How to Become a REO Agent
With foreclosures having reached unprecedented heights,
lender-owned property inventories have risen across the country.
For real estate agents, handing lender-owned properties can be an
abundant and lucrative source of listings.
According to Simply Hired, as of 2011 the national average salary for REO real estate agents was $40,000 per year. Becoming an REO agent is something that most practicing Realtors across the country would like to do.
Agents should check with their local real estate associations to see is there are any classes on selling REO properties being offered in the area.
Some lending companies require REO agents to have BPO training, but not all. BPO, or Broker's Price Opinion, involves a process very similar to the standard property appraisal procedure that all real estate agents are familiar with. Lenders or their representatives will retain a real estate broker to create an opinion of the property’s value, most often prepared by an agent in the broker’s agency. BPO training will open the most doors for the new REO agent.
Most lenders list their foreclosed properties with local real estate agents who possess a current working knowledge of the local market, so the first step for agents is to contact any lenders they have established relationships with.
Contact asset management companies to register as an REO agent. Asset management companies are frequently retained by lenders to manage their foreclosure listings and only agents that are registered with them can receive their listings. Beware of asset management companies asking for a “registration” fee. These are generally just schemes to get agents to pay a fee and the agent will never see any actual listings.
Bank Owned agents shouldn’t overlook the national lenders, such a Fannie Mae and HUD. Federal agencies will have their or own guidelines, but the application process is short and simple and will provide another avenue to increase access to local REO listings.
An important resource for REO agents is the American Society of REO Specialists. ASREOS is the first organization established specifically for foreclosure agents and offers several tools for assisting agents, including allowing real estate agents to connect with other peers across the U.S.
Attend conferences and conventions. Foreclosure sales have become such a huge part of the real estate business that there are actually conventions held specifically by and for REO agents and lenders.