I suppose I’m like a lot of REO Agents in my area in one respect at least – my inventory is way down from the level I was at a year or 18 months ago  Some REO agents talk about the “Kings and Queens of REO” – that is, those listing agents who seem to get a very disproportionate number of listings…dozens, or hundreds, even.

I never had hundreds, but I did use to have dozens – I probably had an inventory of over 40 listings back then, which probably doesn’t make me an REO King but perhaps a Duke or a Count, and certainly one of the busiest agents in my market area.


For a while, though, the listings were few and far between.  I used to get a couple of assignments a week pretty steady; for the first half of this year, it was more like a couple of assignments per month. Yeah, there was a bit of belt tightening here at the Silicon REO Group!

Over the past month or so, however, it’s been like the good ol’ days – I’ve had about eight new assignments in the past month.  So, what gives?  Have the lenders resumed their previously alacrity with pulling the trigger at the trustee’s sale? Does this mean a flood of new distressed REO inventory is about to hit the market, even as the market is hitting the skids?

Or – maybe this is not actually a flood of new distressed REO inventory.  For example, I got two assignments just today.  You know the drill – here’s your assignment, congratulations, go and do an occupancy check within 24 hours or we’ll pull it from you.

So I head down to the first one – and find that it was vacant and had already been re-keyed – and how long ago?  No way to know for sure, but there was mail on the kitchen counter dated from mid-February of this year, about six months ago. The second new listing was miles and miles away, located deep up in the woods.  I had trouble finding it; I spotted a neighbor and asked her if she knew where the property was.  “I don’t know that address” she said – and she didn’t know who the former mortgagor was when I gave his name.  “Maybe it’s that vacant house down the street?  It’s been vacant for a couple of years.”

Yeah, that’s a lot of fun – deep in the woods, marching up a gated driveway with no address on it, performing an occupancy check at an address where whoever is living there might not take too kindly to being disturbed.

Lonely Driveway

It turns out, though, that I had the right address – there was no house number on the property, but on the kitchen counter of this place there was a bunch of mail with the subject property’s address and the former mortgagor’s name.

But I digress.  Point is, in my own business, I’ve suddenly seen a nice (well, nice for me) showering of inventory.  Given today’s findings, might we be seeing the emergence into daylight of some of this much ballyhooed shadow inventory?

Who knows?  Funny thing about this business is that it’s really hard to take some anecdotal evidence and determine a significant trend from it.  Actually, it must be pretty easy, since that happens all the time – Realtors especially are prone to making sweeping generalizations about the state of the national real estate market based on whatever happened to them with their latest buyer/escrow/seller, or whatever.

But not me.  The assignments could (and in all likelihood, probably will) dry up tomorrow and I’ll be left tending to these new 8 and the other dozen or so I had before them and trying to get them sold – which is going to take some aggressive pricing, since as I mentioned earlier, the market is demonstrably weakening (and I have more than just anecdotal evidence about that one!).

As a very wise Realtor once said:  you have to make hay while the sun is shining.  Or maybe it was a very wise farmer who said that – but whoever said it, there was definitely wisdom in those words.  I’ll just keep my head down and work like crazy to beat my deadlines and bring in offers as close to BPO value as possible and get ’em closed on schedule to the very best of my ability.

And this I solemnly swear.