The agents pay the vendors, submit the reimbursements, and then wait for the reo banks to pay. Unfortunately, some make the waiting period the last and only step. How often do you audit your REO expenses? This is a task that must be done weekly to ensure that your are being reimbursed and reimbursed the correct amount. Do not let tasks fall to the wayside because you feel that you have more important work to do or as many usually say, “I have a bookkeeper, he/she is handling it for me.” That is all good and dandy but do you really know what is happening with your A/P and A/R? It is crucial to the success of your business to obtain a weekly and monthly snapshot of bills that must be paid and receivable due to you or your company.

When the property is in the pre-listing phase and vendors or assigned to complete jobs, make sure each vendor submits their invoices within 48 hours of work completion so all major invoices will be on file with the reo bank before the property is listed. If repairs and routine maintenance is required during the listing and closing phase, make sure all necessary work is complete within 48 hours of completion. Once all repairs and routine invoices have been submitted, you will be left with only one invoice type to monitor, utilities. If necessary, assign work orders to each repair, routine assignments, and utilities so you will have a way to track the status of the job and follow-up if the work order has not been completed.

When payment is received, keep accurate records by applying the payment to the correct invoice to update the reo banks account. If the reimbursement has not been paid within 25 days and after you have submitted the reimbursement per the bank requirements (payment timeline will vary), call, email, or fax the banks A/P department. After 25 days, submit Statement to the bank listing all outstanding invoices. It is very important to keep accurate and detailed records. If you are using a bookkeeping program such as QuickBooks, make sure all invoices and the statement of account shows the complete property address and Asset Number/Property ID. Submitting vague invoices without the data required by the bank will not get you paid in a timely manner. If you receive written approval from the asset manager, attach it to all invoices.

If the property is scheduled to close, review all outstanding invoices and resubmit 14-7 days BEFORE closing. Most reo banks will only provide a 14 days open window for all final submissions AFTER the property has closed. If your invoices are not in the bank system, this gives you time to resubmit your invoices before the property closes. If the reo banks does not have your invoices, it will be your lost, your are still responsible for paying the vendors.

It is important to audit your REO Expenses Weekly!

Is it time to create a Virtual Real Estate Office? Is it more beneficial for specific brokerage sizes or should the single broker and small brokerage firm be the only ones to consider the virtual real estate office concept.

There are many pros and cons to the possibilities of establishing a virtual real estate office but the bottom line always seem to point to money. Yes, money is a motivating factor whether it pertains to the brick and mortar, staffing, equipments, the lack of money, or how the virtual office concept is perceived by your market area.

For the consumer, several factors affect their ability to scout around town for the ideal home such as the price of gas, credit, preferred schools, employer location, etc. However, with a virtual office setup, consumer can benefit greatly using technology made available such as virtual tours of the homes, neighborhood, and area schools, online listing and closing programs such as SURECLOSE, SettlementRoom, RELAY, etc., a property presentation video that also shows a room-by-room virtual tour of the home with the listing agent providing a room-by-room commentary, listing agent presentation of the closing process coupled with a presentation from a preferred title company and lender.

Another benefit for the consumer is that it is not necessary to be present to sign documents. With the availability of several signature programs such as EchoSign and DocuSign, many documents can be signed electronically. For the states and banks that prohibit electronic signatures, IT’S TIME TO GET ON BOARD! Until then, provisions must be made by the agents.

A few of the benefits for the brokers and agents include the elimination of unnecessary large office space. The office space required can be reduce to enough allowable space for the broker, receptionist/assistant, conference area for meetings and signings, and a file storage area for hard copies if required. Otherwise, go paperless. If there is a need for agents to schedule in-office time, then you can setup cubicles.

Outsourcing the office administrative aspects will help the broker/agent cut back on additional expense. If you currently have onsite assistants, working from home or remotely could be a feasible alternative and instead of paying the remote staff an hourly fee, pay a set fee on a per property or per transaction basis. You decide. With your staff now working offsite, you will eliminate the need of office equipment, furniture, and most of the associated expenses incurred when you have employees.

Having a virtual office may not work for everyone and/or it may require a transition phase by slowing making your current setup move into a virtual setup. Do your homework before taking the plunge, it may prove to be very beneficial, financially and a renewed growth in business.