Is the "Mega-Listings" REO Agent on the Verge of Extinction?

By
Real Estate Agent with Utah Homes 9334967-SA00

Tyranosaur by SophieIn cities where foreclosures are on the increase you'll find agents clamoring to become an REO listing agent.

They envision the possibilities: Offers galore and multiple pendings.

However, how does one break into the business?

The reality is this: There are very few agents handling the vast majority of bank owned listings.

And their responsibility is not completely rosy.

Among the issues these agents face are these:

  • They may be required to pay for power, water, plus light maintenance and fix-up.
  • They will need to do a great deal of due diligence to price, submit, re-price, counter, etc.
  • Keeping all the properties processed quickly is a must... slip up and you lose your listings.
  • Say hello to long hours and mounds of paperwork.
  • Other agents may complain about you and call you a monopolist.

I realize many agents may see the above list and say, "I'll gladly accept that challenge. Sign me up."

Around the country, especially in the high-foreclosure cities, there's a rumor mill. The rumor is this:

"Pre-approved short sales are on the way."

Currently agents will short sale a home if the owner owes more than the home is worth and is unable to keep up with the payments. Market forces dictate this. If the house meets the criteria, the agent and seller fill out the required paperwork, list the property and forward offers to the lender. The lender, if motivated, will send someone to do some due diligence. This third party will let the bank know their opinion about the home's value.

This process is cumbersome.

The longer the bank waits, the more likely the buyer will lose interest or the home could lose value.

In short- the short sale system is broken.

Banks are searching for a better way.

In my opinion (and I'm not alone) it would be better for the bank to decide a price. Then the listing can be treated much like a bank owned property. The buyer will have a better chance of purchasing the home if there are more clear indications from the selling party.

If, or when, banks decide to move to pre-approved short sales, the market should be one step closer to equilibrium. Home values will be easier to predict and fewer homes will go to foreclosure.

It's baffling to me why the banks haven't already gone ahead with this plan.

Who wins?

  • The buyer. They'll be able to feel more comfortable about their offer in terms of timing and price.
  • The home seller. Fewer will go to foreclosure- thus shaving considerable time off their credit restoration.
  • The short sale listing agent. They'll be able to provide more firm/less nebulous advice.
  • The bank. They should be able to cut the depth and length of their loss due to foreclosure.

Who loses?

  • The mega-lister. They'll have fewer listings.
  • The middle man who negotiates loan mods, investment cash deals and data exchange packages.

What's your opinion?

Are we inching toward pre-approved short sales?

Are you for or against it?

I have nothing against the mega-lister... as long as they are able to shoulder the load in a professional manner.

However, I feel we'd all be better off if the short sales process were fine-tuned.

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Chuck Willman is an Arizona based real estate agent specializing in bargain properties. www.AZvest.com.

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Photo Credit: Tyranosaur by Sophie

Comments (65)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

There is a basic problem with the so called "pre-approved" short sale.  They have "pre-approved" a price.

I've made offers on "pre-approved" short sales and unless the offer comes in at the "pre-approved" price, they don't entertain it.

BANKS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO SELL REAL ESTATE.

They believe that by "pre-approving" a price, that there will be no negotiation. 

HA!  Tell that to home buyers who listen to the news. 

Feb 11, 2009 08:11 PM
Anonymous
Danell Merren

Great suggestions, Chuck! Your ideas make a ton of sense. I wonder though if the banks will catch on!

Feb 11, 2009 10:32 PM
#48
Anonymous
Carol Marra

I think you touched a collective real estate raw nerve that we are all feeling right now.  I have always felt that this process is a__ backwards.  Banks need to tell us what they will accept and not waste our time by letting us guess what that number is.  They should also pre-approve sellers - don't make everyone - sellers, agents, buyers, etc. wait to see if they qualify.  As an agent, I feel that there has to be a better way.  Write your congressman!

Feb 11, 2009 10:57 PM
#49
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Chuck, this is a brilliant insight.  It's too bad that the banks don't have the brilliance to figure out the same thing...

Feb 11, 2009 11:12 PM
Anonymous
Anonymous

The pre-approvals that were previously discussed in the industry only apply to Fannie backed loans being serviced by Countrywide.

www.INeedShortSaleHelp.com

 

 

Feb 11, 2009 11:56 PM
#51
Anonymous
Stephen Smith Re/Max Communities

The current system of mega listing agents inthe REO arena is hopelessly outdated and broken.  They don't work weekends, they work nine to five, and they don't seem to care that "buyers" are in control of this market now.  Until this cozy arrangement by a few well connected REO agents with their equally clueless lender clients is broken up, it will take 5 times as long to clear up the incredible backlog of present as well as future foreclosures. Most of them don't want to "rock the boat" and chance losing their clients' business.  I believe that no one agent or team can possibly manage or work effectively more than 25 listings.  Share the worlkoad and we can get things moving across the country.

Feb 12, 2009 01:22 AM
#52
Eldad Moraru
www.findbuyers.com - Chevy Chase, DC

Not all agents are created equal and that is certainly true with REO's and short sales. My experience has been that 20% of these agents do 80% of the business. Some are truly GREAT to deal with and others have no business being in business.

 

Feb 12, 2009 01:37 AM
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property

Your post discusses two very different topics.  First, listing for REO's is difficult and requires time and a lot of attention to detail.  I know this first hand.  But, they are usually guaranteed to sell listings as the banks are pretty motivated.  Due to the sheer number of foreclosures in my area there seems to be new agents stepping into the REO ring.

The Short Sales system should definitely be revamped and many times it is the banks fault that these sales don't consumate.  They drag their feet so long and proceed with the foreclosure eventually selling it for less than they could of otherwise.  A typical left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing scenario.

Feb 12, 2009 03:37 AM
Buffy Creekmore
Keller Williams Prime Team - Lexington, TN
E-Pro Broker in Lexington Tennessee

Chuck, this is excellent and I hope it helps a lot of people understand the process isn't a cake walk. From my experience working with my broker who has been doing foreclosures for years you hit the nail on the head about the paperwork and accounts. Shory sales are not going to be any better since even though foreclosures aren't perfect it still is a system, and I don't thing short sales even have that yet, It seems if you hit the right person on the right day it will approve. I have experienced the agents who don't answer or return calls and it is frustrating for everyone.

Feb 12, 2009 03:45 AM
Anonymous
Craig Chapman

You have hit the nail on the head.  And as we blog Fannie Mae is in the middle of a pilot program for "pre approved short sales" in the Phoenix Az area & in Florida.  From my understanding they started the program in December & are running it through mid March.  Indications so far are that it is going good, with the houses in the pilot program getting bank approval on offers anywhere from 3 hours to 2 days typically.  Is that kool or what.  The lender, Country wide in this case is rerquired to get a BPO ahead of time that they use for the list price & if the offer is at, or close to the list it gets an automatic approval.  The listings have to say Fannie Mae pre approved short sale in the listing. Oh, & they say one of the requirements is that the lender quit dinking with the commissions too. They say if it goes well they are going to extend the program & expand it to other lenders & maybe Freddie Mac as well.  If it all works well, I can't see other investors sitting there & not joining in.  Potential flaws yes, but so far it looks way better than what has been comming down the pike.  This could get intersting.  Time to start thinking about turning off the negative attitudes towards short sales, just around the corner.  We can hope.

Craig Chapman

Solutions Real Estate

CraigsHouseDeals@yahoo.com

 

Feb 12, 2009 08:22 AM
#56
Logan_Utah_Real_Estate_ Cache_Valley_Homes_for_Sale
RE/MAX Excel - Logan, UT

If it works that would be great. Short Sales aren't realy working right now. I've had an offer on a short for 3 months and don't think it is going anywhere. I'm the buyers agent, so there isn't much I can do, but call the listing agent and bother him every now and then. I think my buyers will walk soon if the bank doesn't do something.

Feb 12, 2009 09:32 AM
George Low, REALTOR, GRI, ABR, SRES
Creative Property Services - Santa Rosa, CA

Utah, On short sales, don't feel that you're bothering the listing agent on a short sale.  You're serving your buyer as you should trying to help move the sale along.  Usually I'll send an email once a week or two and then forward the response to my buyer.  This also lets the listing agent know that your buyers are still interested and helps keep your offer in front of them.  Then hopefully the listing agent is also contacting the lender frequently as well.

Feb 12, 2009 11:00 AM
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN
423/948-9154

A pre-approved short sale would be great if all lenders had an excellent system in place that streamlined the process and allowed for a 30-day close.

Feb 12, 2009 11:55 AM
Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

I certainly didn't expect this little post to generate so much response. I appreciate that people from different segments of the market have chimed in. To the mega-listers- I understand your case load. To the loss mitigators- ditto... I don't know how you are able handle the quantity of files that find their way to your desk. To the buyer's agents who submit the offers- I wish you well as you seek answers where there appear to be none. To the short sale listing agents- may you find the ways to ease the process. To those wishing to short sale your home- my sentiments are deepest with you... a successful short sale still means you're losing your home- I hope you land on your feet. To the banks... I see that you're trying to figure out ways to make short sales and REO properties move through the system. Bottom line- this unprecedented mess has us all wondering about the best ways to address and fix the system. I see that there are no shortages of ideas and opinions... hopefully we'll come through this market with better knowledge- so that, should we find ourselves teetering toward the conditions that got us where we are today, we'll be able to avoid the mistakes.

Thank you one and all for your very insightful comments.

Feb 12, 2009 12:02 PM
Charles Fischer
Housing Market Realty - Merritt Island, FL
Professional Real Estate Services

Chuck:

As an investor and married to a licensed agent, I get both sides.  I think pre-approved shorts would be a step in the right direction, I agree it needs to happen, We are seeing shorts at the sherriff sale auction, highly unusual, but a sign of banks that are FULL of REO's and trying to dump them FAST.  Pre-approved shorts will hurt me as a cash buyer, but will help my wife as an agent ,so its a win-win here.  Its all about positioning!!

Feb 12, 2009 01:30 PM
Bonita Malone
Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
GRI, SFR, CDPE

Wow! This is one of the best discussions I have read in a long time. Lots of good input. I am not a mega agent, I had a few REO listings last year, and learned a lot. I do not know if I would ever want to be a mega agent, I like being able to balance everything and do a great job for my clients. I want to be around after this cycle ends and that means keeping my reputation good with past clients, and with fellow agents.

I have heard more rumblings about short sales becoming easier, but I will believe that when I see it. If there weren't so many properties with 2, 3 or more loans on them, maybe it would be easier, but getting all lenders to agree to the short sale is a major headache.

 

Feb 13, 2009 04:12 AM
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

Great discussion, ideas, etc. But I have to point out that everyone is talking (or writing) like the banks own the foreclosed home or the loan on the short sale. They don't! Banks wrote the loans and sold them to investors - remember. Getting a short sale approved is a difficult and lengthy process because the investors don't want to take it in the shorts. Investors are holding the entire process hostage. I've seen some properties where the investor group paid off the bank loan choosing to try to sell the property themselves. It has now been on the market close to 400 days without a price reduction! When it was first listed, it was $100,000 over priced - now it is closer to $250,000 over priced and still sitting there. Most of these investor groups are peoples retirement funds invested when the market was booming - they took huge risks for huge returns. Now they are hoping they can hold on until the market turns around - they don't understand that until they get out of the way and let the market work it can't turn around!

Feb 13, 2009 07:54 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Chuck, hallelujah, this is something that makes so much sense, banks/lenders/investors will probably never do it.  It doesn't matter to me who owns the loan, if it's the lenders, then they are the one's who need to set a sales price on the short sales.  That gives buyers, homeowners, and agents a place to start, and something to go with.  Right now the buyers and sellers are so far apart, and negotiations take over 6 months, buyers who were interested are not interested by the time they receive a response.  One, because the value of the short sale has probably dropped at least another 10% since the original offer was made, and two, because the buyer probably got tired of waiting for a response and moved on to another property to purchase.

Feb 13, 2009 04:55 PM
Anonymous
Vivian Hooton

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     I am an REO investor. Coming from the other side of the table I  see in front of me behaviors, both good and bad, which so many have described. Michael Dumas, Tampa, FL, poster #35, is right on as far as I’m concerned.  Now that I am associated with an agent in California who is organized and methodical we have made many offers. The cleanliness of the offer, dotting the I’s and crossing the Ts seems to work. I don’t know if my lowball offers have spurred activity from the lenders yet it looks like that was the case in one scenario. 

As Chuck said, “Who loses?-The middle man who negotiates loan mods, investment cash deals and data exchange packages.” This scares me.  I depend a lot on my realtor. I’m sure he appreciates my business also. Because banks are acting as realtors this is great cause for concern.

Vivian Hooton, BuyLowREO.com

Mar 25, 2009 04:53 PM
#65
Anonymous
Vivian Hooton

I apologize for the garbage in the top of the post. I did spell check in Word and had no clue it would carry over. Without a preview option I unfortunately subjected you to all that.

Mar 25, 2009 04:55 PM
#66