Real Estate Agents Find Foreclosures Profitable

Las Vegas—The housing decline has taken its toll on the real estate industry, but one group is thriving: Agents who focus on foreclosures, such as Las Vegas-based agent Joseph Iuliucci, who has more than 500 listings and was among the top 10 home sellers nationwide for the Prudential Real Estate franchise chain last year.Last year was a tough one for real estate agents. Because sales of pre-existing homes fell 20 percent last year compared to 2005, many agents have switched jobs—causing the National Association of Realtors membership to drop to 1.24 million from 1.37 million in 2006, according to The Wall Street Journal.As sales slowed, foreclosures rose. About one out of nine homes listed for sale now is a bank-owned home, according to First American CoreLogic, a research firm based in Santa Ana, Calif. In some areas, foreclosed homes are leading the market. In Las Vegas, foreclosure-related deals were 52 percent of all sales in March, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors said.The one drawback to selling foreclosed homes? Agents often get a lower commission—2 percent, compared to 2.5 to 3 percent for regular homes—from banks for selling foreclosed properties, the Journal said.