Virginia Kail's Cookeville TN Real Estate Blog

Are Big Corporate Real Estate Websites Putting Lives in Danger?

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.

Cookeville foreclosure for sale

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.

cookeville foreclosure for sale

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.

        

Virginia Kail

Realtor®

Cookeville TN native. A full time, full service agent for the entire Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.

931-260-4729 cell

www.VirginiaKail.com

True Blue Realty

931-559-TRUE  Office phone, 931-559-4256 Office Fax

 

Virginia Kail

Virginia Kail- real estate agent, Cookeville TN

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Comment balloon 13 commentsVirginia Kail • March 12 2014 07:36PM

Comments

Virginia - I totally agree with your assessment of this aspect of potential danger to the consumer. As far as the issue of trespassing, we had this situation really nearly 2 years ago; since then, the master in equity - who conducts the foreclosure sale - is quite clear and adamant with REO and consumer alike to be sure they understand that until the title is transferred - and even subsequent to that - the home is still under the control of the original owner. I have a feeling that this circumstance will be with us for a bit longer.

Posted by Susan Jacobsen, 20 Years Providing WOW Real Estate Service (The Alliance Group Realty) about 5 years ago

     I see these on several of the "Big Name" real estate websites.  It is an invasion of privacy and an invitation to danger.  Those big name real estate sites have probably lawyered up; if they are sued they will claim Freedom of Public Information or something. 

Posted by Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) about 5 years ago

I have to disagree, it's not websites putting anyone at risk.  It's simply stupid for anyone to go onto a property without an appointment and accompanied by an agent.  Even if it's vacant and has a sign up.  

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 5 years ago

Susan, I wish more people were aware. I often make first contact with occupants and they don't even know the home has actually been foreclosed on. It's really unfortunate for everyone involved that this is being published. It makes the situation worse for the former owners, dangerous for would be buyers, and harder for the agent who will list the property.

Posted by Virginia Kail, True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale (Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage) about 5 years ago

Fred, I actually wondered if they had considered the legal implications of publishing properties for sale that are not yet for sale. (and the dangers that come along with it.)

Posted by Virginia Kail, True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale (Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage) about 5 years ago

Tammy,

I can certainly agree that buyers should not be visiting a property without an agent. But, I do not think websites should be advertising property for sale when it is not actually listed. Many consumers are not educated about the buying process, especially first time buyers.

Posted by Virginia Kail, True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale (Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage) about 5 years ago

Virginia-I had not heard of this process but I do see the potential danger for people who are seen to be snooping.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) about 5 years ago

I know what you mean. Too many properties being listed on web sites by banks, but properties aren't actually for sale yet. I still get calls from people saying" We already walked around the house and looked in the windows...", can you show us the inside?"

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) about 5 years ago

Virginia, a good word of caution on publicizing information that is not ready to be publishedIt could save people a lot of trouble. 

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) about 5 years ago

I have actually had a few clients recently ask about properties that are in pre-foreclosure and not yet listed.  Thanks for sharing, good to know this is where they are getting the information from. 

Posted by Rob Marken, 25+ years experience in Bend (Bend River Realty) about 5 years ago

Hello Virginia ... Great post and VB is so sick and tired of BIG Corps and Businesses making money in this industry. I think there should be more regulation from our Government ... (Good Luck) with that because our Government has their dirty hands in this also. Your post has been featured to the group:

NIGHT OWLS AT ACTIVERAIN

VB ;o)

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) about 5 years ago

VB, Thanks for the feature! I tried to reply sooner, but AR has been super wonky and wouldn't let me post responses.

Posted by Virginia Kail, True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale (Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage) about 5 years ago

Jeff, The same thing happens to me all the time. If it's published, people are going to go check it out.

Posted by Virginia Kail, True Blue Realty, Homes and Land for Sale (Investments, starter houses, luxury homes,farms, acreage) about 5 years ago

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