September 1, 2014

Growing Your REO Business

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Growing Your REO Business

Here are five traits that successful REO brokers and agents have in common.

Bank-owned inventory is slowing nationwide, but markets with higher levels still exist and are in need of REO agents and brokers to service them.

According to Clear Capital’s Home Data Index, over the last 3 months (December 2013–February 2014) 14.3 percent of all sales were REO. While this percentage has improved, it’s still higher than precrisis levels, which hovered around 3 percent. At the metro market level, many still see elevated REO saturation rates.

  • Chicago: 25.6%
  • Detroit: 25.1%
  • Dayton, Ohio: 24.2%
  • Miami: 18.7%
  • Atlanta: 17.9%
  • St. Louis: 17.4%
  • Cleveland: 16.5%
  • Columbus, Ohio: 16.5%

Listing REO properties continues to be a relevant, highly sought-after skillset. Brokers and agents with this expertise should make it known to those in need – that might mean changing the way you market your business.

Asset managers seek out brokers and agents through their own database, referrals from their current agents, local mortgage contacts, Google, or networks. Because time is of the essence, many reach out across all channels to find the best fit.

REO brokers and agents want to be found so they can start building this relationship, earn business and trust, and become part of an asset manager’s database.

After watching REO brokers for more than a decade through my work with, I notice the most successful have these five traits in common:

1. They market themselves across all channels. They are marketing themselves online and at conferences, expanding their networks — whether on social media, like LinkedIn, or at one of the major REO conferences. They continue to nurture these relationships, engaging online throughout the year, by phone, or in person on the exhibit hall floor at conferences. Because the Internet is a key channel, marketing-savvy REO brokers and agents ensure their online profiles are updated, as well as licenses and insurance. Their bios always promote their REO experience, services, and education, and include a professional, friendly photo.

2.They have a positive attitude. REO brokers and agents are a pleasure to be around. They view their jobs as helping people (and helping banks). They are problem solvers. They also have good relationships with their competitors, but always try to be better than their competition.

3. They always answer their phones. Asset managers don’t call to leave messages. They call because they have business. By answering the first time or returning a call promptly, an REO broker or agent is telling a potential client that they are reliable. Additionally, when they first make contact, they also ask where the asset manager heard about them, so they can measure their marketing efforts and learn what’s working.

4. They go above and beyond.REO brokers and agents are more valuable than the property they are listing. They build relationships and are always working them. They are in it for the long haul, and because of this, they will take the low-profit listing today because they are focused on building a long-lasting relationship. They treat each asset as if it were their only and last property.

5. They represent you and your business well. Every bank, asset management company, credit union, or hedge fund has specific requirements. The best REO brokers and agents read their agreements thoroughly to ensure they meet every requirement and deadline. They want to get it right the first time, to make their client’s day easier.

For 11 years now, I’ve helped brokers and agents grow their REO business, and they are some of the hardest-working folks in the real estate industry. It takes a whole lot of elbow grease and a big heart to list REO properties. REO agents are the folks who have run into squatters or criminals during an occupancy check. They are the brokers who, in the hospital after giving birth to twins, are on the phone with their asset managers to keep up with their property files. And they are the ones who have found snakes in the mattress while putting together their BPOs.

But REO brokers and agents have done an excellent job of redefining themselves as the real estate market has changed. They’ve built and maintained their businesses from the ground up. And they are the same people who have great stories of helping people and communities through difficult times.

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