Home Buying in Phoenix>Question Details

A Canadian I…, Home Buyer in Phoenix, AZ

What are the differences between the 'foreclosure specialist' as compared to the service offered by a real estate agent?

Asked by A Canadian Investor, Phoenix, AZ Mon Jun 27, 2011

There are so called " foreclosure specialist" in the market, stating that they will help their clients to bid for the foreclosed house? They will charge a flat fee e.g. USD 2,500 for each successful house acquired. I understand that the real estate agent can also make offer on the foreclosed properties.

I am a Canadian looking for assistance to purchase investment properties (single family house costing less then $90,000) in the greater Phoenix AZ , including Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert region. I wonder where can I get advice from?

Help the community by answering this question:


A foreclosure specialist facilitates the process by which homes and commercial properties are reclaimed by banks and other lending institutions due to non-payment of mortgages. He may assist the homeowner, lender or new purchaser in the procedures or provide help to all three parties. Real estate companies and banks often employ foreclosure specialists. A person in this profession may also offer his services on an independent, contractual basis.

A real estate agent, as defined by Cambridge Dictionary, is a person whose business is to arrange the selling or renting of houses, land, offices, or buildings for their owners.

Web Reference: http://foreclosureprocess.net/foreclosures
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2016
Foreclosure specialist is a Marketing term to appeal to a specific sector of the market. Any realtor worth their salt can do a foreclosure. Having said that, I work primarily with buyers, builders, developers and commercial. I love what I do! When I get a customer who has a repo, or a flood home, I refer them to a co-worker known as "the flood queen". She loves doing foreclosures, where I find it to be arduous. So yes, all realtors can do foreclosures, if you're not one who loves doing them, refer your customer who the person who will give them the best service for that particular facet of real estate.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 21, 2015
There are so called " foreclosure specialist" in the market, stating that they will help their clients to bid for the foreclosed house? They will charge a flat fee e.g. USD 2,500 for each successful house acquired.

These are Trustee Sale bid services. The companies that offer this service are incredibly versed in the process of purchasing a property at Trustee Sale. I wouldn't recommend trying to purchase homes at Trustee Sale without the help of one of these professionals. A lot of them offer title searches and "drive reports" so you know what you're getting into before you go.

I understand that the real estate agent can also make offer on the foreclosed properties.

Real estate agents can put offers in on foreclosed properties. These are properties that have gone back to the bank (REO) because they were not purchased by someone at a Trustee Sale. They are both great options for someone looking for a good deal on a home in the valley, and a couple of the bid services offer conventional real estate services as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 6, 2011
I have not read the other questions, so I apologize if I repeat. There are two things to look for when seeking help with foreclosures. One, is they should have a license to practice real estate in Arizona. Second, is they should have specific training in distressed properties. If the person or company charges a flat fee, this may be proof that they are not licensed. Real estate agents in Arizona are barred from charging flat fees when a buyer makes an offer on a home. An agent's commission comes from the sale of the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 4, 2011
Most times there is no difference. Talk to a few and hire one who is experience and can help you with your specific investment strategy.

Carlos J. Ramírez, PC, ABR, CNE
Associate Broker/Realtor, HomeSmart –
Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 28, 2011
Kudos to you for asking questions before committing to invest. You will find a wealth of information on this website and by asking questions here. Most people will provide you with useful and pertinent information.

Now back to your question. There are two types of "foreclosure specialists" on the market:

1 - one is a real estate agent that dedicates most of his time buying and selling foreclosed homes. If you are on the buying side, you will typically not be required to pay him anything as he will get paid by the listing agent. From what it is worth, this will look like a regular transaction where you submit offers through your "foreclosure specialist". Similarly you are going to find agents that call themselves "short sales specialist", or "luxury home specialist", or even "neighborhood specialist".

2 - the second type of "foreclosure specialist", and likely the one you are referring to, are folks that specialize in helping investors and retail buyers bid on properties during the trustee's sale at the courthouse steps. As you probably know, when a property is foreclosed it is auctioned at the courthouse steps. Many investors and retail buyers hire the services of bidding companies to bid on their behalf. Most bidding companies will charge a flat fee, usually ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the amount of work they do for the investor/end buyer. The cheapest ones will typically provide a list of properties and let you choose the ones you want to bid on and for how much. All the analysis and research is done by the investor/end user. The most expensive ones will do an analysis and provide the investor/end use with a detailed spreadsheet with a suggested bid.

I work with investors and have helped them analyze deals before bidding on the trustee's sales. The challenge is that once they release the list of houses that are going to be auctioned you don't have much time to do your analysis. And in some cases they even remove or add houses to the auction at last minute.

Trustee's sales used to be a great deal because very few people knew about them or felt comfortable bidding. Recently it seems that every week there are new bidding companies popping up and offering their services to investors and end buyers. Some even offer regular training courses to educate buyers on the process. Nowadays it seems that more and more houses are being sold at the trustee's sale close to retail value. Having said that you can still find great deals as long as you do your analysis and is willing to let properties go when the bidding go over your maximum price.

A number of my investor clients that used to buy at trustee's sale almost exclusively, are now also buying bank owned and short sales.

One other thing with trustee's sales is that there are instances when the house is sold and the homeowner is still living in the house. When that happens it is very rare that you will be able to see the house before bidding and if you win, you will need to evict the person. And some homeowners will damage the property when they move out. So the property you receive after the trustee's sale may not be in the same condition as it was before the sale.

I am a real estate investor myself and I am familiar with the whole process. If you feel you need additional information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

And if you would like to take a look of a list of homes in our major cities, you can go to http://www.MyFirstHouseAZ.com and search by city, zip code or price range. You can also filter by bank owned, short sales, and HUD homes.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Jose Dias, REALTOR
(623) 418-5700
Realty One Scottsdale
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
Usually nothing. If you count all the deals that most of us have to do with Banks or REO companies, if you are still in business you should be a "foreclosure specialist" by now. It is probably a advertizing ploy. Like Luxury property specialist or any other specialist.
Find a buyer's agent you trust and work with that person exclusively.
Best of luck, my Canadian friend.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
I know a great agent in that part of town named Jerry. I would stand behind him as a solid referral. I have referred business to him in that area for 8 years and always get good feedback. Get in touch with me through Trulia and I will connect the two of you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
I think each agent advertising "Specialist" is doing so from a different perspective. In many cases it could be more of a Marketing ploy than a true representation of one's ability and specialized focus. I know that a few designations I have earned through the years recommend I market myself as a specialist in one area or another simply because I took the designation class. One person or another might have a large amount of experience in a particular type of transaction making them an expert in that area, just ask for verifiable facts to back the claim. I earned a designation on time in Relocation that by that companies standards allowed me to market myself as a Relocation Specialist when at the time I have never worked with a single Relocation Company or Client. I later gained those experiences, but at the time, and being a new agent I Marketed myself as a "Relocation Specialist" which looking back on feels like more of a joke than a reality.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
I think you may be referring to the Trustee Sale or foreclosure auction in which the bank offers the property for sale to a third party. Yes, real estate agent can bid on a property at these sales but it is very difficult to be successful unless you are extremely familiar with the process and very few are. I have several very active investors I work with on a regular basis and we even use these companies, though for about one half of the fee you mentioned. I would also suggest including other methods of finding your investment property. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to a good investment at the auction. Too many bidders driving the price up. My investors and I still include the auctions in identifying a potential property but are actually finder better deals elsewhere.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
From what you have said I would not recommend one of the "Specialists". They may simply be rerpresenting HUD properties that do require an online bid but somehow I don't think so. I would recommend you find a Real Estate Agent to assist you with your search in the areas you are interested in. Who ever you decide to use, make sure they are licensed to sell Real Estate in the State of Arizona. You can go to the ADRE website and look up the name of any agent who is licensed in the State. I do not work in the Phoenix marketplace but I would be happy to help you find an agent if you need assistance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
You can get great advice from anyone here but ultimately you need to make a choice as to who is going to help you and stick to that agent since they are investing their time in you.

In regards to Foreclosure specialist.. it is a word that is all. Most agents in our market are very familiar/ knowledgeable but some more than others. Just take some time to talk to a couple of agents and go with who you feel comfortable with.,
Web Reference: http://www.tedcanto.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
Most likely the "foreclosure specialist" is also a real estate agent trying to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field.

If I were you I would ask any of your Canadian friends who are already buying properties in AZ for referrals to competent agents.
Web Reference: http://www.MyHomeQuest.org
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
Dear A Canadian:

Hello, homes that sell at auction (usually by banks) are riskier and require cash. These speciallists will buy the home at auction for you and charge you a flat fee. This type of purchase is riskier and you should know what you are doing. Many of the properties have been abused. The buyer beware factor is key here as you must inspect all of hte properties you are bidding on before the auction.

During a purchase contract through a Realtor a buyer is not bidding but submitting a contract to be accepted. After the contract is accepted you have a period of time (to be determined) to inspect the property with your inspector and decline to move ahead and receive the return of your earnest deposit if the property is not as you expected. Also, a purchase contract gives you the abilitiy to purchase with a conventional loan if you are not buying cash.

The banks tend to list many of their foreclosed properties for sale through a Realtor that are in better condition. Properties that cannot be financed due to serious flaws (roof, malicious damage, plumbing, electrical) have to go cash auction as a conventional lender will not lend on some of these types of properties (with exceptions).

For more information on Canadian buyers purchasing in Arizona: http://arizonahomesland.com/canadianbuyersarizona.html

Jeff Masich, Realtor
Arizona Homes and Land
Web Reference: http://ArizonaHomesLand.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
A "foreclosure specialist" is typically just a Real Estate agent claiming to have lots of experience working with buyers (and sellers) on foreclosed properties. It is important to choose an agent who has experience with these transactions to make sure you are protected when going through the offer process, inspections, etc. and who can give you proper guidance. Of course many agents who are active in today's market SHOULD be very familiar with these processes as well.

Please feel free to let me know if you need additional guidance, as our team does specialize in working with Canadian investors, such as yourself. You will see we are featured in this month's Canadian Real Estate Magazine and also participated in the Jurock LandRush seminar this past February.

Best Regards,

Shannon Cunningham Smith
Keller Williams Professional Partners
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
Sometimes property wholesalers buy foreclosed houses at auction, and charge you the buyer's commission for the sale of the property. I regularly work with investors in that price range- and can help you find a property without charging you that fee (since I get my commission from the seller instead).
If you'd like some information about the properties, including some YouTube videos of some of these houses that my clients are bidding on, send me an email at bja1987@gmail.com, or call me at 602 319 8085. Also see that you're from Canada- I will be in the Vancouver area July 6-11, would you happened to be in that area?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Brian Anderson
602 319 8085
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
It sounds like you need an agent who specializes in investment properties. These can be bank owned, short-sales or regular purchases. I work with several out of state investors on both single-family and multi-family purchases.

I would be more than happy to assist you. You can email me at jcohen@hsmove.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
Sometimes a foreclosure specialist means that the agent has done additional training or it can mean nothing at all. Real Estate has a lot of designations and some are meaningful and do reflect additional training others are obtained just by paying a fee. I think what you are referring to here though is someone who will go to the auction and buy the property for you for a fee.

My real estate practice is tailored for investors and we specialize in the special circumstances for buyers from other countries. I have work with quite a few Canadian investors on a regular basis. If you would like to buy properties at the Trustee sale, I do have a service I use and I can help you determine what your top price should be for the property.

If you would like to discuss further, you can call me at 602-330-1840.

Fred Shocklie
MoreChoices Real Estate LLC
Web Reference: http://www.morechoices.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 27, 2011
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