Big Mistake Realtors Make With Foreclosure Listings

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: I have a new listing and the property is on the sheriff sale list. I don’t have much experience with foreclosures, what should I do to get this closed? Nancy, Bayonne, NJ

A: I’ll start by differentiating between pre-foreclosures and REOs. With a pre-foreclosure, the homeowner still owns the house, whereas an REO, which stands for real estate owned is post-foreclosure and is owned typically by the lender or party that successfully foreclosed on the property. As with all listings, it’s important that you don’t over-price—although it may seem counterintuitive, lower listing prices typically result in higher sales prices because the listing will attract a wider pool of buyers. Pre-foreclosures like the one you just listed bring an additional challenge which is getting the property closed before the sheriff sale—this requires setting and managing expectations with all parties involved—buyer, seller, attorneys, title company etc. and if necessary working with the owner/seller, the foreclosing lender and local courthouse to postpone the sheriff sale date to give yourself enough time to close. The mistake that many realtors make in this situation is not understanding the urgency involved with respect to time when they have a pre-foreclosure listing. Earlier this year, I appeared before a judge at the courthouse on behalf of my client and was able to convince the judge to postpone the sheriff sale to give us enough time to close. More than anything else, the key to success in this area is to foster a good working relationship with the owner/seller. Thanks for your question, Nancy.

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