When I found out the NAR SFR designation and that the annual membership dues are free if completed before Dec. 31, I signed up and took the all day class last Saturday. The class is the REBAC's short sale and foreclosure class. Most of the agents there were taking the class for CE and I it was a nice surprise for me that I received 6 credits for the class, on top of part of my SFR training. The other half of the SFR training is 3 webminars of 1 hour each.
The class was interested and different from the classes I tood at Five Star or other REO workshops, webminars, etc. This class was gear toward buyer's agents and the needs of a buyer's agent dealing with REO and short sales. At one point it was like a mob forming and ready to take on all the REO agents in Maryland. It was to see the transactions from the other side.
There were several complaints and among them these are the ones that I remember:
1. REO listing agents doesn't return my calls and only wants to be contacted by email.
2. REO agents can't give na answer within 24 hours and buyer's have to wait sometimes weeks.
3. Most REO properties are not in livable condition.
4. REO agents don't clean, paint, repair the properties.
5. Utilities are off.
6. REO agents never call back or talk to buyer's agent, but they only get communication from assistants.
7. Why do their buyers' have to be qualify by bank selling the property.
8. Lack of property pictures on MLS.
9. Why they can't get any REO listings and only a few agents do?
10 Why the bank didn't take the cash offer that was 50% less than the asking price, if it is a cash offer ready to close in 2 weeks?
10. and my favorite," Why is it that the REO agent in my office have 100 listings and he doesn't share with the rest of us?"
I think the problem is that some agents are greedy and they want to swallow more than they can chew, I know some agent's that can't keep on with their listings, offers, etc. and they are doing a poor job to their clients and the buyers, but maybe they are just afraid that if they turn any listings down, they will loose the business. I am not naive I know what kind of business this is.
There is a problem with little knowledge of the REO business by most agents. We need to educate the other agents out there and let them know what we are dealing with so they can also understand our frustrations. For most realtors we are the black sheeps of real estate. Also there were several complains about short sales, but I don't want to go there. I am glad that NAR has taking the step to recognize a designation that deals with our niche. I hope this designation continues to grow and the quality of the content continues to improve. I don't think any agent is ready to go list REO after just completing the requirements for this designation, too much content in too little time and the unique issues of listing REO properties were not addressed. I think the designation should teach realtors more about completing good quality BPO's, what entails to manage and list reo properties, from accepting assignments to evictions, repairs, negotiating the offers, reimbursement, settlement, etc. How to select a good property management company, the eviction rules in every county in the state, etc.
Also I think for an agent to be a good REO agent he/she should have some transactions under the belt as reo buyer's agent and regular listings. Experience is very important and valuable, I hear a broker in my area told a brand new agent to lie in the applications to the banks and tell them that he has more experience in order to get the reo business.
It is also important for agents to learn that there is more than doing bpo's and registering with every bank and asset management company in the world to get listing, we have to continue learning, and developing relationships with asset managers and other agents by attending conferences, dinners. and participating in social networks like REOPRO.
It is good to hear how the other agents feel about us. I apologize to other agents if I ever did something that can be consider rude, or if my clients ever made their clients wait for an answer longer that they were expecting. I have only been listing REO for 2 years and I haven't deal with a buyer in 6 months, but it is easy to forget what it is to be a buyer's agent.
I encourage all agents to take the SFR designation, I knew a lot of the content covered, but I didn't know everything and I learned a lot from the class and my classmates.