The New Wave of Real Estate “Professional” in Phoenix

avatarthumbnail.jpgMuch is made in the online real estate world about the nearly non-existent barriers to entry that real estate agents face. This isn’t specific to the Phoenix real estate market but since that’s where I am, I’ll localize the issue.

Back in 2005, any idiot could sell a home. Put the listing in the MLS and/or put a sign in the yard, then wait for the calls and contracts to come falling like manna from heaven minutes later.

But those days are behind us, you say. I’ve said the same, all the while implying that the slow down in the real estate market would cause the disappearance of the jackals who do little more than search for low-hanging fruit.

Not so … it may be a slightly different species, but the jackal still exists except this time it is selling bank owned homes. And for this enw specialty, a new set of incompetencies have come into play:

1) An inability to purchase an electronic lockbox.

Why spend the $80 and actually secure the house and limit access to agents with SUPRA eKeys when you can use a contractors’ box and save a few bucks? And better yet, make sure that you set the code on every home exactly the same so everyone can access any house they choose?

Little known fact … learn four or five lockbox combinations and you can access roughly a quarter of the homes on the market here in Phoenix. Part of this comes because some companies use a third-party vendor for lockboxes. Why? Because these agents are too busy dealing in volume to actually visit the property, the sale of which will bring them a couple of thousand dollars.

(Side note: I’ve stopped leaving my cards inside bank owned properties with these other lockboxes. Want to know I was there? Install a real lockbox and read it on the report.)

2) An inability to enter property information.

Absolutely amazing how many homes in the MLS have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING written in the Public Remarks. Not a word.

3) An inability to update the MLS.

Many agents keep collecting offers to send to the bank without adding so much as a word to the MLS. There’s this handy Realtor Remarks section where you can add notes like “we have 32 offers in hand.” So much better than calling since there seems to be …

4) An inability to answer the phone.

Tried calling an agent today, no answer. Tried calling his office, no answer. If nothing else, that’s consistency.

5) An inability to negotiate.

It’s like dealing with Marty Moose and John Candy. “Sorry folks, Moose out front should have told you.” “Sorry kids, bank says so.”

The other day I uncovered a gem from one of the more prevalent REO sales companies in town complaining about buyers’ agents and buyers who request repairs even though there has been an as is addendum signed.

There’s a reason it happens – because the bank often negotiates. One of my buyers wrote an offer on a townhouse in Fountain Hills and discovered during the home inspection that the air conditioner didn’t work. We asked for it to be repaired or replaced. And the bank gave my buyer a credit to get it done. Why? Because my buyer was prepared to walk and the bank would have to drop the price anyway to sell a property without a working air conditioner in the middle of August.

It’s because of exceptions to the rule that buyers’ agents still ask for repairs, either up front or during the inspection period. Clearly, it’s difficult for these very busy agents to fax the two-page Buyers Inspection Notice to the bank and get an answer within a tight, five-day timeframe.

Of course, what are the odds any of this will change? Slim to none. The Department of Real Estate couldn’t care less because this has less to do with competency than courtesy in many cases. The banks certainly don’t care because all they want is for the homes to sell; they don’t care how it’s accomplished. And the public doesn’t really care, at least not in sufficient numbers to make the Department care.

It’s enough to make you shake your head and wonder when there will be something akin to normalcy in this business.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, bank owned homes[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Linda Davis 9 years ago

    You are right! I just wonder how the banks pick some of these people as listing agents? They are certainly not the agents I co-broked with during normal times.

    I agree with everything you said except for one teeny part. The banks who I work with here in Connecticut (such as Countrywide) require that you use a mechanical lock box and in some cases even specify what the code should be. Personally I prefer mechanical lock boxes on bank foreclosures because of the mulit bid process on trash outs, winterizing etc.

  • Matt Wilkins 9 years ago

    Thanks for saying what most of us deal with on a regular basis. A couple of points to ad from my experience:

    The combo/elecronic lockbox should not be an issue in areas that use Sentrilock since they function as both a key-acess box and a combo box.

    One practice in my area that I repeatedly loathe is the Addendums being furnished only AFTER contract acceptance. This happend on an REO I was the buyers agent on a few months ago. The addenum was vaugely worded with contradicting terms that even the assett manger didn’t even unerstand. The listing agent told me the addendum could NOT be changedd and that if I were to change it that we could be kicked out of line for the other agents in line who would have hteir buyers sign it as written.

    That along with an offer I submited on an REO that was never responded too (buyers withdrew it 7 weeks later) are just some of the reason why I think some markets are seing a declining interest in REO properties.

  • Jonathan Dalton 9 years ago

    Linda – We’ve got one on each on our listings – one electronic, one contractor box for the ancillary issues that come with the REOs.

    Matt – SUPRA’s a little different as it’s all electronic access. As for the addendums, I guess this is one of the advantages of having done a few this past year. I’ve got the addendums ahead of time so, even if there have been small changes, I can warn them ahead of time of what they’re in for.

  • Matt Wilkins 9 years ago

    John – we currently use SUPRA but are converting to SentriLock in January. As for the addendum, most agents here that only furnish the addendums until after offer acceptance will not furnish them beforehand if they can be reached at all to take the request.

    We do have a few REO agents here that furnish a link in the MLS to all pertinent documents. THAT should be a benchmark for ALL sales regardless if it’s REO/short/relo/or a “normal” sale. As you can tell I am a firm believer in making the transaction as efficient as it can be so our time can be freed up for more important tasks.

  • Linda Davis 9 years ago

    I furnish all the addendums as an attachment in our MLS. Also attached is one page very detailed list of agent procedures. I try to make it easy. It really isn’t rocket science but alas some agents make it so.

    As far as lock boxes, sadly in my area, only about 60% of agents even have a passkey. That is a whole other story and I don’t even want to get started on that. It is a constant source of annoyance to me and I can feel my blood pressure rising as I think about it.

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