Im a first-time homebuyer, looking to take advantage of the current market condition.

Asked by Timothy, Atlanta, GA Tue Sep 16, 2008

I have been looking on the Internet for homes with I-285 (PERIMETER). I am ready to purchase, being that I have been pre-approved for a 30 year fixed. I didnt know that searching for a home was so conversome. I have subscribed to a couple of websites to assist me in this endeavor. But I am finding it hard to communicate with the REO Bank. I dont know if they are not taken me serious. They dont return calls in a reasonable timeframe. Can anyone help me?

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Hank Miller, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
Hi Tim,

Under no circumstances should you go in without a buyer's agent. In almost every situation there is no fee for buyer representation and as a first time buyer you will benefit from professional assistance. DO NOT deal directly with the listing agent of a property as you will not have client level representation - that listing agent is legally bound to represent the best interests of the seller, not you. While they are expected to do no harm, their interest is not necessarily your best interest.

REO properties are like picking gum out of Brillo - under the best of circumstances they are difficult. Most reps feel no obligation to honor time frames, terms of contracts or even understand client courtesy. They are so overwhelmed that customer service is just gone. It is usually a miserable process from start to finish and one best left to experienced agents to handle for you.

I know the business of dealing in the REO field both as a broker and certified appraiser, if I can help just let me know. I have a ton of info on my website and if you have specific questions about the process or particular homes feel free to email me - I do a significant amount of work via the web and I understand the internet buyer very well.

Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certfied Appraiser
REMAX Greater Atlanta
3 votes
Adam Bailey, Agent, Worcester, MA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
In 9 out of 10 cases you will still need to use a buyers agent to get access to the properties. 99% of all foreclosures are listed with a Realtor and any agent can show them through the mls. You won't have any luck communicating with the banks directly because they are just to busy. They barely communicate with the listing agent thye have hired to sell it for them.
3 votes
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Sat Sep 20, 2008

Don't buy a foreclosure just because it's a foreclosure. Don't buy REO properties just because they are readily available. Don't buy just to buy. Don't believe the hype about up and coming areas and don't take any wooden nickels from somebody who wants to sell you a website subscription with a rich database of information filled with people who don't call you back.

Criteria - what? where? when? how many? how much? Set realistic expectations.

Terms- how much of somebody else's money are you willing to spend with that pre-approved 30 year fixed? Whose name is on the letterhead? Do you have the skills required to handle this purchase yourself? Do you care? What do you really care about when you sign your name to the contracts and deeds?

Network - who is working for you and with you to help to maximize your capital preservation?

There is no such thing as "Timothy's reasonable timeframe."

Interview some agents and shop that 30 year fixed...
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1 vote
James Dudley, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Wed Sep 17, 2008

Buying an REO takes a lot of patience. Loss mitigators for banks are overwhelmed with these files and it takes time to process. Even though your are a serious buyer and have been pre-qualified it does not speed up the process.

The bank does want to sell you a home, but they just cant keep up with the volume in todays market. HUD homes are a good option to consider. You would be surprised at the quality of homes and condition of some of these properties. In addition you will be able to close in 45 days or less!

James Dudley
ERA Sunrise Realty
1 vote
Solomon Gree…, Agent, Duluth, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
My post somehow disappeared, but it entirely relevant to this thread, so here it is again.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center recently surveyed over 4000 readers who bought a home. It's interesting that the results found what home buyers have been told repeatedly. Sixty six percent of that total who used an agent paid significantly less than the price listed than the 34% who did not use one and instead chose to negotiate their own deals. For more information on why home buyers should consider their own representation, visit:…

In addition, most foreclosure properties show, "as-is, no disclosure". However, a good agent will get concessions despite that "as is" nonsense. My last buyer got a home warranty, closing costs, repairs and all kinds of things because she had an agent that knew how to get those things for her. I'd too would like to offer my services. Further, with your status as a first time home buyer, it is important that you be made aware of the assistance programs that are available that could get you into more house for the same low monthly payment. Read the blog at the referral link below for more information.

Finally, there are essentially two MLS services serving the Metro Atlanta area and their links are below.……
All my best
1 vote
Eric Reid, Agent, Duluth, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
As an REO agent I have to tell you the "wants" you represented, it protects them from you so to speak.
If something goes wrong you have to go through your agent then their agent to get to them. The bank has budgeted for you to have an agent represent you and as you can see from below everyone wants the job.. So interview a few find one that fits your needs and let them do the work so you can enjoy the experience.
Think of it as going out for dinner.. you pick the type of food then you pick the rest aunt .. but heck you don’t go into the kitchen and cook the meal do you ?? let the cook cook and the Realtor Realtor and the buyer buy.
1 vote
Bill Piper, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
Buying a REO property is a different animal altogether and not for the inexperienced. All REO Brokers are difficult to deal with because there's is a numbers game. Some are harder to deal with than others. An agent experienced in negotiating REO purchases will protect your interests in all aspects of the transaction and will work to get you the best deal possible.

Additionally, REO properties can have lots of surprises in terms of repair and maintenance issues that you may or may not be able to see. Having an experienced pair of eyes looking over the homes with you can save you money and frustration. Also, have the home inspected once you have a binding agreement, during your Due Diligence period, so you can bail if you find something you don't want to deal with.

That brings up another issue. REO properties generally need some amount of work to make them liveable, although there seem to be more that are "move-in ready" these days than there used to be. Are you going to do those repairs yourself? Do you have experience at that kind of thing? Are you going to pay a contractor to do the repairs? Do you have cash set aside for that or will you need to get a mortgage that includes repair money? Lots to consider when you are looking at REO property.

So, Timothy, out of all the thousands of agents in Atlanta, and all the hundreds of agents that participate in Trulia Voices, eight have responded to your request for advice, free of charge, with no obligation, in hopes of earning your business, or that of another potential buyer. Some have directly asked for your business and the rest have just let it hang out there unspoken. Will you be considering any of these eight to be your Buyer's Agent? Every real estate agent I know wants your business. A few of us are willing to earn it.
0 votes
Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008

Welcome to Georgia Real Estate.

Most all homes are listed.

You want feedback and communication hire a good Realtor to help you through the process to represent you.

As an REO Listing Broker, the dual commission would be good, but possibly not good enough to deal with your questions and deal with you when you make mistakes.

I'm surprised they don't assign you a buyer's agent, but I haven't noticed listing companies doing that yet....

A good Realtor can at least keep you up to speed on the process and let you know what is going on.

Good luck.
0 votes
Tony Teixeira, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
You being pre-approved is one of the first steps to take when looking for a home, you'll be taken more seriously with that in hand, so kudos to you for doing that.
Looking for a new home is cumbersome and that's why it's so great to find a great realtor.
Interview some realtors if you have the time. And, remember, if you are not happy with the realtor you pick, you can always get another one, even if you have signed a brokerage agreement (you'll have to officially sever the agreement). As far as not getting calls back, does the Bank know that you've been pre-approved?
There's a lot of complacency out there right now, on the part of lenders, homeowners and realtors. I don't think you're going to find much of that with the folks that are actively answering questions on here.
Feel free to call me with any other questions.
I'm well versed with homes inside and outside the perimeter.
My team is the #1 Keller Williams team in Atlanta.

Feel free to call if there are any other questions or if we can be of assistance.
Tony Teixeira

Muffley & Associates
#1 Selling Keller Williams group in Atlanta 2007
#2 Selling KW group in South East Region 2007
#21 Selling KW group in the Country to date 2008

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0 votes
Tori Lawson,…, , Fayetteville, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
Hi there. I recommend you work with a REALTOR to assist you through the buying process and communicate for you and most importantly watch out for your best interest. REO properties can require alot of patience as not all of the banks have quick turnaround times to respond. Please advise if I can be of further assistance. I would be more than happy to help you in your search.
Tori Lawson ABR
Prudential Georgia Realty
Web Reference:
0 votes
David McEach…, Agent, Peachtree Corners, GA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
I will be more than glad to help you. Dealing with REO banks take a lot of time and patience. They are run over with loans and houses they are having to deal with and the companies just move at a certain speed. Part of the job of the realtor is to work with the REO's and take as much frustration away from the buyer. REO's are used to working with realtors more so than individuals and that could be why you are having little luck with them. Just to let you know I am a native Atlantan so I know the inside Perimeter market very well and would love the opportunity to discuss it with you.

David McEachern
Keller Williams Realty Chattahoochee North
0 votes
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