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Fear Amputates Opportunity. Here’s A Way To Embrace and Tame It.



Fear Amputates OpportunityIf You’re Human…

Needles of fear prick your skin, inside-out. Salty beads bubble up and bloom. Two perked ears hear a thumping heart.  A pie-hole, normally wet, goes desert dry.  Breathing quickens.  Imagination, formerly confident, runs rogue, bad things loom dark and certain.

Fear robs your future, if you let it.

What Do We All Fear?

  1. Rejection.
  2. Looking lame, inexperienced and unworthy.
  3. Saying the wrong thing, awkward interaction.
  4. Disapproval.
  5. Opportunity amputation.
  6. Not knowing what to do or when to do it.
  7. Not knowing the answer, looking stupid, ignorant and out of touch.
  8. Success.
  9. Failure.
  10. ______________________________

Fear-feelings are normal.  If we allow our fear-feelings to paralyze us, they’ll rob us of our future.

What Actions Activate Fear?

  • Making the prospecting calls you know you should.
  • Asking hard, important questions.
  • Fast follow-up.
  • Pre-qualifying for ability, motivation and time-frame.
  • Embracing, learning and sharing new methods and tools and mindsets.
  • Saying NO.
  • Scheduling personal time.
  • Maintaining boundaries.
  • Speaking your mind.
  • _________________________

Any of the above may incite a riot of fearful-feelings.  Oddly paradoxical, fear is good. Fear is good because it signals we’re about to leave our comfort zone.  Fear is a barrier.  The average and ordinary allow their fears to paralyze their progress. How we face our fears is the difference between a pretender and a contender, a contender and a champion.  We must make friends with fear. Or at the very least, we need to feel the fear and act anyway.

Humor me a bit further and let me share a Car Crash story with you.

What To Do When We Feel Fearful?  Act Like Danica Patrick races.

Do you drive?  Through your windshield and down the road, have you witnessed cars crashing? In the flesh or on TV, have you ever seen race cars crash in a explosive spectacle of angry flame, twisted metal and car part shrapnel?

When rolling-up on a fresh car crash, civilians react intuitively, professional race car drivers are taught to respond counter intuitively.

Generally, we respond to fear like civilians respond to a car crash.  Here’s what I mean.  When we’re driving down the road and we see cars crash in front of us, intuitively we slow down and cautiously steer our away around the accident.

Professional race car drivers are taught to react counter intuitively.  At 187 mph, race cars  careen around the track within inches of each other.  When cars collide, crash shrapnel explodes in every direction.  Race cars drivers are taught to react counter intuitively when they see a crash.  They are taught to hold a steady speed or accelerate, and steer their car directly into the center-point of car crash.  Why?  Because at 187 mph, if they slow, they’ll get run over, causing a horrific chain reaction, multi-car pile up.  If a race car driver instinctively attempts to steer around the crash, odds are, instead of avoiding the wreckage, they’ll drive directly into the exploding shrapnel or side-swipe another driver.

When you feel fearful, acknowledge it, suppress your intuitive desire to brake and steer around what’s scaring you.  Instead, like a professional race car driver, respond counter intuitively, speed forward and face directly into what’s scaring you – take action.

Do WE Win By Facing Our Fears?  Sorta.

Let’s face it. When we feel the fear and take action anyway, from time to time we’re gonna crash and burn.  Our metaphorical knees will scrape and scab, our left eye blacken, maybe a chipped tooth, certainly our pride will sting and our ego bruise.  So what, it won’t kill us, it will simply make us more prepared, more experienced and ultimately, more successful.  If we professionally press forward when amateurs brake and swerve, we win.  I think the saying, “Fail Faster – Succeed Sooner” is the perfect mantra for facing, embracing and conquering our fears.  Say it with me now — out loud — Fail Faster, Succeed Sooner.

Lastly, We Don’t Have To Learn All Our Lessons The Hard Way.

Professionals train and perfect-practice (practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect-practice makes perfect).

Let’s do this:

  1. Grab a black ink pen and yellow legal pad.
  2. Write down the things you fear, the situations, the questions, etc..
  3. One by one, create an action plan that will give you the confidence, expertise and mindset to overcome or eliminate your individual listed fears.
  4. Simply train and practice for a professional outcome, when you feel the fear, face directly into it, take action and learn from your mistakes.

If you do this, you will prosper. Honest, you will.  Try it and experience winning for yourself.

Thanks for reading.  Share with a friend.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Matt Stigliano

    December 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Ken – Love the race car analogy. Never thought about it, but I can imagine what would happen if they steer off course or slow down. Applying it to everyday life and suddenly fear seems like something we can race right past and get to the winner’s circle.

    I’ve written before about how I enjoy failure, but fear is always a different beast. Somedays I excel with it, others I wallow in it. Now that I have the analogy in my head, I’ll have to remember it when I feel the onset of a bit of fear creeping into my thoughts.

  2. Missy Kitzman

    December 7, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Ken – Great post! I have to say I am somewhat fascinated by fear. I find that once I address my fears and move forward the outcome is never as “tragic” as I had imagined. The pure joy and sense of accomplishment when overcoming a fear inspires me…but then I can quickly find myself right back at square one with another fear. As soon as I feel the hesitation, I instantly remember a moment where I overcame fear and yet I still struggle to move forward. The longer I ponder the slower I take action. I am just amazed at how the cycle continues over and over again. Your saying “Fail Faster – Succeed Sooner” is definitely my new mantra!

  3. Ken Brand

    December 7, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Matt – Thanks, WFO is the way to go. Cheers.

    Missy – Appreciate the compliment. It’s so true 99% of the things we worry about, never happen. Cheers to speed….and you.

  4. MIssy Caulk

    December 7, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Ken, this is so so true.

    I tell my yununs’ this all the time. Most of what we fear never happens anyway it just paralysis us.

  5. Joe Loomer

    December 8, 2009 at 6:23 am

    Your post made me think of what a SEAL buddy of mine – Master Chief Mad Dog Madision – used to say – “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.” The context was physical exertion, not fear, but one could argue fear is a type of pain.

    Since my duties have shifted away from buying and selling to training and recruiting, this is a great shot in the arm just when I needed it, Ken – thanks!!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  6. Ken Brand

    December 8, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Thanks Missy, lot’s of energy is spent worrying about what will go wrong, instead of how can I make it go right. I’m wrestle with this all the time. I think the real estate business give us hourly opportunities to practice positive perspective. Cheers.

    Joe – Mad Dog! What an awesome name. And you are dead-bang right, fear is a form of pain. All the BIG-Best in 2010 Joe. Cheers.

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Disputing a property’s value in a short sale: turn a no into a go

During a short sale, there may be various obstacles, with misaligned property values ranking near the top, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!



magic eight ball

magic eight ball

It’s about getting your way

Were you on the debate team in high school? Were you really effective at convincing your parent or guardian to let you do things that you shouldn’t have been doing? How are your objection-handling skills? Can you flip a no into a go?

When working on short sales, there is one aspect of the process that may require those excellent negotiation or debate skills: disputing the property value. In a short sale, the short sale lender sends an appraiser or broker to the property and this individual conducts a Broker Price Opinion or an appraisal, using special forms provided by the short sale lender.

After this individual completes the Broker Price Opinion or the appraisal, he or she will return it to the short sale lender. Shortly thereafter, the short sale lender will be ready to talk about the purchase price. Will the lender accept the offer on the table or is the lender looking for more? If the lender is seeking an offer for a lot more than the one on the table, mentally prepare for the fact that you will need to conduct a value dispute.

Value Dispute Process

While each of the different short sale lenders (including Fannie Mae) has their own policies and procedures for value dispute, all these procedures have some things in common. Follow the steps below in order to conduct an effective value dispute.

  1. Inquire about forms. Ask your short sale lender if there are specific forms that you need to complete in order to conduct a value dispute. Obtain those forms if necessary.
  2. Gather information. Your goal is to convince the lender to accept the buyer’s offer, so you need to demonstrate that your offer is in line with the value of the property. Collect data that proves this point, such as reports from the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, or your local title company.
  3. Take photos. If there are parts of the property that are substandard and possibly were not revealed to the lender by the individual conducting the BPO, take photos of those items. Perhaps the kitchen has no flooring, or there is a 40-year old roof. Take photos to demonstrate these defects.
  4. Obtain bids. For any defects on the property, obtain a minimum of two bids from licensed contractors. For example, obtain two bids from roofers or structural engineers if necessary
  5. Write a report. Think back to high school English class if necessary. Write a short essay that references your information, photos, and bids, and explains how these items support your buyer’s value. This is not something that you whip up in five minutes. Spend time preparing a compelling appeal.

It is entirely possible that some lenders will not be particularly open-minded when it comes to valuation dispute. However, more times than not, an effective value dispute leads to short sale approval.

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Short sale standoffs: how to avoid getting hit

The short sale process can feel a lot like a wild west standoff, but there are ways to come out victorious, so let’s talk about those methods:



short sales standoff

short sales standoff

What is a short sale standoff?

If you are a short sale listing agent, a short sale processor, or a short sale negotiator then you probably already know about the short sale standoff. That’s when you are processing a short sale with more than one lien holder and neither will agree to the terms offered by the other. Or… better yet, each one will not move any further in the short sale process until they see the short sale approval letter from the other lien holder.

Scenario #1 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they will proceed with the short sale, and they will offer Bank 2 a certain amount to release their lien. You call Bank 2 and tell them the good news. Unfortunately, the folks at Bank 2 want more money. If Bank 1 and Bank 2 do not agree, then you are in a standoff.

Scenario #2 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they cannot generate your approval letter until you present them with the approval letter from Bank 2. Bank 2 employees tell you the exact same thing. Clearly, in this situation, you are in a standoff.

How to Avoid the Standoff

If you are in the middle of a standoff, then you are likely very frustrated. You’ve gotten pretty far in the short sale process and you are likely receiving lots of pressure from all of the parties to the transaction. And, the lenders are not helping much by creating the standoff.

Here are some ideas for how to get out of the situation:

  • Go back to the first lien holder and ask them if they are willing to give the second lien holder more money.
  • Go to the second lien holder and tell them that the first lien holder has insisted on a maximum amount and see if they will budge.
  • If no one will budge, find out why. Is this a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? If so, they have a maximum that they allow the second. And, if you alert the second of that information, they may become more compliant.
  • Worst case: someone will have to pay the difference. Depending on the laws in your state, it could be the buyer, the seller, or the agents (yuck). No matter what, make sure that this contribution is disclosed to all parties and appears on the short sale settlement statement at closing.
  • In Scenario #2, someone’s got to give in. Try explaining to both sides where you are and see if one will agree to generate their approval letter. If not, follow the tips provided in this Agent Genius article and take your complaint to the streets.

One thing about short sales is that the problems that arise can be difficult to resolve merely because of the number of parties involved—and all from remote locations. Imagine how much easier this would be if all parties sat at the same table and broke bread? If we all sat at the same table, then we wouldn’t need armor in order to avoid the flying bullets from the short sale standoff.

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Short sale approval letters don’t arrive in the blink of an eye

Short sale approval letters may look like they’ve been obtained simply by experts, but it takes time and doesn’t just happen with luck.



short sales

short sale approval

Short sale approval: getting prepared, making it happen

People always ask me how it is that I obtain short sale approval letters with such ease. The truth is, that while I have more short sale processing and negotiating experience than most agents and brokers, I don’t just blink my eyes like Jeannie and make those short sale approval letters appear. I often sweat it, just like everyone else.

Despite the fact that I do not have magical powers, I do have something else on my side—education. One of the most important things than can lead to short sale success for any and all agents is education.

Experience dictates that agents that learn about the short sale process
have increased short sale closings.

Short sale education opportunities abound

There are many ways to become educated about the short sale process and make getting short sale approval letters look easy to obtain. These include:

  • Classes at your local board of Realtors®
  • Free short sale webinars and workshops
  • The short sale or foreclosure specialist designations

As the distressed property arena grows and changes, it is important to always stay abreast of policy changes that may impact how you do your job and how you process any short sale that lands on your plate.

The most important thing to do is to read, read, read. Follow short sale specialists and those who blog about short sales on AGBeat, Google+, facebook, and twitter. Set up a Google Alert for the term ‘short sale’ and you will receive Google’s top short sale picks daily in your email inbox. Visit mortgagor websites to read up on their specific policies and procedures.

Don’t take on too much

And, when you get a call from a prospective short sale seller, make sure that you don’t bit off more than you can chew. Agents in most of America right now are clamoring for listings since we are in the midst of a listing shortage. But, if you are going to take on a short sale, be sure that it is a deal that you can close. And, if you have your doubts, why not partner up with a local agent that can mentor your and assist you in getting the job done? After all, half a commission check is better than none!

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