A role for agents in credit crisis

Part 2: Rebuilding Homeownership

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The financial crisis has taken millions of Americans out of the housing market. Foreclosures, short sales, bankruptcies and the spiraling debt that accompanies a job-depleted economy have trashed that traditional predictor of risk — the consumer credit score.

Real estate professionals nationwide face the challenge of dealing with clients whose credit scores will be marred for years to come. For many of these "credit-challenged" consumers, the real estate agent is the first point of contact for their next attempt at grasping the American Dream of homeownership.

"In most homebuying scenarios it is typically the (real estate agent) who is first to make contact with a client. What (real estate agents) do next can impact that borrower and their ability to buy a home," said Richard Bowen, real estate instructor at Alpha College of Real Estate who teaches a monthly class called "Credit Challenges."