Are Big Corporate Real Estate Websites Putting Lives in Danger?
Answer: In my opinion, YES. There are large corporate websites publishing information that puts potential buyers at risk of a terrifying confrontation, bodily injury, or worse.
Now, unless you list foreclosures you are probably wondering what I'm talking about. Even some REO listing agents may not be aware of this, but some corporate websites are publishing information about foreclosures. The problem is that they are publishing PRE-FORECLOSURE information, and they are publishing it as though the property is already listed.
In other words, the consumer sees an advertisement for the property, as well as the name and phone number of the listing agent. They think the property is listed, and since it's a foreclosure, it must be a great deal. Off they go to check it out, and this is where things have the potential to get hairy.
You see, people are often still living in those houses after the bank has technically foreclosed. The listing agent may be working with them to help them relocate, or may not have been assigned to make contact yet. Sometimes the occupants aren't even aware that the foreclosure has formally taken place. Some of them know, and don't plan on leaving until the sherriff puts their belongings on the sidewalk. This is where we find the potential for a very dangerous situation.
You have a consumer who thinks this house is vacant and for sale. They are walking around the property, peeking in windows, and poking around in outbuildings. Can you imagine the potential confrontation if that consumer comes face to face with an angry former owner? Considering that 3/4 of the homeowners in my area are gun owners, the situation could be explosive.
As an agent who lists foreclosures in Cookeville and the surrounding area, I've been getting phone calls about my pre-listed foreclosures because of what is published on these websites. I'm thankful for those phone calls because it gives me the opportunity to prevent a potential disaster. It scares me to think about all the people who don't call first.
All agents need to be aware of this situation. If you get a phone call about a "foreclosure" that is not in the mls system, please urge people to wait until you can investigate and get back to them. If they know who the "listing agent" is, then reach out to that agent and check the property status. You just might save someone's life.
Cookeville TN native. A full time, full service agent for the entire Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.
American Way Real Estate Co.
931-526-9581 Office phone, 931-528-6569 Office Fax
Virginia Kail- real estate agent, Cookeville TN