Industry Pros Shifting Focus Toward REO Restoration by David Wharton

According to a new survey by Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A., restoration and improvement of REO properties is becoming an increasing priority for many industry professionals. Altisource today released additional results from its inaugural Default Servicing Survey, which revealed that 93 percent of the over 200 mortgage default servicing professionals surveyed said that their organization is making an investment to improve the REO properties under their management. That investment was described as “significant” by 62 percent of those surveyed.

Min Alexander, SVP, Real Estate Services, Altisource, said in a press release:

For many home buyers, access to conventional financing and move-in ready condition are requirements to purchase their next home. Distressed properties, including REO, have historically been marketed in as-is condition, at times limiting the potential buyer pool. Servicers are changing this by increasing investments to maintain or improve the condition of these properties, attracting more owner-occupant home buyers.

With shortages among both housing inventory and recent dips in the housing labor force, moving REO inventory is an obvious opportunity for servicers. According to the Default Servicing Survey, 82 percent of surveyed servicing professionals ranked investing in improving the condition of their REO assets as “among their top three most effective ways for attracting traditionally minded consumers to the REO market.” Other important tactics listed include offering financing options (76 percent) and letting buyers work with a real estate agent (43 percent).

Unsurprisingly, a focus on technological solutions also stood out in the Survey results. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said access to easy-to-use resources such as online auctions, positively affected consumer participation in the default market. Making sure that those auction pages include things like local school stats and virtual tours is also key—61 percent of those surveyed listed those sorts of customer-friendly inclusions as “among their top three methods to attract consumers to the REO market.”

Marcello Mastioni, President, Real Estate Marketplace, Altisource, said:

The REO market offers both servicers and consumers a compelling opportunity to meet each other’s needs and solve for today’s supply-demand disconnect. Technological innovation, such as online real estate marketing platforms like Hubzu, can help savvy buyers discover a new pool of properties. Servicers’ investments in consumer-friendly features, along with improvements in property conditions, are broadening home buyers’ horizons and encouraging them to consider the REO market.

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