Reimbursement management is very important when working with REOs. It builds a relationship with the REO bank and a committed relationship with your vendors. Too often, brokers and agents will put the invoices in a pile or box and pray for the reimbursement fairy to come along and make it disappear through automatic submission.
HELLO! That is not how it works!
Working with REOs is a very serious job and should not be taken lightly. Each REO bank has its own policy. You cannot deviate from the guidelines and assume that you or your vendor will be reimbursed. You cannot build a team of providers when you ignore invoices and expect the vendors to idly sit in the background and wait months for payments for jobs completed on properties that are under contract or have been closed.
Managing Reimbursement Tips
1. Set aside one hour daily to assemble your vendor invoices or hire an assistant to work part time.
2. Use an online program for invoice submissions (Drop box or MS Workspace Live).
3. Do not use your general email address to receive invoices. Setup a separate email address and make sure it is the only email address used by the vendors. Setup a rule within your web mail program so all emails will be sent to a specific folder and not mixed with other general emails.
4. Require each vendor to submit all invoices within two calendar days.
5. Require all vendors to include the invoice number and full property address on each invoice as well as the service date next to EACH line item. All invoices should be itemized.
6. Require before and after photos for all jobs including initial lawn cuts, de-trash (interior & exterior), securing, repairs, replacement of appliances, etc.
7. Processed all invoices upon receipts. Input all accounts payable into the bookkeeping system daily.
8. Setup a master account with each utility company.
9. Save time with paperwork by paying your invoices once a week and using checks with vouchers. The voucher will list all invoices for the vendor with the property, amounts, invoice number, and description.
10. Use QuickBooks Pro to manage your reimbursements and setup each property as a project/job under the client account (reo bank).
11. Update your vendor and client contact information upon notification.
12. Keep digital copies of all W-9 for easy submissions.
13. If the bank uses a word, pdf, or excel reimbursement form, pre-type the vendor information or create a macro that will fill out each form or the form main headers.
14. Convert forms to fillable PDF documents.
15. Record receivables immediately so you’re A/R aging is up-to-date and accurate.
16. Follow-up on all A/Rs weekly and submit monthly statements to the REO bank.
17. If the invoices must be mailed, use priority mail, Fedex, or UPS with signature confirmation. Know which invoices were mailed in the batch.
18. Retain copies of all invoices submitted with the submission dates.
19. Get involved if your reimbursement specialist is having problems getting a response from the reo bank.
Build a process to ensure that everyone is paid and happy!
The REO Bookkeeper