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10 DON’Ts of Social Media



So many rules, so many people telling us what to do, so why would we listen if the medium is so new and rules are written as we go? Well…’s not so new anymore and as Gary Vaynerchuk, AKA @garyvee mentions in his exclusive sxsw interview It’s not Social Media anymore, it’s just Media“. Yesterday I decided to ask a random question on twitter “what are no-no’s of social media”? and after a lot of back and forth – this is the consensus:

Don’t be a Social Leech

No one likes blood sucking parasites! Don’t just take without giving back, make sure you reciprocate. Share your social capital.

Don’t be a Counterfeit Dud

People in Social Media read right through fakes – be yourself, be real!

Don’t take the insolent hard sale approach

Constant self-promotion will get you no where. Get to know people first and engage before guiding them to your website or asking for a favor.

Don’t forget Social Rules of interaction

Same rules that apply in real life, apply on-line. Use common sense.  If you wouldn’t do something in real life, don’t do it on-line.

Don’t write anything you may regret later

That includes mentioning clients’ names, stories, and being contradicting (what you say will remain on-line forever).

Don’t Pontificate

No one likes to be preached at – your lectures may not even apply. What doesn’t work for you may work for someone else and vise-versa.

Don’t be a Robot

Be careful of automation. Some people use it successfully but the consensus is that automation is annoying.

Don’t be aloof

Engage people, be approachable and address the “social” aspect of social media.

Don’t just dive in without testing the water

Different Platforms have different unwritten rules of engagement – it’s not a bad idea to lurk first and figure out how things work

Don’t NOT drink mojitos

I just put this one in here to see if you were paying attention

Here are some random things to AVOID as shared on Twitter:

  • “I’s” (avoid always talking about you)
  • being mean and being a jerk (although this works well for some)
  • self-promotion and hard sales
  • blanket tweeting as opposed to sprinkle tweeting (this one made me crack up)
  • adding contact details to everything you do
  • taking trolls personally
  • saying the same thing over and over again
  • being selfish (return the favor)
  • spam
  • lie
  • steal
  • being redundant
  • being boring
  • being irresponsible

I think this whole thing can be summarized into 2 words:  BE NICE!!

**thanks to everyone who played along yesterday and were so willing to give their opinions:  @lindaAWI, @davidgibbons, @MonteCarloSS2k, @phxazlaura, @DonEads, @jgx, @LarisaBelliveau, @enthused, @RealtorMcVey, @mklopez, @Timmy79, @JimDuncan, @gopalo, @Ribeezie, @acummings, @jessicahorton, @mikeventura, @talktodiane, @boulderite **

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Bob Carney

    April 6, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Amen….except for the Mojitos part. : )

  2. Derek Overbey

    April 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Don’t forget about sharing good stuff! Thanks so much for the link back to the awesome Gary Vaynerchuk interview. So glad I could do it and share with the masses. It was awesome!

  3. Joshua Dorkin @ BiggerPockets

    April 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I had an agent yell at me on Twitter for not capitalizing the R in the word realtor (whoops) and for not adding the (R) for “Registered” after it.

    DON’T DO THAT EITHER! lol ;p

  4. David Leonhardt

    April 6, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Hola Ines. All good, a better list than most – and I’ve read far, far too many. The only one I would qualify is the automation. If you offer something free, with no strings attached, it seems to be OK to auto-thank new followers.

    I’m going to post this comment over at the Digg page, too. 🙂

  5. Temecula Realtor Tim Taggett

    April 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    It was my pleasure Ines to help, just hope people find our tips useful during their online networking!

  6. nickm

    April 6, 2009 at 10:40 am

    that’s a lot of rules.
    can i’s handle it?
    i’s dont know.
    bye bye

  7. Brian Block

    April 6, 2009 at 11:28 am


    I had a Mojito on Saturday night at a restaurant/bar called Caribbean Breeze in Arlington, VA — and for somewhere between 2 and 3 seconds, I thought of you.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    BTW, let me know if you’re ever in the area and Mojitos are on me.

  8. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Bob – of course YOU would say something about the mojito part.

    Joshua – that’s just SO predictable and ridiculous at the same time.

    Brian….just 2-3 seconds??? 🙂 j/k thank you for the invite and I hope to take you up on that some day soon.

  9. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 6, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Hey Derek – what you did with those interviews is awesome – even exposed a few people that I didn’t know about (thanks!!)

    David – the thanking of new followers with automation is the number one controversial automation right now on Twitter. A lot of people will stop following you on the spot if you respond with an automated “thanks for following DM” – As with everything… need to test what works for you and different things work for different people.

    Tim – I’m sure many will….they need to be said 🙂

    Nicky Picky – don’t look at them as rules ok? (trouble maker!)

  10. Al Perry

    April 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Ines, thanks for the suggestions. Do I get extra credit if I was drinking a Mojito as I was reading your post?

  11. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    ABSOLUTELY Al!!! major brownie points! 🙂

  12. @Iconic88

    April 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Great post!!…I just tweeted it on Twitter.

    Thanks for sharing your insight. **no more social media faux pas any more** 😉

  13. Ann Cummings

    April 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Hola Ines! This is a great compiling of no-no’s for sure. Too bad that those who really should read these probably never will….sad. And because of that, we’ll continue to be bombarded by all their ‘stuff’.


  14. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 6, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    @iconic88 – thanks for the retweet! 🙂

    Ann – so true and so sad – most people reading here know how it goes…but I guess we have to keep trying

  15. McKremie

    April 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    10 DON’Ts of Social Media –

  16. Anna Tevosyan

    April 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm
    10 Don’ts of Social Media

  17. Carla Feagans

    April 7, 2009 at 12:21 am

    RT @Iconic88: 10 DON’Ts of Social Media <– Hey, I love mojitos! How’d ya know? 😉

  18. Heather Harrigan

    April 7, 2009 at 1:35 am

    RT @newswise: great list of things to avoid, or at least treat with caution, in the social media

  19. Ann Cummings

    April 7, 2009 at 1:38 am

    RT @Ines: @acummings @Ribeezie 10 DONT’s of SOCIAL MEDIA TY!! {great list! sorta like – “great post!”} 😉

  20. Hilary Marsh

    April 7, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Ann Cummings RT @Ines: @acummings @Ribeezie 10 DONT’s of SOCIAL MEDIA TY!! {great list!}}

  21. Ricardo Bueno

    April 7, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Favorite line in this post: >> “Don’t NOT drink mojitos (via @ines of course; who else?)

  22. Ricardo Bueno

    April 7, 2009 at 12:29 am

    @Ines: so are mojitos the “secret sauce” to your blogging success? Just wonderin’…

    On a serious note…my thoughts are: *Be Yourself*. It’s much easier that way (easier to connect, share, engage)…

  23. Laura Orsini

    April 7, 2009 at 5:42 am

    RT @Ines 10 DONT’s of SOCIAL MEDIA [Great list, Ines! Happy to be able to contribute. L]

  24. Joe Loomer

    April 7, 2009 at 4:35 am

    Great read Ines – I know I’ve got to keep a close eye on my media pages to make sure my Navy buddies and my clients and friends don’t interact in the wrong lingo! Brings new meaning to the words “you just had to be there.” If you’re ever in Augusta, Mojitos are on me….

  25. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 7, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Pablo, you can say mojitos are my “secret sauce” to social media success (wink wink)

    **and yes….being yourself is the only way….it makes us real, it makes us approachable and vulnerable – which in this medium can be tough at times, but necessary**

  26. teresa boardman

    April 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    LOL this is all hard for me because I am anti social

  27. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    yeah yeah T – whatever! 😀

  28. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    April 7, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Joe – as long as they interact with each other – they can do it in whatever lingo they want 🙂 And thanks for the offer on the mojitos (looking forward to it)

  29. Lilian Chisca

    April 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    10 DON’Ts of Social Media ? ? summarized into 2 words: BE NICE!!

  30. Dan O'Brien

    April 8, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Real Estate Magazine – 10 DON’Ts of Social Media

  31. Ken Brand

    April 8, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Shhhh….keep it secret.

    If people are rude, mean and slow, let’em buy the rope, tie a noose, throw it over a tall tree limb, secure the no-noose end to an immovable objcect, gently slide the noose around their neck and…..

    I don’t know…maybe this comment is a SM fauxpax.

    I always enjoy your Rum laced point of views. Thanks

  32. ines

    April 8, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    LOL @Ken – funny about the “rum laced point of views” – I was called a drunk at a local paper this week by anonymous cowards….I guess that also comes with the territory no?

  33. ken brand

    April 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Ines, Hear Ye, Hear Ye, any weasel who slams anyone anonymously should be slapped and shunned when found out….until then, most definately ignored. Dear ‘Wussies” please step forward and remove your hoods…..err….masks.

    Rock on Ines…Clink-Cheers.

  34. Ines Garcia

    April 22, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Ines, as a newby in SM I find your tips useful. I have made a few mistakes…but that’s how we learn. Actually I haven’t had a Mojito!
    Thanks for sending me the link to the article. This is the one I was looking for.

  35. ines

    April 22, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Ines – your first mistake…..not ever having a Mojito….let’s correct that ok? 😀

    If we wouldn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t be human – it’s how we correct those mistakes that makes us better people.

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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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