Avoiding Fake Sellers And Brokers In The Bulk REO Market

You’ve probably heard about the incredible investment opportunities currently available in the US real estate market which foreclosed properties represent. You may also have read about REO and especially bulk REO properties. Before we go any further, let me explain what a REO property and a bulk REO property is for the sake of those readers who are not yet clear about what this term means.

REO property refers to properties which have gone through the foreclosure process as per usual and have gone on sale in a public auction. It used to be that these properties would almost always sell at auction, largely to investors eager for a great deal on an investment property. However, the enormous number of foreclosures currently going on in the US means that many of these properties now go unsold and become the property of the bank or other lending institution.

Referred to as Real Estate Owned (or REO), these properties are assets which financial institutions generally do not want. Since these are assets which aren’t keeping as far as banks are concerned, they become the responsibility of these institutions’ asset management departments, who are charged with getting these properties off of their employers hands.

One of the ways that they do this is to list the properties in question with real estate agents, attempting to sell them at fair market value. However, in the weak housing market we’re dealing with at present, this is often an ineffective way to find a buyer for these REO properties. In the interest of being rid of these assets, lenders are often willing to sell them at deeply discounted prices, often 30% or lower than the going rate.

When lenders are left with a large number of these properties, as many lenders are at the present, it creates a troubling situation which they have come up with a creative solution for. This, of course is the concept of bulk REO properties. For the bank, it’s simply a way of getting these assets off of their books; but for real estate investors, bulk REO can be a dream come true.

These bulk REO investment opportunities have generated quite a buzz among investors since they potentially a very lucrative investment in most cases. However, the fact that there are so many newcomers to the real estate business getting involved due to these very profitable investments has led many wolves in sheep’s clothing to set up shop – and they often find many easy targets among novice real estate investors.

If you’re interested in bulk REO investments, the good news is that this is actually an incredible time to get involved and make a fortune in the real estate market; but you need to be very careful about who you do business with. Keep reading for a few tips on how to spot fraudulent operators working the REO market for victims.

First of all, approach the online real estate forums with caution. These are good places to do a little research on the market and to find out what other investors are doing and what’s getting results for them. However, these forums are also frequently the haunts of scammers on the lookout for naïve real estate investors looking for a profitable investment. While it is definitely a good idea to check out the forums, it’s almost definitely not a good idea to actually look for a business partner here.

Beware of any unrealistic claims of prices, revenues and especially of anyone purporting to have “direct connections to banks” or any other source of financing. If you look at these people’s posts carefully, you’ll often notice that they’re using free email accounts from Yahoo and MSN; if these people were genuinely the successful real estate brokers they claim, how likely is it that they’d be using a free email account? If nothing else, it gives a highly unprofessional impression which should make you think twice about doing business with them.

You’ll probably also notice their atrocious spelling and grammar, another sign which is far from encouraging. True, not all of us are spelling bee winners or necessarily good with written communication, but again, a professional will generally come off as such in writing.

You should also beware of anyone who uses affiliate marketing-style online tactics like landing pages and similar methods to get your business. What you should be on the lookout for is a reputable realtor or broker who has a long history in the field, can prove to you that they actually own (or have the owner’s mandate to sell) the bulk REO properties you’re interested in. There is one question which can help you to weed out 99% of the fake and fraudulent bulk REO sellers which you should always ask: “how many deals have you closed?”. Don’t be satisfied with a mere number though; ask for verifiable proof – any legitimate seller or broker will be happy to provide you with this information.

There is a lot of money to be made in bulk REO investment – as long as you’re careful out there.