BrokerageIndustry News

Business booms for REO specialists

Experienced agents, brokers say networking is key for newcomers

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Business is booming for Ralph Barone, a New Jersey real estate broker, thanks to the housing market decline. Barone owns New Jersey REO Asset Management and Realty -- the largest brokerage company in the state focused on bank-owned foreclosure properties, also known as real estate-owned or REO homes. Real estate agents and brokers who are experienced in handling REO properties are well-positioned to weather the market downturn, and membership organizations that serve REO brokers say they have seen rising interest as the number of foreclosures has climbed nationwide. Real estate professionals can choose from several groups, each with its own set of qualifications, events, publications, directories and dues. Barone is a member of two major REO membership organizations: the National REO Brokers Association and REOMAC. Foreclosure data provider RealtyTrac reported last month that foreclosure filings rose 115 percent in August compared to August 2006, and rose 36 percent from J...