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Today was supposed to be the most exciting day for my buyers~the closing of their first home. Well, it did not quite work out that way. Boy, were they disappointed.

A little background....We submitted an offer on an REO property on March17. The offer was accepted by the lender. However, it took the bank almost 30 days to sign and execute the contract. Once escrow opened, we were told by the escrow company that we were not "priority" and we would get escrow instructions within 2 weeks. In about 7 days, we finally got escrow instructions and proceeded with all inspections, etc.

Getting the needed disclosures/documents was almost impossible. The listing agent was not accessible by by email, text and/or voice mail. I could only talk to an assistant, who, was not very well knowledgeable about real estate at all. Most faxes ended up in "la-la" land, so, my only recourse was to personally go the the listing agent's office (at least 3 different times) and sit and sit, until I got my signed disclosures and other documents. Okay, we got through that process.

Oh, here we go again~ with escrow that is. Loan docs were received by escrow. But again, we are told that we were not priority and they woud not know when they would have time to prepare the docs for the buyer's signature. At that point, I requested to speak with a supervisor or manager. That problem resolved~loan docs were signed.

Now, before we can fund, the buyer's funder needed certain conditions/corrections to be made. Again, escrow would NOT respond. And of course, they would always deny receiving any requests via email and/or fax. So, in order to help expedite the waiting period for my clients, I personally made a trip to the escrow office until things got resolved.

Finally, we funded and closed, almost two weeks after the original COE date. I called my clients to congratulate them~ I am very excited and cheerful. However, they were not. This home buying process had sucked the excitement and joy right out of them.

Nonetheless, I scheduled an appointment to meet with them to hand over the keys to their new home. I arrived at the house about 20 minutes before my clients to find that the home had been broken into. Nothing major, but the stove had been stolen. However, this was something that was not going to go over well with my clients. Especially after all of the turmoil that they had gone through up to this point. Yes they were very disappointed.

So, my question is, how do we really prepare our clients about the REO process~all of the unknowns that may occur; unknowns that are out of the buyer's agent's hands? Despite the fact that I continually educated my clients about the REO process, I was not able to prepare them for the lack of the other professionals NOT doing their job. Professionals that were paid for a specific service.

What should have been one of my clients most exciting life event was sucked out of them from beginning to end. Instead, it was draining and frustrating.

Any thoughts or ideas?

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Comment by Jenny Darling-Hampton on June 22, 2008 at 9:35pm
I also agree with Jesse. The buyers do need to be educated in the fact that their is so many REO's that the not only are the banks overloaded but also the agents that carry the listings. Often times the agent with the listing is diligently working on their end but their hands are also tied waiting for the assest managers to do their thing. I want to bring up another problem that I have had several times with the title and escrow companies being out of the area. When the documents are to be signed they make an arrangement for the notarty and loan documents to be signed by a third party. This can add on another $150.00 to $250.00 to the buyers cost. It is important to make arrangement with the title and escrow before time of closing who is going to do the signing. I do attend all signings and try and set up an accomadating title company but sometimes there just is not one around. The title/escrow companies want someone that is approved by them. This needs to be done up front.
Comment by Dee Dawson on June 20, 2008 at 10:21am
I have to agree with Jesse. Delays and unforeseen circumstances happen with any transaction. Stay upbeat and positive and prepare them (back when they are just LOOKING at REOs) for delays. From contract-to-closing, constant contact is important but I don't share every little detail -- only what their next steps are to move forward and close. Same with non-REOs...every little detail becomes a drain, especially for first-time buyers.
Comment by Jesus (Jesse) Gonzalez on June 20, 2008 at 8:33am
First of all, just let me say, I completely empathize with you because I myself have been there. It is just as frustrating to me as it is to my clients when we are at the mercy of others who either decide not to do their jobs or can’t do their jobs due to ignorance or because they themselves are over worked.

I have found it best to educate, educate and then educate some more when it comes to my buyers / investors who are bidding on REO homes. I take off the rose colored glasses and I make it very clear that this process is hard, tedious and frustrating. I find the more I let them in on the process, the more understanding they can be when working with me.

Granted, you have to find that fine line between education and ranting and raving about another agent who isn’t doing their job or another real estate professional who can’t distinguish between their back side and a hole in the ground. Know your clients well enough to be able to discern when they are just tired of hearing about it.

Ultimately, here is what I do….

1. Educate, tell them as much about the process as they are willing to listen to.
2. Extend Deadlines, if the title company tells you 2 weeks, tell your client 4 weeks. This way, when it comes in on time, you can be surprised, right along with them and, work with client who feel the ball is on the move.
3. STAY PROFESSIONAL YOURSELF! This is hard, I know but, we can’t get down in the trenches are start mud slinging. This doesn’t make us look any better. Grit your teeth, bite that tongue and only let good words come from those lips. (granted I don’t always do this myself but, it sounds good…right?)

I hope my insight helps a little…for what it’s worth…lol

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