Luis Guzman, Broker/Owner of Continental Realtors, shares his advice for agents new to the REO market. He says education and attention to detail will be instrumental to your success.
Getting Started in REO
REOs are handled differently than traditional sales and require much more of us than expected. Prepare to succeed by educating yourself—this way when you receive your first assignment, you’ll have an understanding of what will be expected of you.
Start by getting your Five Star certifications if you don’t have them already—Five Star certification programs are industry-recognized and lenders are familiar with them. Then, begin performing BPOs. While they may seem insignificant, BPOs are often the best way to get your foot in the door with some lenders and asset managers.
You will be rated on metrics the clients already have in place, so this how you can show your market expertise. It’s important to conduct the highest quality work possible all of the time. The higher your rating the higher chances you have in landing an assignment.
Handling Your First REO Assignment
First, just relax. You’re going to be jumping with excitement and your heart will be pounding, so just take a deep breath and step back.
Read the assignment instructions thoroughly and carefully—then read them again. Clients spend a lot of time and resources preparing instructions, forms, and even training. They usually supply you with everything you need to perform your tasks, and if your mistakes are due to not following directions, that client may reconsider offering you another assignment.
Regina Shaw, Broker at Intero Real Estate, tells us how agents can receive more listings. Though there is no magic formula, she does have some proven tricks.
Tips for Receiving More REO Listings
How do agents get more listings? This is the 64 million-dollar question because there is no magic potion or spell that can ensure consistent inventory and listing frequency. The following tips have worked for me in this ever-changing arena.
Maintain a high level of visibility, without breaking the bank. It is more difficult to get an REO listing if no one knows you’re out there. The more banks and AM companies that know who you are and that you specialize in distressed property management and sales, the more likely you are to get that call. A word of caution—visibility can be costly and ineffective if you don’t take the necessary time to research the right vehicle for promoting your brand.
Consistency is key. This involves doing a job better than your competitors, going the extra mile, paying attention to the small details, and being thorough. Typically, when an AM works with a rock star agent who checks off all the boxes just mentioned, they share your name with other AM’s in the company who might be working with a different investor. If you have relationships directly with banks, they often keep you as an agent even when they frequently change asset management companies. This, too, can be an opportunity to show your worth and impress the new AM company.
Register on multiple REO management and agent networking sites. Join as many as possible—sites such as Equator, RES.NET, Dispo-Solutions, and REO Network. Many banks, investors, and asset management companies require their REO properties to be managed through web-based management sites. Many of these sites are free, but most charge a membership fee to become more visible or to manage one of their listings even if you received the assignment from another source.
Do BPOs—conduct as many as your schedule will allow. Many REO assignments come from relationships with AM companies who also manage BPO’s for the banks. Notice, there are many companies that just do BPO’s and have nothing to do with REO sales. If you are only interested in getting more REO assignments, ask the BPO company if they also manage REO properties. This will give you the information needed to make the best decision based on your professional goals.
We asked Hugh Morrow, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Preferred of Alabama, for his advice regarding referral marketing in REO. His top recommendation for gaining new business is to make asking for referrals your top priority.
Establishing a Strong Referral Marketing Strategy
Expanding your network through referrals requires a strong system, strategy, and commitment. When considering expanding your network, the first step is to evaluate the referral system you have in place for your present network. Establishing an initial connection is the easy part, and then you need a contact data management system in place to track interactions and when you should reach out to that contact again.
Capitalizing on Current Contacts
Before pursuing network expansion, you must confirm that your present network is tapped out. A good referral network should net you a minimum of two hard prospects each month out of 100 referral clients. If you are working hard and not making enough money, something is missing.
To increase revenue, you will probably need to obtain a higher average referral sales price and/or increase your lead-to-close ratio. The number one thing you can do to capitalize on your current network is to ask for the business—everyone knows someone in the market.
Expanding Your Network
To expand your network, you can expand revenue by ensuring higher quality leads or actively working to increase the quantity of leads you receive.
Apply your tactics for receiving referrals from your current network to new contacts or new market categories like property management, retail, commercial, institutional investors, etc. The referral ask is the same, just modified to match the workflow of that product or service.
Expand your network, first through whom you do business with. If you do not ask for a referral, then why would anyone consider referring you? You must always ask for new business—and this takes commitment.