As the market changed, so did the nature of the homes offered for sale. Up until the summer of 2007, a small portion, maybe 1 or 2 percent, of the market had been bank-owned or foreclosure properties. That began to change, and by the end of 2008, more than 70 percent of the homes sold each month were bank-owned, or REO properties. To ignore this segment of sellers would have been foolish, but how could we get these banks, a whole new kind of client, to call us?
We weren’t the only agents to ask this question, and as the wave of foreclosures hit, a whole new group of agents emerged as market volume leaders. They were the old-time REO agents who for years had transacted a few deals each month for a bank or two where they had long-standing relationships. These agents were suddenly handling 100, 200, or 300 REO listings at one time. We had to get the bank clients or we would be left to survive on 30 percent of a market that now totaled half the dollar volume it had only two years before.