This month, we talked to FORCE member Dustin Raye, REO Director and Broker Associate at Spyglass Realty and Investments, about what makes an REO agent indispensable.
What is an agent’s role in asset disposition?
Being a successful REO agent requires you to wear several different hats all at once. These hats come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. And many of them can be quite uncomfortable at times. As a servicer’s designated REO agent you are entrusted with an astounding array of responsibilities from the moment the initial assignment hits your desk, up until the asset closes and potentially thereafter as circumstances dictate. It’s no understatement to say that you are the primary boots on the ground–the eyes and ears of the servicers/GSEs/investors; on the front lines ready, willing, and able to face head on whatever comes your way.
What do asset managers expect of agents?
The expectation is and should be, you will do your job all professionally, efficiently, and better than any of your peers. Your capacity to be an expert in several fields including property preservation, maintenance, contract repairs, evictions, communication, negotiations, marketing, real estate sales, etc. is what asset managers covet and what helps to minimize investor loss. Your investment in continuing education is what will keep you at the top of your game and elite in your field.
How do clients find you?
One of the many advantages of the numerous REO disposition platforms is broker visibility. In the past, if you wanted to make yourself available and discoverable to asset managers, you had little choice but to dig, claw, fight, research, and do whatever it took to find out who may be responsible at a given institution for assigning assets to REO brokers. With the new platforms, you can upload a professional bio, resume, photo, certifications, references, professional documents (E&O/GL, licenses). You can declare which geographic areas you service down to the ZIP code. Many of the platforms allow you to pay small (or large) marketing fees so that you are one of the first agents seen when an asset manager begins searching for a broker to whom they intend to assign a property. This can all be done without leaving the comfort of your desk.
How do I get assigned assets?
You receive an email where the subject reads something along the lines of “New Task: Accept/Decline Assignment.” In theory, many of your clients allow up to 24 hours for you to accept the assignment in their system. With that in mind, be aware the asset is not yours until you accept it in their system. This is your first opportunity to let the asset manager know you’re on top of it while also securing the asset assignment. Every effort should be made to accept the assignment immediately. With web accessibility in the palm of your hands, rare is the occasion when you’re unable. Upon acceptance of the assignment, it is generally a good idea to send the asset manager a short message thanking him or her for the opportunity and letting them know you will begin working the property promptly and with great urgency.
How has REO changed?
Despite what you may have heard as of late, REO is still an amazing field to specialize in. Volumes may be down at the moment, but the tools we have available to us afford us the opportunity to execute at a higher level than ever before. Being able to leverage these will set you apart and make you indispensable to not only your clients but to your broker/team as well.
Any final words of advice?
Don’t forget to send a thank you note to your asset manager/client after closing letting them know how much you appreciate the opportunity and how much you look forward to working with them again. Also, make every effort to register on every platform you can find. If you can afford it, make every effort to attend at least one REO specific conference every year. Doing these things won’t guarantee business, but it will no doubt greatly increase your odds.