Is Your Agent Experienced in Distressed Properties?

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If you are buying a short sale, foreclosed home or other distressed property, you ought to have someone experienced in distressed properties working for you.

Just in the nick of time, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is coming to the rescue with real estate agents specifically schooled in those subjects.

A new Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Program (SFR) trains agents how to manage short-sales, foreclosures, and real estate owned (REO or bank owned) transactions, and keeps agents current on national and state-specific information and regulations on these issues.

“There’s a lot of activity in this area and it is certainly helpful for buyers if they have someone who is better able to serve them,” says Stephen R. Pearson, with Century 21 Classic Properties in Watsonville.

“There are some regular sales, but most of our market is short sales, REO, especially in Salinas, Watsonville. We have multiple offers on everything that comes up, so the better you can deal with them and work with banks and sellers, the better you can serve your clients,” Pearson added.

The SFR certification program is offered by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council of NAR.

The program includes training for real estate agents on how to manage short-sales, foreclosures, and REO transactions. Agents learn how to direct distressed sellers to finance, tax and legal sources. They also learn to qualify sellers for short sales, how to negotiate with lenders and how to limit buyers’ risk associated with distress property transactions. The training provides resources to help Realtors stay current on national and state-specific information as the market for these distressed properties evolves.

To earn the certification, agents must complete a one-day education program, either in-person or online, as well as in three one-hour Webinars. The certification program also will be offered at NAR’s Conference & Expo in San Diego, CA Nov. 13-16.

“Foreclosures and short sales can offer opportunities for home buyers, but it’s extremely important to have the help of a real estate professional … for these kinds of purchases,” said NAR President Charles McMillan.

Consumers needn’t wait for NAR’s SFR certified agents.

“Nothing beats on the job training. It’s a great idea to ask a Realtor ‘How many short sales, how many bank owned sales have you done?’ You want to be working with someone who has the right knowledge, right now. You wouldn’t want a heart surgeon to do your brain surgery,” said Jean Manner Schwimmer an agent with Coldwell Banker Gay Dales in Salinas.

Schwimmer said many real estate agents are grappling with distressed properties for the first time and unless they are schooled and experienced, they may be fine for a regular sale, but perhaps not so much for distressed properties.

“I think certification gives some level of experience whether its from NAR or another educational group. I took a two day seminar on short sales and REOS and at that point no one was thinking about certification,” said Schwimmer.

Written by Broderick Perkins

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