Offer Submitted in Turbulent Market

Asked by Dreamhome, Citrus Heights, CA Thu Mar 5, 2009

There has been a wave of repo's these days and a rash of people voicing their complaints on this site & others about Listing Agents. Listing Agents saying things such as "We aren't accepting any more offers." to " The property was sold in 2 days."

I have a friend that has submitted an offer on a bank-repo. (They have a Realtor.) However, they're concerned about what's going on in today's market and Listing Agents bending the rules. How would they know that there offer was submitted to the bank? Their Realtor is having a hard time reaching anyone at the Listing Agent's Office and the Agent isn't good about returning phone calls.

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Jeni Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Thu Mar 5, 2009
It's as frustrating to us, the professionals that represent buyers in the industry, as it is to you, the consumers, when a listing agent cannot be reached, when a listing gets high numbers of offers, and when a bank apparently cannot supply a timely and considerate response. I think of it as 'banks' versus 'real sellers'. Banks ignore any notion of business etiquette and even act as though they are above the law, and sometimes it seems that their listing agents act the same way. Yet we, the buyers' real estate agents, must interact with them, on behalf of our clients. It is not a comfortable situation for us. Our clients, the buyers, who long to buy a house, a huge investment of hopes and dreams, as well as money, become disenchanted very quickly with the real estate industry when a nonresponsive bank and listing agent are involved. We can only hope that the listing agent remains true to the ethics of our profession. It is true that bank repos often receive a great many offers, especially when they are listed below market value. And it is true that the listing agents are often instructed by their sellers to stonewall potential buyers.

These bank practices leave consumers to wonder:
"Was my offer really submitted to the bank?" The answer in most cases, is, yes, usually the offer was submitted to the bank, but the banks apparent policy is to be rude to the potential buyers, and to treat potential buyers as if the bank is doing the buyers a big fat favor by letting you make an offer on their foreclosed home.

Guess what? After all is said and done, if you are calm and patient with the banks tricky tactics and purposeful rudeness, and stick to a wise negotiating strategy, you can eventually buy a potentially nice house (after repairs) for an attractive price. It is not easy buying a foreclosed property, but a savvy buyer guided by their experienced buyer's agent can make the end result a rewarding one.

Tell your friend to hang in there.
1 vote
Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Mar 5, 2009
It's a different market than even just a year ago, so working with a full time realtor who is working this market daily helps but doesn't mean we aren't all challenged when it comes to reaching some listing agents. Some who list REO's have 100's of listings (although their inventory is down lately), so they respond best to e-mails or the best way is to reach their administrative team.

Listing agents on REO's vary in terms of responsiveness and overall control of the offer process, but they are still bound by the same code of ethics, and don't want to jeopardize that. In addition, most banks have a measurement system in place and those realtors that have not performed as well have been discontinued from receiving their listings. That's all to say that there has been an 'improvement' in the responsiveness of most of the REO listing agents. 'Bending the rules' cannot be the norm for them to survive and most are pretty straightforward following the instructions of their asset manager.

With that said, I have my own set of complaints with them sometimes, but persistence pays off in getting responses. The buyer's agent needs to keep at them to get confirmation that their buyer's offer was received, and call again to ensure (verbally) that it was submitted. If they are not selected, they have every right to get a copy of all offers and which was selected after the close of escrow, (but not before).

It gets to a point where there is some trust involved, and reputations are important to the REO listing agents as well, in that buyer's agents may not be as interested in submitting offers to them if they are nonresponsive. It comes from familiarity in this market to navigate successfully, which means you need to rely on the expertise of your buyer's agent to know the other parties, know what works and doesn't work for an asset manager to accept your offer, and persistence.

So again, phone or e-mail to the agent or their team consistently normally gets results. If not, call the broker.
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1 vote
C, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Tue Mar 10, 2009
It's amazing how a couple of bad apples spoil it for everyone. Ignoring people is just plain and simple BAD customer service.
0 votes
Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Mon Mar 9, 2009
The name and contact information is always a well kept secret and, as far as I know, never revealed to the buyer's agent, and anyone else. In fact in many cases the listing agent can only respond via e-mail or through the REOtrans system, and doesn't speak directly to the asset manager either.

that's just the way it is. Your friend's realtor cannot reach the asset manager...I"d put a good sized bet on it, no matter their experience in working with REO's. It requires patience in this market, and we do undertand the frustration because we all feel it.
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0 votes
Dreamhome, , Citrus Heights, CA
Mon Mar 9, 2009
I just got off the phone with my friend.

Still no response from the Listing Agent. They already asked their Realtor about going to the bank asset manager. From what I understand, their Realtor is not an REO expert, but otherwise a great Realtor. Their Realtor doesn't know who the bank asset manager for this property or how to get hold of that person. Any advice?
0 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Sun Mar 8, 2009
Erin's strategy works well enough when the property in question is listed by a normal real estate agent. (Bank owned or not) However. There are several agents who carry dozens to hundreds of bank owned listings. Some of these people are great to work with and act pretty much like normal agents, despite the heavy load of work and team handling of listings and escrows.

Then there are a few hard to get along with guys like a listing agent that I will name by his initials J.B. -

J.B. demands that offers on his listing only be faxed, and informs us upfront on his voice mail, and in the agent confidential remarks that he will not answer any questions about whether the offer has been received or if it has been seen by the asset manager. He refuses to talk directly to buyers agents until the contract has been "verbally accepted"

Erin, have you been able to present contracts directly to Mr. J.B.?
0 votes
Erin, , South Lake Tahoe, CA
Thu Mar 5, 2009
Dear Dreamhome: Yes, it is frustrating for Buyers in this market of bank owned properties. Keep in mind that your agent has the right to submit the offer directly to the Listing Agent in person. I do this for all of my Buyers whether it's a bank owned listing or not. To take it to extreme measures, your agent could even "make sure" the asset manager at the bank gets the offer. Your agents should have a strategy for just that.

The bottom line, is you need an experienced agent who is accustomed to representing buyers in this market of bank owned homes to go to bat for you. Ask you agent what they will do to get your offer reviewed by the Seller (the bank asset manager).

Good luck.
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