If you decide to get involved in the REO business, one of the things you need to do is the occupancy verification. This is one of the first things the REO agent should do. The REO Boom book has provided guidance for executing occupancy control and reporting.
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 walk. 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 also several things to consider. 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 at your newly acquired bank property can be scary. What will you do if they turn out to be hostile and aggressive?
You can use some of these tips to help you:
1. Typically, banks will ask you to verify the property within 24 hours of receiving the assignment. In some cases, you can drive 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 on the property. Homeowners 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 in the house or not, you have to be prepared for what happens.
3. If you find out from the utility companies that there are occupants on the property, it would be best to team up with another agent or ask someone to accompany you. Upon arrival at the home, introduce yourself as someone hired by the bank to take a look at the property. Be polite when talking to the landlord. You do not want to do anything that could worsen the tension between you and the occupants.
4. Bring a camera to document your visit. The images that you will capture during this visit will be useful to you when making your Broker Price Opinion.
5. Submit the occupancy report. Banks typically have a standard reporting format. You can request a copy and then complete it. The report will be sent to the bank.
During your visit, you can begin to evaluate the property. Record your observation and then identify the repairs you need. You must also determine how long it will take to prepare the property for sale.