I am not unfamiliar with foreclosures. I have bought and sold more than a few, and I do dozens of short sales a year. I don't for a moment think that selling an REO is simple; yes, they are vacant, but as an investor myself I know that the property has to be managed and overseen. I know some particularly good brokers who sell REO listings. One of them called me once about a year ago and informed me that he was the new agent for a listing I had that was scheduled to close in another 3 days. When I told him this, rather then say "tough luck," he assisted my client's attorney and myself in getting the home reinstated and allowing it to close as scheduled. It cost him a listing, but it earned my gratitude and respect.
That said, some REO agents conduct business in an utterly deplorable manner. You probably know the type in your marketplace: one crappy photo taken from the car, no remarks, and no communication. We've got a few here that absolutely take the cake in this regard. Talking with some is like dealing with the DMV- rude and arrogant. One won't even take a phone call to set an appointment to show- he just published the lockbox combination in the agents remarks. At least I can show his listings. And to get a question answered? Forget it!
To those agents who think that the foreclosure gravy train exempts them from acting like a respectful, competent professional, you reap what you sow. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point what you have sent around will come back to bite you. Maybe your asset manager gets wind of your shenanigans. Maybe the bank reorganizes and they start dealing with other agents. It doesn't matter. At some point, these agents will have to go back to dealing with the rest of us, and it will be that much harder for them because they are no longer practiced in being accountable for their actions.
Like I said, some REO agents are very, very good. But the bad ones are the worst, and their time will come. I just wish it would come sooner in one or two cases!