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Certified Foreclosure Real Estate Agents

Given the current state of the economy, real estate agents are having to diversify their skills to match the complexities of a tough market, which includes many more foreclosures than before.  Many real estate agent are now realizing the benefits of becoming an REO or foreclosure specialist. If you're in the market for a foreclosure, then these are the agents you should be seeking out.

Certified Foreclosure Realtors

It should be made clear that while there are many courses and training programs that specifically address REO foreclosure issues, only the National Association of Realtors offers an official foreclosure certification. Companies like foreclosures.com offer a 'Certified Foreclosure Agent Program' however designations such as these aren't nationally recognized or a part of NAR.

NAR's Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Program (SFR) was just introduced this year in response to the changing market and is currently the only recognized foreclosure agent certification. If your agent has a designation other than the SFR from NAR make sure to closely check their credentials. While some programs outside of NAR do an excellent job at educating and preparing agents to handle foreclosures, others hardly teach agents anything of value.

Foreclosure Classes and Courses for Realtors and Agents

Currently there are a number of classes, courses and programs centered around educating agents on how the various phases of foreclosures work, both on the buying and selling side. Below are some topics that courses typically cover.

  • Definitions and specifics of foreclosure law, state-by-state, and how lenders "accelerate" loans and go into the pre-foreclosure process.
  • Understanding the difference between mortgages, deed-in-trust, deed-in-lieu and other financial instruments.  This is something that can vary greatly from state to state, and many of the laws are currently being reworked.  
  • Dealing with the homeowner facing foreclosure, gauging his/her frame of mind and discussing options and alternatives.
  • Discussing the alternatives to "short sale," including home redemption and FHA Secure.
  • Exploring any alternatives to foreclosure, such as a last-minute loan modification or workout with the lender that will keep the homeowner in his/her house.  This is an unusual new role for a real estate agent, acting as a liaison between borrower and lender, but it also opens up an entirely new market and business model for foreclosure real estate agents.  
  • How to educate borrowers on the consequences of foreclosure or short sale, including tax liabilities and damage to credit.  
  • Listing pre-foreclosures and looking into all the nuances therein, including dealing with lien holders and everything involved in listing and marketing the properties.  
  • Learning the ins and outs of Broker Price Options; what they are, how they work, who they pay and how much.  
  • Working with banks to list and sell foreclosed or REO properties, including getting on board with the proper departments in charge of such matters.  
  • General management of short-sale, foreclosure and REO transactions.

Becoming a HUD Approved Foreclosure Agent

When an FHA-insured home is foreclosed on the title of the property is transferred to HUD. HUD will then sell the home, which is where the term HUD home comes from.  In order for an agent to put in an offer for a HUD home they must first be registered and approved by HUD.

To register, agents must fill out HUD's Selling Broker Certification forms which include SAMS 1111 Broker application and the SAMS 1111A Selling Broker Certification. Once the certification forms are reviewed and accepted the agent can then make offers on HUD homes.

If you're interested in buying HUD homes, you'll have to find a brokerage that's registered with HUD first.