If you decide to participate in the REO business, one of the things you need to do is occupancy control. This is one of the first things the REO agent has to do. The REO Boom book has provided a guide to running the occupancy check and preparing your report.
The main purpose of an occupancy check is to check if there are still people living in the property to be listed. Some cases are easier than others. There are cases where an agent can easily tell if the property is occupied through a drive through. A car parked in the driveway or a family inside the house is an indicator that the property is occupied. However, there are also cases where it is difficult to determine if there are still people on the property.
Occupancy verification may sound easy, but this is what most agents fear. There are several things to consider as well. Consider the possible things that could happen if there are still people in the house. How would they react if they saw you? Are they hostile? Not knowing what awaits you in your newly acquired bank property can be scary. What will you do if they turn out to be unwelcoming and aggressive?
You can use some of these tips to help you:
1. Banks will normally require you to verify the property within 24 hours of receiving the assignment. In some cases, you can make a trip by check. However, you will have to enter the house most of the time.
2. You can call the utility companies ahead of time to check if there are still occupants in the property. The owners will definitely turn off such services if they are going to leave the house. By doing this, you will know what to expect when you arrive at the property. Whether someone is home or not, you have to be prepared for what happens.
3. If you learn from the utility companies that there are occupants on the property, it would be best to team up with another agent or have someone come with you. When you arrive at the house, introduce yourself as someone hired by the bank to take a look at the property. Be polite when you talk to the landlord. You don’t want to do anything that could increase tension between you and the occupants.
4. Take a camera with you to document your visit. The images you will capture during this visit will be helpful when you make your Broker Price Opinion.
5. File the occupancy report. Normally, banks have a standard format of the report. You can request a copy and then complete it. The report will be sent to the bank.
During your visit, you can start evaluating the property. Record your observation and then identify the repairs you need. You should also determine how long it would take to prepare the property for sale.