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RISMEDIA, July 13, 2010—Today’s real estate market and foreclosures seem to go hand in hand, so it goes without saying that agents who want to remain competitive and set themselves up for future success, incorporate distressed properties into their practice.

“Our data indicates that 31% of all residential home sales in the first quarter of 2010 were distressed properties,” says Rick Sharga, senior vice president of RealtyTrac.

“Research we did, in partnership with Trulia, shows that well over 60% of most active buyers (namely first-time buyers and investors) are very interested in buying distressed assets,” adds Sharga. “By not including these active segments into their real estate business, Realtors are missing out on a lot of opportunities.”

While the foreclosure problem is far from over, agents across the country are taking advantage of the tools that RealtyTrac, a leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, offers to help them successfully integrate foreclosures into their daily business routine.

Reaching Out to Troubled Homeowners
From lead generation to the company’s MLS Match Feature, Trend Center and Pre-Foreclosure List, agents Bill Gardner and Amy Kite aren’t missing a beat when it comes to working with distressed properties.

“RealtyTrac has been a great lead generation tool for my business,” says Gardner, an agent in Hallendale, Florida. “Not only does RealtyTrac provide me with prospective buyers, but the company goes one step further by offering all the necessary information consumers are looking for in one central location.”

Having switched her business model to focus on distressed properties three years ago, Kite, an agent in Libertyville, Illinois, has been impressed with the company from the beginning.

“RealtyTrac’s Pre-Foreclosure List has been one of the biggest keys to my success in working with distressed properties the past few years,” says Kite. “The list allows me to find listing leads for homeowners who are already in distress and provides me the opportunity to reach out to them so I can act as a resource to help them avoid foreclosure.”

In addition, Kite can take advantage of being able to anticipate where the next round of foreclosures will occur, setting her up to always be where the market is headed.

“By knowing where there is an influx of distressed homeowners, I can stay ahead by knowing which neighborhoods will see numerous foreclosures hit in a short amount of time,” she says.

Staying Ahead of the Game
Staying on top of the distressed property market is not an easy task, but RealtyTrac offers the tools and information agents need to stay ahead of the game.

“Not only does RealtyTrac help me find buyers to sell properties to, they have taken the time to provide educational and analytical tools to provide me with an accurate picture of the real estate market,” says Gardner.

The company’s Trend Center is an additional unique feature that Gardner and Kite utilize to learn about the market as well as compare foreclosure listings to normal home sales.

“RealtyTrac’s Trend Center gives me a clear sense as to the current market conditions and provides information such as what percentage of the housing market foreclosures claim, what areas have the highest amount of new foreclosure activity, the average price of foreclosure properties selling in a specific area versus normal home sales in addition to how home prices and foreclosure activity stack up to one another,” says Gardner.

Adds Kite: “While agents used to have to search for this information on numerous sites, RealtyTrac has taken the time to gather the information and share it in one, central location.”

“Additionally, our MLS Match Feature helps agents better educate buyers, since foreclosure buyers (especially first-timers) need a fair amount of education when it comes to purchasing a distressed property,” explains Sharga.

The feature combines RealtyTrac’s foreclosure database of more than 2 million default, auction and bank-owned properties with millions of for-sale properties from Multiple Listing Services nationwide, allowing users to quickly identify foreclosure properties that are also listed for sale on the MLS and to check the foreclosure status and details for resale listings.

Looking Ahead
“Foreclosures are a prevalent part of the industry at the moment,” says Gardner, “and they will most likely stay that way through 2012 before eventually leveling off in 2013. Even then, it will still take a few years for the remaining properties to absorb.”

“We are seeing more investors getting into the market now,” says Kite, “as they feel now is a good time to invest in real estate. As more investors continue to enter the market, it will help alleviate some of the situations where we are seeing high numbers of foreclosures.

Even though many buyers don’t end up purchasing foreclosures, it is crucial for real estate professionals to be able to start the conversation by showing prospective buyers distressed properties, as it is often a mandatory component in developing relationships with today’s buyers.

“As foreclosures continue to be the trend, it is important for agents to understand the distressed market to be able to help prospective buyers recognize the current state of the market,” says Kite. “Foreclosures are going to continue to play a very important role in this market.

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