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2010-12-21 19:02:06

Five Tips to Sell REO Properties Faster

The cold winds of winter may be blowing, but something is keeping real estate as hot as a sweltering July day: real estate owned properties.

Just ask any of the thousands of agents who’ve started tapping REOs as an extra source of income. They’ve learned to adjust to the market and go to where the action is. And even better, they’ve learned a few tricks along the way on how to make their REOs more attractive for the market.

But Bob, aren’t REO homes a tough sale? I’ll grant you this, usually when you have a bank owned, empty property every flaw is magnified. A small crack in an REO, just looks bigger than in a typical home for sale.

So the fundamental element of marketing these homes is to make them not look like what people associate with foreclosed homes. First impressions are especially important for REOs. You want prospective buyers to immediately say to themselves, “This doesn’t look like an REO home.”

The house needs to look just like any other house on the market in the neighborhood. Here are a few more tips to add some sizzle to your REO marketing:

  1. Be a cleaner. Some say today’s Realtors are spoiled. In the old days, agents used to carry vacuum cleaners, Windex and Ajax. If you want to work in the REO market, you might consider doing the same thing. If the bathroom floor is dirty, who’s going to clean it? It’s a different world with REO and you have to be willing to do what it takes to get the house sold.
  2. Think colors.When you approach an intersection, what’s the first color you notice? If you said red, you’re still in the game. Why not landscape with red and yellow flowers. Red says to stop and yellow adds a warmth and coziness.
  3. Add smells.Here’s a sentence to remember: If it smells like bad, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Go to the dollar store and buy some air fresheners. Or better yet, brew up a fresh pot of coffee. The smell of coffee imparts the best of emotions. It tells people this is a good place to raise kids, it gives a warm and a comforting feeling. 
  4. Put up signs. Open houses sell properties. When you’re marketing an REO property you need to make sure that it’s depersonalized and use cue cards – white piece of paper on the wall – that explain to prospective buyers the positives on what’s been done to the property. KB Homes is a good example. Anytime you go into one their properties, you know instantly from the cue cards what the upgrades are.
  5. Communicate often and regularly. When you get an REO assignment from a bank, you essentially become the bank’s link to that property. When banks assign the Realtor to a property, it expects them to become the eyes and ears for everything that has to do with that property. Tell the bank everything you can about the house from the first inspection through the entire process.  

I’ve actually developed an REO quick start program to help agents and brokers move more quickly into the REO market, and I’m happy to send you some free information on it. Just e-mail me at   

So what are you your thoughts on selling REOs? Have you found ways to market them more effectively? What’s working and what’s not? Any thoughts on how to work better with outsourcers and banks? Please share any comments or questions you have about this article. Send e-mails to me at the address above.


Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.

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