Do you know the #1 killer of an REO business? No, it ain't strong competition bubba (gosh knows there's a gaping hole where THAT should be)! And it isn't bad luck either. It IS the in-ability of lazy, coffee-drinking, sit at their computer all day, whine and moan about the economy, God's gift to REO, "prima donna" brokers, to get off their fat butts and get their tasks COMPLETED on time! Let me tell you, if you want to be tossed to the curb quicker than Tiger Woods at a Swedish family reunion, then you just GO AHEAD BE LATE big boy! Your Asset Managers will cut your legs out from under you so fast that your competition won't even notice you've disappeared! O.K. look, when you're selling bank owned foreclosures, it is absolutely CRITICAL to have ROCK-SOLID systems in place, to handle the multitude of things that are thrown your way every day. Each new property means another round of tedious tasks and another pile of paperwork to rifle through. Intimidating-YES! Easy to manage?-NO! That is, unless you "get" the whole "don't put the cart before the horse" thing. What I mean by "get it", is that you NEED to understand, that creating LEVERAGE for your staff, BEFORE you take on a ton of listings that you're going to wind up "under-servicing", is THE key to success in the world of REO. Many agents simply choose to jump in head first and mistakenly think that they'll just "fake it 'til they make it"-WRONG...and bluntly-a business killer! As I tell my REO Rockstars, every day, you need to take a good look around your business and actively seek out little time-savers, that can increase the "speed" of your operations. Minutes, even seconds, REALLY add up when you are processing hundreds of tasks day in and day out. Let's look at one of those "biggies" that seems to rear it's ugly head in the businesses of most REO brokers that I know-LATE BPOs. Now, for those of you who don't already know this, a Broker's Price Opinion is where the actual listing process begins with an REO property. Not only are your clients going to to look for you to provide solid pricing advice on your BPO, but they're also going to look for you to deliver these suckers ON-TIME, EVERY TIME. In my business, as we went through extremely rapid growth, getting our BPOs done became a serious challenge, and I have to tell you, solving the puzzle of how to get them handled better was a real mind bender. Sure, I could have just hired MORE valuation specialists to help me out. ANYONE can do that. But who in their right mind wants to exponentially increase their expense, instead of taking the added profit straight to their bottom line-NOT ME fella! Smart brokers, heck, smart BUSINESS PEOPLE always look for ways to get more out of what they already have. And that's exactly what I did. So let's look at the process: (how we USED to do it in my office and how MOST agents STILL do)
1. My team gets a BPO order (or we have a house that is vacant and we must provide a BPO in a specified time frame)
2. My Field Services Manager creates a "Field Report" sheet and hands it off to a field representative for completion, along with a daunting heap of other tasks to be completed the same day. I also follow-up with my own inspections.
3. The field rep hits the streets, on a 8-10 hour "road trip", rushing to get to all of his properties before the sun goes down.
4. The field rep turns his "Field Reports" in to the Field Services manager the following morning.
5. The Field Services Mgr. uploads the "Field Reports" and all associated photos, etc. for each property, on to our sever.
6. My Valuation Mgr. begins working on the BPOs.
So do you see a flaw in the process? An obviously kink in the system? a BIG time gap that's sucking the productivity right out of my business? Think about it...it's REALLY obvious. With this system I was totally bleeding out. I still can't believe I was able to survive...
OK here it is (for those of you "slower" types) 😉 In our "system" above, we are waiting a FULL day before we even START working on the BPO! Many of my clients give me only 48-72 hours to get a BPO done. So, right out of the gate I've wasted a MINIMUM of 33% of my time. You're sure not gonna win any horse races with THAT kind of start! Kinda reminds me of the good old days in real estate, 25 years ago, when we had to lug around a heavy "telephone directory" sized book full of real estate listings and black and white pictures. We had DOS based, painfully slow MLS systems and cell phones with 10 pound batteries in a bag! It was just plain hard to be get anything done fast. You literally had to cart around so much crap that you felt like you were "living" out of the trunk of your car (which incidentally was ALWAYS filled with paper files....FORGET trying to load up any luggage and escape for a deserved weekend vacation...no time and NO ROOM!) Point is...we have technology today. Get out of the dark ages and EMBRACE IT! Otherwise, you'll be left in the dust. Business moves pretty fast. It's VITAL that you keep up.
So here's what I did to fix this and to IMMEDIATELY bump my efficiency by more than 33%:
With the help of my developer, we simply created "online" field reports. I then gave my field representatives each their own portable "netbook" computers. With these tools, they simply log-in to my website right from the house they are inspecting, while they are out in the field. They proceed to complete their field reports on-line and then... "voila"-my Field Services Mgr. receives the information instantly via email in a nice, easy to read PDF format, and she uploads the information and pictures right to the server. Having the information delivered in "real time" eliminates the need for us to wait an extra day, to receive the information from our field reps, and we are now able to deliver our BPOs EARLY (which, by the way, is what Asset Managers REALLY want. A BIG point scorer) ;-). A cool thing about these forms, is that you can install them on your field reps' computers, or you can do like I do, and integrate them into a secure password protected area of you website, so that they can be accessed from any computer with internet access, and also so that you are never at risk of them being deleted or inadvertently modified. They are VERY easy to use either way.
Like many little "tweaks" you can make in your business, to make it run more efficiently, this one really CAN make you a lot more money. While you might know that most Asset Management companies have "scoring" systems that grade you based on your ability to complete REO tasks in a timely manner, do you also realize that many of them negatively ding your score for being "on time" vs. "early"? My REO Rockstars do! By using tools like these online forms, I always make sure that my team delivers EARLY every time and my AMs reward me with huge volumes of assignments every month. Now THAT's what I call using leverage to bring more cash straight to your bottom line!
View Sample Forms Here -
- Initial Occupancy Field Report SAMPLE
- Monthly Inspection Report SAMPLE
- Repair Sheet SAMPLE
- Work Order SAMPLE