America's Largest Social Network for Default Real Estate Professionals
The Short Sale Tsunami.
If you have been waiting for the REO Tsunami since 2008 - 2009 but have been a little down that no "Tsunami" ever surfaced...well, you're not alone. In fact, many of us (Experienced REO Agents) would say it's not a Tsunami we are waiting for, it's the end of the REO Drought that we are hoping for.
Well, I wrote a blog yesterday about some chatter I have been hearing about banks wanting to create a preferred short sale agent list and don't exactly know how to go about it and this blog is a follow up to the one yesterday.
Banks and other default real estate portfolio holders are burdened with so much government regulation that they are almost completely abandoning REO. Now, I am not saying REO is dead, let's face it, it will always be with us but, it isn't going to look like anything any of us will be able to recognize in early 2013. This is because these banks are being told that if they don't "save" more homes or at least give the impression that they are truly trying to "save" more homes from foreclosure, they can expect more stress testing, more political demonization and possibly a closer look from the FDIC. Now, this may sound like something straight out of cold war Russia or Eastern Germany but, it's a fact and scary enough, it's backed up by law. Now, I won't go much into that at the moment because this blog isn't focused on that but, look it up yourself, study the Community Reinvestment Act and you will get the point.
What we end up with is a stressed, overwhelmed banking industry who is settling multi-million dollar lawsuits, from all over this country, trying to bow to political regulation (Note I didn't say government regulation) while trying to make a profit.
One of the biggest contributors to why REO has dried up is because of the moral hazard this country has been playing with since the housing bubble burst and that is, "how do we save people from foreclosure?" Yes, I called it as I see it and that is a moral hazard. The truth is, you can't "save" someone from foreclosure unless you plan on paying their mortgage for them. Otherwise, the mortgage holder is going to have to have an income, prioritize his debts and start paying them off. If he can't do that because of whatever reason......then foreclosure is the hard, stark reality.
Granted, in a normal market place, foreclosure would be fine, in fact, here in Tennessee, we have laws that specifically protect former owner occupant equity in foreclosure action however, we aren't in a "normal" market in the fact many of us are upside down and thus, no money to be had in foreclosure...only expenses. This is what brings banks to the bargaining table because now they are forced into loss mitigation regardless if they want to or not. Hence, short sales.
What many people just don't get is that a short sale is simply the most cost effective disposition of a non-performing asset in a negative equity market place. For this reason, and others previously discussed banks are holding back REO.
Now I have painted the picture, you should understand that the REO drought is from...
1. Political Pressure
2. Government Regulation
3. High Unemployment
4. High Cost of Foreclosure
5. Negative Equity Marketplace
6. Loss Mitigation Strategies Implemented by Banks (keeping people in their homes even though they haven't made a payment in 12+ months or better yet, putting them on temporary loan modifications that are supposed to be only 3 months but end up being 24+ months or better yet, holding onto vacant abandoned properties and not proceeding to foreclosure.)
So, what is the solution, how do we get banks and agents together to dispose of these homes? Well, it seems no one really knows...
(Refer to my earlier blog: http://reopro.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-liability-of-a-preferred-...)
Now, I do have a suggestion and that is because it's working for me here in my service area.
I work very closely with local non-profit housing crisis centers who sole responsibility is to "save" people's homes. These non-profits are contacted daily by ready, willing and able defaulted owner occupants who need help. These non-profits do all they can to help but, about 73-76% of the time, the people they work with either default off their programs or just can't qualify for help due to lack of income and as such, are sent to me for short sale.
Granted, my cooperating non-profits can't come out and just say, we recommend Jesse but, they do give the struggling homeowner about 3 preferred Realtors and on that sheet of paper, we provide our service areas and then the homeowner gives us a call accordingly. After that, it's on us to make the best impression and win the listing.
From that point, we work very closely with the housing counselor over at the non-profit because most of the time, they have collected all the necessary paperwork I need for the short sale and in fact, have already contacted the bank telling them that the homeowner will be short selling. This way, the bank is informed, knows exactly what is going on, expect to hear from me and by the time I call, it's all good.
Using a non-profit is a great way to reduce agent liability, manage risk, educate the defaulted homeowner and keep in the good graces of the bank. Yes, we have some unique challenges in the area of risk and liability in our cooperation but, nothing we were able to conquer or reduce by disclosing in writing and getting all appropriate signatures.
None the less, this industry does have very specific needs and I truly feel that some companies out there who specialize in default customer contact (if you don't understand what I am hinting at, let me know, I will be more clear in a reply) will likely lead the way but, even these procedures can be umbrellaed under a legitimate non-profit.
All in all, my point is, I really think we are going to start seeing the development of non-profits to truly reach out and initiate short sales. This will be a strange but, positive movement for our industry and I think it will really have a great impact on homeowners. Now, I know some of you are already doing this in your local areas and are seeing a lot of success. In fact, some of you have even created very robust networks of professionals, much like I have done here locally so, when this industry shifts, we are ready. For those of you who didn't see this coming or even now, can't imagine this every happening....I challenge you to keep a very open mind because, it's a great business plan, with or without bank participation, you still end up making really good money, helping out your community and offering a free market solution to a crisis that already has too much government / political regulation.