Realis Promotes Staying Clean In An Increasingly Dirty Foreclosure Industry

As Foreclosure Fraud Heats Up, Realis Shares Tips On How REO Agents Can Avoid Legal Trouble With Foreclosure Properties.

Experts are predicting that real estate foreclosures will continue to rise through 2012. Unfortunately, with that rise comes an increase in foreclosure fraud and the potential for REO agents to find themselves in the middle of damaging litigation. To avoid legal trouble when working with multiple foreclosure properties, Realis Real Estate Software announced today valuable tips on how to operate with few problems.

According to the FBI's annual mortgage fraud report, yearly losses due to mortgage and foreclosure fraud range from $4 billion to $6 billion dollars. Beyond the known fraud cases, in 2010 alone there were over 70,000 suspicious cases that went unprosecuted. According to the report, as foreclosures continue to be a norm in the real estate industry, foreclosure fraud is increasing.

Lauren Roberts, a 25-year real estate veteran and founder of Realis Real Estate Software, says that REO agents can avoid legal problems by retaining integrity and paying strict attention to every detail for every foreclosure. Since this level of detail can be difficult when an agent is managing upwards of 500 REO properties, Roberts offers these specific tips.

? Occupant Rights - Because there is a rush to get the property vacant, agents and brokers must ensure they are not violating the occupant rights to remain in the home.

? Municipal and code issues - Vacant homes are often rife with code violations and do not pass many important municipal requirements; agents and brokers who are not savvy to their local codes/laws are exposing themselves and the banks to heavy fines and potential litigation. In some cities this results in full demolition.

? Disclosure and property condition - It is traditionally policy for banks, lenders, and servicers to indicate "no knowledge" as it relates to disclosure and property condition. Reasonable minds would agree that agents are not allowed to simply look the other way on blatant property issues. Ensure the repairs and improvements listed in the broke price opinion (BPO) do not conflict with "no knowledge." Additionally, if a failed sale results in inspections on file, you must disclose. Agents and brokers walk a very fine line in this regard.

? Title and vesting to ensure marketable title - Most states, if not all, prohibit a home for which there is no marketable title, to be listed. If agents and brokers are not checking the title up front, this can become an issue for them long after a buyer has invested money in the deal. The agent or broker can then be held liable.

? Honest accounting/reimbursement practices - Agents and brokers carry a significant amount of receivables on behalf of banks, lenders and servicers. Casual accounting practices will drive unsubstantiated write-offs and fraudulent practices such as marking up contractor invoices to to try and recoup lost dollars. By keeping accurate and thorough accounting, agents and brokers ensure that their books are clean and above board.

? Accurate valuation practices - Appraisers have already been exposed. Agents and brokers carry a great deal of liability as it relates to accurately valuing real estate.

Maestro-Realis' REO Management Software-effectively, carefully and systematically ensures that details such as the ones above are met regularly. For many REO agents, managing properties is done through paper files or online spreadsheets where security can be compromised or documentation is sloppy or incomplete.

"The fraud and legal issues that trail real estate agents and brokers differs widely from the fraud news that surrounds servicers," said Roberts. "For agents, it is truly about integrity, organization of all key data, and documentation. With that stated, it is inevitable that the exposure being felt at the servicer level will to some extent trickle down to the agent level at some point."

About Realis Real Estate Software
Based in Denver, Realis Real Estate Software (formerly REO Maestro) provides and supports workflow management software for real estate professionals. In 2001 Realis Founder and CEO Lauren Roberts was a REO (Real Estate Owned) broker who wanted to streamline her operations, and broaden the talents and productivity of her agent team when she created REO Maestro. For almost a decade, REO Maestro - the first REO management software built by and for real estate professionals - has set the standard for simplifying and organizing all workflows associated with marketing and managing REO properties. In today's unpredictable market, the way agents can earn more is to diversify their services and portfolios, and work more efficiently - not manage more properties. Today Realis provides software solutions for REO properties, with software tailored for short sales available in Spring 2011. For more information, please visit http://www.RealisSoftware.com.

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Contact Details

Company Name: Metzger Associates
Issued By: Jill Thompson
Phone: 720-833-5921
Address: 5733 Central Ave
Zip: 80301
Website: Visit the website

by Jill Thompson (few years ago!)

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