Contacting Lenders Directly About Unlisted REO's

There is a recent post similar to this but I didn’t quite know if it was proper forum etiquette to add to that one or start a new one so here’s my situation.

I am a newbie REI looking into buying an REO as my first home and an investment to sell within six months or so. Here in Wake County, NC the county’s propety tax database is on line and available for download and since I am a software/database developer by profession I have downloaded this data and can easily find all REO properties in the county. In the last 30 days I have identified 5 properties that meet my buy/sell numbers assuming minimum to average rehab costs (a big open question to me at this point) that were listed. On all five properties when my realtor called for a showing, the properties were already under contract or going under contract. The last one was on the market for 5 days! While I think I can take a positive from this in that I am identifying profitable properties because most likely the more experienced professional investors are beating me to the punch, it doesn’t do me any good if I can’t buy anything.

However, I can find numerous lender owned properties in the county that are not listed anywhere, not on the MLS because I have my agent check and not anywhere else that I can find. Most of these were recently obtained by the lender so I can assume they have not yet been listed but will be in the near future. But some of these the lender has had deed to the property for 18 months or longer. I have gone out to look at these homes and some are occupied but some or not and clearly have not been for some time. They may have a paper posted somewhere on the home saying it is bank owned, with or without contact information or there may be nothing posted.

So my main question is has anyone out there had any success in contacting the lenders directly about REO’s. I know the answer is most likely going to be that it will be a lesson in futility because that’s the answer I got from my realtor and also what I’ve seen in another post, but what I want to know if there’s any possibility at all for success. If there is, I am willing to do the work because I think this may be the one place where I have an advantage over the other investors in the area, being able to identify REO’s that not too many other people know about.

Thanks in advance for your input and by the way, this place is great for a rookie real estate investor such as myself!!

Based on my experience, your agent is right. You’re probably not going to be able to deal directly with the lender. There may be a rare exception, but it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Most lenders contact agents long before the property is listed, usually before the bank actaully controls the property. They depend on that agent to check the occupancy status, provide a BPO, handle the trashout, lawn maint., etc.

In my area, most REOs are handled by a pretty small group of agents. If you and your agent can determine which agents in your area handle most REOs, you may want to watch for new listings from those agents in order to find ones that you would be interested in. If you contact the lender, you may be able to find out which agent is going to be listing a particular property that you are interested in and then your agent can contact them. Good luck.