Deciding to work with a BPO and/or REO company should be a two-way interviewing process. Brokers and agents eagerly try to get into the business by randomly completing the online or hard copy application process then several weeks or months after completing a BPO, act like a disgruntle employee by complaining to others because he/she/they did not get paid. Well, how much research did you do?
You should never leave your business and services to chance and hope. Neither will pay your expenses nor will it guarantee that you will be paid. So what do you do during the initial process while researching and signing up for BPOs and REOs?
1. Review the company history (website, financial data, etc) and read what others are writing on various forums.
2. Randomly send out inquiries to ten or fifteen brokers and agents (in and out of state). If a broker or agent "outside" of your area/state freely gives the thumbs down, the company may not be a benefit.
3. Check with the Better Business Bureau where the company is located.
4. Run a $19.99 D & B check. http://www.dnb.com/us/
5. Inquire with some of the title companies or closing attorneys in your area. What do they have to say?
6. If you have noticed that some of the big firms or a top agent no longer service a particular company, chances are the asset management company is a slow payer and/owes big bucks.
7. Talk to some of the property preservation companies in the area, are they being paid in an appropriate amount of time, 14 - 60 days or 60 - 365+ days?
8. Review the company's service agreement thoroughly. What are there terms, what is the process for accepting BPOs, how do you submit BPOs, are there any documented instructions, are the BPOs also guaranteed listings (if listings are what you are seeking), what is the rating system, etc?
9. How are the BPO and REO process handled? Is it managed through a user-friendly system such as RESnet, IAS, REOTrans, Wells Fargo, or Citi Residential? Let's hope that they are not on the fax or email system whereas it is assumed that your fax or email is received before the deadline and not afterwards.
10. Know the phone, fax, and email for Accounts Payable. Get a name if possible.
11. Cost - review the cost. If you are going to pay big bucks to join, you should be getting a huge return on your investment. Yes, it does take money to make money but you don't go broke in the process. If you are paying by the zip code, be selective with the zip codes. Don't select areas where there is a high mixture of residential and commercial properties unless you service both.
12. Customer service - if you call customer service, is the person on the other end receptive, confused, rude, or hanging out in the twilight zone and need to walk toward the light?
13. Read the reviews of your peers. Are the compliments and/or complaints legitimate?
Take your time when researching BPO and REO companies. Don't assume that working BPOs and REOs is a piece of cake. All of the agents I work with are hard at work at midnight and back online before the sun comes up most days. It's called dedication. Reaching that level of success did not come overnight. There were a lot of bumps, bruises, missed school events, late dinner, and delayed vacations that paid the price. I'm sure many of the veterans have other questions that should be ask. These are a few I have been faced with over the past five years when I research companies and make general inquiries before wasting my time with the application process on behalf of brokers and agent.
ARE YOU REALLY READY TO WORK IN THIS INDUSTRY?
Food for Thought!
Carolyn Dobbs, www.reobookkeeper.com
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