if the answers we need come in a timely fashion. It means looking at how your business is structured and making changes to be available during the time that agents need answers. We can stop being a pain in the side of your staff if you consider taking a look at how you respond to our requests for information.
Felix and Oscar eventually learned to live together by making changes in how they communicated with each other. This relationship isn't forever but for now we need each other. We want to move your inventory just as much as you do. So how about it? Can you make yourself available on the weekends so we can get your homes sold?