How Do I Get Started In The REO Business?

It is no secret; many people believe a housing collapse is on its way and the REO niche will once again step out into the spotlight. Like moths to a flame, would be REO Professionals are asking, “How do I get my foot in the door?” Dollar dazed and confused, they chase the dream of making fast cash in an industry believed to be a side hustle for stay at home moms and college students. I will admit, for some, good looks, bright smiles, and a flashy personality will go a long way however, as with anything else in life, it is not always that simple.

The REO industry is a relationship industry. It is built on trust, transparency, and accountability. At the end of the day, people do not want to work with people they either do not know, have not heard of or can’t find active in the community. I know this to be true because in my own career I was referred into each lender I worked with by a friend or colleague. During the Great Recession, I had listing agreements with 32 different national, regional, and local banks all of which came because of someone saying to someone else, “I know a guy.”

If you want to get into the REO niche, the question you should be asking yourself is not, “how do I get my foot in the door” or “How do I grow my REO business” but, instead ask how you develop relationships in this industry. By doing so, the paradigm shifts just enough to make you start thinking differently. Instead of concerning yourself with which certification is best, you should start asking yourself what information I can put out weekly on REOProNetwork that will attract Asset Managers to me. Instead of asking questions like, “Where do I advertise my services to Asset Managers” ask questions like, “What information can I give about my market that proves I’m on top of it daily?”

Let me phrase this a different way. The REOProNetwork provides its members with social media tools that allows them to publish relevant and timely information that is keyword centric for SEO optimization. REOProNetwork members have a REO niche SEO HUB that gives their self-published content the ability to become relevant and indispensable in local market conditions attracting not just industry insiders but, retail customers that can be targeted to build individual brand awareness.

Social networks are powerful tools for establishing local expertise. They are powerful tools for attracting business that too often are overlooked because they do involve a lot of commitment and time. Social networks are not something you can just throw a few hundred dollars at and expect results as they are built around intangible but powerful ideologies like, trust, commitment, transparency, relevance, etc…. I will leave you with a simple question. You say you want to be a REOPro, then tell us who you are and commit to being the local expert we can all trust.

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Jesse was originally licensed in September 2005 in the Great State of Tennessee. He started his career right as the real estate industry saw it’s worse collapse since the Great Depression. As a result, Jesse sought out opportunities to work directly with banks, focusing his career liquidating foreclosed homes. He worked with some of the country’s largest lenders, asset management companies and quasi government supported entities. This highly competitive field introduced Jesse to an intense time of development where he received top notch education direct from national policy makers, government entities, multi million dollar portfolio managers and many others. As the economy changed and with it the real estate market, Jesse changed as well.

As a direct result of listing and selling foreclosed homes, Jesse found that his career could also turn into a passion helping prevent foreclosure. He believed he could naturally transition his business from selling foreclosed homes to helping homeowners avoid foreclosure all together. His experience and knowledge working with banks gave him invaluable insight on what homeowners could do to avoid foreclosure. More importantly his experience would give his clients an edge when working with their banks to prevent foreclosure, keep their home, or if necessary sell their home and transition to more affordable housing.

Jesse has built a career working with some of the hardest real estate transactions known. He has worked with homeowners who are facing seemingly insurmountable odds, negotiating with lenders who don’t see homeowners as nothing more than just a number. Where others would have thrown in the towel and given up, Jesse has persevered and proven to his clients he cares. He has managed millions of dollars in real estate at any one time and worked with over 30 different lenders and banks both directly and indirectly.

Now as our country is once again facing the real possibility of a housing crisis due to the Coronavirus and REO is stepping back into the spotlight, Jesse is ready and prepared to work diligently in helping our country face this challenge with honesty, integrity, humility and grace. "As a REO Professional, I know REO is about people helping people. When we are talking about a family losing their home due to financial challenges, we must remember we are in the people business above and beyond anything else." Jesse Gonzalez

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  • I got into REO by sheer LUCK! Many years back now I got a call from a company that is no longer in business. The lady asked me if I did occupancy inspections! I hedged a bit, told here that in this area she is looking at this can be a problem, getting the occupants name etc was not easy as many were hostile back then to giving out information. She explained this was just a DRIVE BY, does it look occupied, I said I can do this for you NOW if you want. She went on to say that I was the 3rd or 4th agent she called and the others did not bother to return her call. I apologized on their behalf, she said that she would NEVER call any of them again. This turned into my first REO and from there I was in the 'club' and more clients followed. I did BPO's for many years and this has helped me with folks such as Keystone and Old Republic. So doing the BPO route does pay off, USRES is very good as well. No easy answer, but once the evictions moratorium is off here in Tampa Bay we expect to see a lot more homes coming to market.
  • Jesus, you are so right. I have been in the real estate market for over 45 years and have been completing BPO's for almost 15 years. I have been trying to move from BPO to REO since the first wave in 2007. Being on your forum helped with BMO but I have yet to get in the REO business. Thanks for your article.
  • Great article, Jesse. I would also add that agents should always make sure all their profiles are current, make sure your E and O and general liability is up to date, and always have a game plan.
  • Hi Jesse, I first joined you back in the day when there were only about 100 agents signed up. The REO business was cranking up and for a newbie I did not know any better and jumped right in. You could not have said it better that this is about relationships and networking. This is not a niche for the faint of heart or for those who don't want to work for it. It is also much better for a people person than a silent Sam - good things won't come to those who wait for it to be brought to them.

    My Reo slowed down substantially but I have always kept my toes in the water and I have a feeling the water may get deeper. Unfortunately, the virus is very unpredictable but a lack of money and resources is not. Without some support going forward those folks hanging on the edge simply won't make it. Time will certainly tell and it never hurts to make sure all those contacts are up to date as well as developing new ones.
  • Very true. I struggled back in 2007 to get into the REO business. I saw homes in my market that were bank-owned and wanted to get into the niche. After months of chasing, calling, and emailing, I got an opportunity. I was contracted with buyers on an REO listing. The listing agent wasn't doing a very good job. She got quickly tired of me and gave me her asset manager's number. Once I spoke to her I was in. Within 90 days, I had over 50 REO properties working or listed.

    I got out of the business of REO in 2014. I now own a brokerage and plan on getting myself back into the business when the opportunity is there.
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