Website helps sell foreclosed properties

Posted July 5, 2012 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2012 4:55 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Bankers Association has created a website where foreclosed properties can be listed for sale.

Using the industry term for bank-owned properties – REOs, or real estate owned – and playing off the name of a 1980s rock band, the association recently launched

"It's beneficial for both the banks and the consumers to have a resource that they can both lean on to help move these properties," said Brandon Wright, spokesman for the Bankers Association.

About 240 North Carolina properties are listed on the site, and banks in other states, such as Nevada, are starting to sign up to list their foreclosed properties as well. The site provides one-stop shopping for buyers , who can view REO properties of numerous banks rather than having to search the listings of multiple banks on their own websites.

Larry Barbour, president and chief executive of North State Bancorp in Raleigh, said foreclosed properties are "dead weight" on a bank's balance sheet, so building interest among potential buyers is critical. A website frees up bank personnel from handling inquiries.

"(That property) needs to be earning interest and income for our stakeholders," Barbour said. "Banks are not in the real estate business. We understand it a little bit – in fact fairly well – but we are not in that business."

More than 19,000 North Carolina homes are in foreclosure, according to research firm RealtyTrac. In May alone, 299 Wake County homes received foreclosure notices, as did 116 in Durham County.

The website doesn't affect the length of time required to process foreclosures, which is governed by state and federal regulations.

Still, Barbour said, moving foreclosures is an important part of economic recovery, and he believes the website will help.

"It's critical because (foreclosed properties have) got to go away before new (homes) can come on," he said.