When buying a foreclosure property, the terms of the contract are undoubtedly the most significant factor in making or breaking a deal. However, there are other intangible factors at play as well. The most important of which is probably communication with the seller and listing agent. Getting a deal to close can take persistence and is not always an easy mountain to climb.
By their very nature, foreclosure transactions are an impersonal affair. The seller and their representatives are usually handling so many other transactions at once, that you can easily get lost in the shuffle. I can’t tell you how many times I have be told something will be completed by a certain date and time, only for that deadline to come and go with no news on the deal. Often, when no action is taken on your part, deals can easily be dragged out for days or even weeks longer than they should. Sometimes this delay creates a mere inconvenience of taking longer to close, but during the negotiation process, this delay can cause you the property.
When I work with a foreclosure property, I keep very active in my communication with the listing agent. Obviously these deals take time to work out, but during the negotiation phase I try to make contact with the seller’s representative every day. That might sound like overkill, and sometimes it does annoy the other parties, but this persistence can shave a day or two off the process. This makes it less likely that someone else will swoop in and outbid you.
The key to staying ahead of the pack is to never rely on the sellers side to take charge and follow through. They often have a staff of multiple people taking care of a large number of properties so it is easy to loss track of where they are at in the process. If they say they will call you at 11am tomorrow, assume they won’t. You should be ready to call them. If a property goes under contract and listing agent says he will call you if the deal falls through, don’t trust in that. Keep tabs yourself. You’re dealing with overly busy individuals who have their own interests and agendas; you need to watch out for your own.
To keep up as best as possible with this persistence theme, you should probably be working with your own buyers agent on any foreclosure deal. Although you might be tempted to call the listing agent and work with them directly, your level of service will probably not be as personal and focused. And don’t be fooled by the misconception that working with the listing agent will get you a better deal on a property. The bank is going to pay out the same commission whether it is split between one agent or two. Since it can be argued that the buyer is really the one paying the commission, you need to get what you are paying for. Have someone advocating for you during the deal with a vested interest in seeing you get what you want.
Whether its yours truly or another agent, make sure you work with a buyers agent who is familiar with the foreclosure buying process. If you put forth your combined persistence and nagging towards your offer, your chances of getting an accepted deal will increase accordingly. Sometimes being a pain in the neck is just what the doctor ordered.