September 6, 2013
By Octavio Nuiry, Senior Staff Writer
Editor’s Note: In the August 2013 issue of the Foreclosure News Report, in a story titled “Creating Inventory with Unlisted Foreclosures”, we looked at how real estate agents nationwide are finding new and creative ways to get listings. Here is a short excerpt from that story..
Banks nationwide — along with the federal government — are sitting on hundreds of thousands of unlisted distressed properties at a time when housing inventory is at an all-time low. Roughly 80 percent of all real estate owned (REO) properties — some 515,000 homes nationwide — are not listed by banks on local multiple listing services, according to RealtyTrac. Another 803,000 homes are in the foreclosure process but have not yet been repossessed. Of those, some 167,000 are vacant — sometimes called “zombie” foreclosures, where a bank starts the foreclosure process, but then cancels the foreclosure sale.
The result: more than 1 million homes are waiting to be listed and sold, but most real estate agents and investors have no clue how to find them, how to list them, how to sell them — or how to buy them.
But a growing number of real agents, brokers and investors are starting to target these must-sell unlisted foreclosures.
Nobody is benefiting more from this boom in unlisted distressed properties than real estate broker Nancy Braun, owner of Showcase Realty in Charlotte, N.C., and one of the nation’s top selling REO brokers. Braun knows how to harvest unlisted foreclosures — in any market.
When she opened Showcase Realty in 2008, she had a single office and two employees. Then the real estate market collapsed. As a former restaurant owner and attorney, she knew she had to do something creative. When the REO pipeline started to dry up in Charlotte, she switched gears and started working the unlisted bank-owned market.
“There’s a lot of inventory out there, but it’s not on the MLS,” said Braun, a lawyer and a graduate of Cornell University, who has more than 30 employees and agents working in her two offices in Mecklenburg County, N.C. “Although we have a strong Internet presence, recently we started doing more old fashion marketing, including door-knocking and snail mail post cards. We also started reaching out to people who own lots of properties.”
Braun said she has integrated all aspects of the real estate transaction under one roof, bringing together title, mortgage, online marketing, professional photography and other services to package everything together and offer clients a one-stop shopping experience.
“Right now, REOs have slowed down, but we’re still seeing a lot of short sales,” added Braun,who closed 426 transactions last year. “We’re a unique real estate company. Because of the way we are set up, it allows us to create the most traditional way to get inventory — even if there’s no inventory on the MLS. We are employee-centric, meaning that each staff member specializes in a different area. Everyone handles a different task.”