By Deborah Ball Kearns, RE/MAX Times Online Associate Editor
Getting yourself noticed by asset managers and bank representatives who assign REO listings is a formidable undertaking these days. The key is knowing exactly what they want and expect from you. So let's ask them.
Denver-based Integrated Asset Services handles a high volume of REO accounts for dozens of lenders across the country. Two of IAS' top officials, Patricia Doll, REO Timeline and Performance Manager, and Julie Veit, Vice President of Vendor Management, offer gold-nugget, inside tips on how to get your foot in the door:
What qualifications should I have?
* At IAS, we look for three to five years of listing and sales experience.
* Experience doing REOs or, at the least, BPOs. Being able to value properties and track them correctly is a must. Agents are constantly monitored and held accountable for their values.
* Distressed property training, such as the CDPE or SFR.
* Solid references from past BPO or REO clients, title companies, past customers and your Broker/Owner.
* In highly competitive markets where REOs abound, we prefer agents who are seasoned in working with REOs.
How do I make the first point of contact with an asset manager?
* Be creative in order to stand out. Asset managers are bombarded with e-mails left and right, and it's tough to break into the REO market.
* Most asset management companies have general contact information on their websites. E-mail is one of the best ways to get noticed.
* Follow-up your initial e-mail with a phone call after a week or so. That gives the asset manager time to receive and read your message.
* Network with other established REO agents. They're more likely to put in a good word for you and help your chances of getting in the door.
* Follow up once a month with a short, simple e-mail to the companies that aren't hiring so you can keep your name out there. That way you'll stay in the running when they are ready to hire.
What should I send to an asset manager when I apply for listings?
* A resume and a brief statement letter explaining your listing and sales abilities and why you want to work the REO market.
* Copies of your license, good references, certifications and marketing materials.
* When sending marketing materials, think outside the box and be clever. Someone once sent a single flip-flop to get her foot in the door; another agent sent her information on a fruit roll-up. When you introduce yourself in a unique way, asset managers tend to remember you more.
* Make sure your materials are succinct and on-point – especially your statement letter. Don't be overly aggressive or criticize other agents in an attempt to get more business; it doesn't work.
How do I stay on your list?
* Asset management companies look at your overall experience, particularly your timeliness, work quality, responsiveness and communication skills. Focus on exceeding an asset manager's expectations every time.
* You have to be accessible and proactive in order to be successful in the REO market and gain more business.
* Earning continuous distressed property training and designations such as the CDPE, SFR, ABR, CRS, GRI or SRES, shows that you're learning new ways of doing business.
* Communication is imperative. If your inbox is constantly full or you never answer your phone, that's not acceptable. Agents need to be accessible. If you're unreachable and complaints are filed, the asset could be reassigned.
* Knowledge of your market sets you apart. On some BPO reports, agents list a property at $100,000 when it's only worth $50,000. Don't do spread values; that tells the manager you don't know the market. Instead, submit values that are realistic and will help actually sell the listing.
What else should I know about doing REOs?
* We look for agents who can complete tasks on time because the deadlines we set are driven by the client/bank. Being late on tasks counts against you.
* Make sure you submit complete reports (BPOs and/or monthly marketing reports). If there are mistakes or information is incomplete, it delays the entire process to send reports back for corrections.
* E-mail is the fastest way to reach asset managers, and it's typically the industry-preferred method for documentation purposes.
* If a complicated issue or unique situation arises, then pick up the phone and discuss it with the asset manager. Be proactive and offer solutions to problems that might arise.
* We want to see all offers, regardless of the price or terms, to show our client everything that's coming in. Make sure the buyer's agent has done their homework and that the buyer is pre-qualified and has a pre-approval letter.
* Communicate with all parties (the asset manager and the buyer's agent) about the offers. Asset managers want to see a complete list of contract terms along with the full contract package at the time of submittal. Continual submissions of incomplete packages could put you at risk for losing future assignments.
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