Home Buying in California>Question Details

Denise, Home Buyer in California

REO specialist vs Regular RE agent

Asked by Denise, California Wed Sep 10, 2008

What's the difference between an REO specialist and a regular Real estate agent? Does this make a difference when trying to purchase a bank owned/REO or short sale home?

Help the community by answering this question:


Short sale is when the home is listed for less money than what is shown on the mortgage(s). Typically in a short sale, the lender is asked to 'forgive' the difference between the sale price and the value of the loan.

If you are considering buying a short sale property, keep in mind they tend to take longer than REO properties to close as both the homeowner and lender have to agree to the sale (as opposed to REO's where the lender is the owner).

And short sale properties can be much harder to close, when compared to REO properties. According to a local estimate, only on in three short sales ever get through closing.

please feel free to contact - http://reohomes.org/
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2015
Here is an interesting article about experts/specialists by Bob Hunt;
Real Estate Regulation Warns Against False Claims of Expertise by Bob Hunt

Not long ago the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) posted on its web site a warning regarding "False and Misleading Designations and Claims of Special Expertise, Certifications and/or Credentials." Written by DRE Chief Counsel, Wayne Bell, the warning is directed both to consumers and to real estate licensees.

The introductory section states, "The DRE has noticed an increase in the use of questionable and possibly misleading terms such as ‘expert’, ‘certified’, and ‘specialist’ in the marketing and advertising of assistance to anxious homeowners in connection with their home loans and foreclosure rescue services and short sales." To be sure, it also notes that "Claims of special expertise, specialization and certification are lawful and permitted if they are accurate and can be substantiated."

The paper advises consumers to be "wary and cautious when thinking about retaining the services of people or companies calling themselves ‘specialists’, ‘experts’, or ‘certified’ in the areas of mortgages, lending, foreclosure rescue, and real estate. As part of the caution consumers can exercise, they are advised to ask questions. A twelve-question list of the kinds of questions that might be asked is provided: "How many transactions or services of the type you are advertising have you successfully performed?" "What qualifies you as an expert? How did you get that expertise?" "What are the requirements for certification or specialization?" It is emphasized that the twelve-question list is not exhaustive.

Also provided are the addresses for the DRE and the State Bar web sites, as well as the suggestion that consumers do Google searches on the individuals who are soliciting their business.

Turning to agents, the author notes that, under California Business and Professions Code (section 10177(c)), disciplinary action may be taken against a licensee who has knowingly advertised "a material false statement or representation concerning his or her designation or certification of special education, credential, trade organization membership, or business…" As a matter of fact, the paper points out, it is a violation to willfully use "the term ‘realtor' or a trade name or insignia of membership in a real estate organization of which the licensee is not a member."

The warning to agents does not provide advice on how to check out a course, individual, or sponsoring organization that offers to provide some sort of certification or designation. While it is regrettable that such advice is lacking, it is understandable that it is.

I know that at least once a week some such offer will show up in my spam file. "Take this 3 hour course for $99 and earn your designation as a short sale cowboy!" "Become a certified foreclosure rescue hero! Sign up today for the $149 correspondence course." Etc.

While my own comfort zone doesn’t extend much beyond programs offered by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) or the state Realtor® associations, I hasten to acknowledge that there are lots of good courses and programs offered by persons and entities outside the Realtor® organizations.

But the point remains, agents should be cautious about plunking down their hard-earned dollars for courses and programs that offer various designations and certifications. Try to check them out beyond the advertising fluff. Ask around. Try to find people who have experienced the course or program. And not just the ones whose endorsement is on the brochure.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
REO Specialist is a generic term. The more real life experience/Closed REO transactions is the only TRUE measure of their expertise. Almost every agent will claim to be an REO Specialist as they may have taken a class, closed a couple REO transactions in the past etc. Determine how many closed REO transactions the agent has. REO is much different from traditional Real Estate transactions. A true REO Specialists would have a minimum of 100 closed REO transactions as proof they are what they claim to be. Having closed less than that, they probably should not be making this claim. In our mls there are approximately 700 agents. Only 5 of these agents specialize in REO. One way to locate a true REO Specialist would be to search HUD homes and find which agents they have in the zip code you are shopping. These HUD agents were well qualified to become a listing agent with HUD. You can also search for listing agents with the banks directly. Wells Fargo for example has 3 agents in our area, Indymac/OneWest Bank has only 2. If an agent claims to be an REO Specialist but also boasts of their traditional real estate experience, think twice. A true REO specialist is so busy these last few years, they do not have time for traditional Real Estate
Web Reference: http://www.REOmamma.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010

Take care when considering a "REO specialist" since many of them are self proclaimed and actually have much less experience than a "regular RE agent" when it comes to these transactions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 22, 2009
I believe that a good REO agent has financial experience be it from mortgage lending, loss mitigation or asset valuation. It also helps to have closed a couple short sales. REO itself is not that scary, it simply has no TDS or seller repairs usually. To negotiate with the bank we must think like the bank.
Web Reference: http://www.skyminor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 21, 2009
If you are contemplating buying an REO property, a conscientious agent will be able to handle the transaction. An REO specialist is valuable to work a short sale going into REO because they have established relationships with the banks and also because they have implemented systems to follow up with the banks which are different than the systems in place for follow up with regular people.
Web Reference: http://www.MariaTMorton.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 14, 2008
I agree with Nina. I am certified by the department of Real estate to be designated as a "short pay, short sale and REO specialist". When dealing with REOs, there is a lot to keep track of, there is lot to beware of on behalf of our clients, and one has to be quite patient . It is not enough to know about these things, one has to offer excellent service and be able to be thorough and on top of the transaction at all time. There is many ways to deal with REO because it basically depends on the requirements of the beneficiary, the lender. Each Bank has their own system. You have to bend to their requirements and follow their instructions. Every deal is different.
My opinion is that you don't get a good deal for nothing. You have to work hard at it. And it is very important to have a very good system in place. Believe me!
Web Reference: http://www.muriellevin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 14, 2008
Hi Denise,

Someone who handles enough REO's and has some training, may call themselves "REO Specialists".
But a Realtor who is thorough, organized and has their finger on the pulse, and follows the process that the Bank requires to aquire the property for the Buyer, can do an equally good job!
I am closing on an REO property for my Buyer this week in SJ, we had a good transaction!
If I can help you meet your needs, please feel free to contact me,
Be well and safe, regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 29, 2008
just get a good agent
better yet get a broker
see below
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 10, 2008
An REO specialist has been trained and is experienced in handeling these types of transactions. There are differences between a "regular" sale with a "regular" seller and a sale where the property is owned by a Bank. This is not to say that a competant, knowledgeable real estate agent would not give you wonderful customer care if you purchased an REO property with that particular agent. You could receive equally wonderful service from either agent. Does this answer your question?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 10, 2008
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