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The Best Canceled Listing Agreement EVER

Our team has been averaging about 10 new listings a month. Because of our Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, about 1/3 of them are short sales or pre-foreclosures of some sort.

Talk about being waist-deep in the personal lives of our Sellers… Job losses and illnesses and interest rate increases that lead to financial instability and stress that then even lead to illness and divorce (in some cases) are a large chunk of the lives of these Sellers that we work with.

Sometimes, I hate listing these homes. I feel so bad for the situations that these people are in. Regardless of “WHY” it is happening (poor buying decision, downsized employment, increased rate, cheating spouse, cancer) … losing your home to foreclosure sucks.

I mean, I am happy that Derek and I are knowledgeable enough to get the home sold BEFORE it forecloses and wrecks havoc on their credit even more than the missed payments have done, but knowing that these people WANT their homes (in most cases), but have to get rid of them … It breaks my heart.

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Well, last month I installed a “For Sale” sign in the yard of a home and went up to the door to chat a little more with the Seller about how they wanted the home shown, etc. He was the sweetest man and was devastated that he could no longer afford his mortgage payment. See, he, like plenty of other people in America, bought his home in 2005 with an ARM. He makes his payments early every single month – not only his mortgage, but everything else, as well.

2008 rolls around and his rate increases by a little over 2% MORE than he was originally paying. Although it is a stretch (as he was used to a lower payment for 3 years), he continues to make his payments.

Then, he loses his job.

However, he CONTINUES to pay all of his bills on time, to include his mortgage, with the money he gets from unemployment. Granted, he lives on ramen, but he pays his bills. He assumes that when he finds employment, it will be easier… and knows he cannot keep up like this for much longer.

Months go by and he is unable to find a job. So, he calls his mortgage company and asks if they can help him. All he wants is the original interest rate for a few more months, until he finds employment. But, regardless of his stellar payment history and regardless of the fact that his unemployment covers the payment, they deny him that option … and tell him that his best bet is to GIVE UP and SELL THE HOME AS A SHORT SALE and FIND A PLACE TO RENT. … So, he Googles “colorado springs short sale help“, finds us, calls us and asks us to short sale his home.

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We decide to put the home on the market, but impress upon him that he needs to continue to work with his lenders to find a way to KEEP his home. Just because ONE lender-representative told him to give up, does not mean all is lost.

He continues to press through, pay his bills (to include his mortgage) and continues to call his lender, other lenders – ANYONE who could help him KEEP his house.

All the time, I am praying for the call where we are asked to CANCEL our listing agreement with our Seller.

It happened.

Yesterday, with tears in his eyes, our seller calls us and tells us that his lender finally agreed to work with him. And get this– They are ONE UPPING his request. He had originally asked just to remain at the interest rate that he had been at since 2005, which was somewhere in the 5%-6% mark. But instead, the lender (the same one who told him to GIVE UP a month ago) permanently LOWERED his interest rate to … drum roll please … 3%! He can now KEEP his house.

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We happily canceled our listing agreement and I am yanking that “For Sale” sign out of his yard, today.

Written By

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?



  1. Matt Case

    March 6, 2009 at 9:47 am


    One step toward a healthier market. Kudos to you, your buyer and his bank (finally.)

  2. Matt Thomson

    March 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

    What a great story. Any ideas on how he got his bank to do that? I’m sure we all know folks (or are folks) who could use that kind of help!
    Great job!

  3. J

    March 6, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Great story. It is nice to hear a happy ending for a seller in a precarious situation amid all the doom and gloom.

    It’s also nice to hear a story about a lender that (albeit REactively) finally got it.

  4. Danilo Bogdanovic

    March 6, 2009 at 10:22 am

    This goes to show that, despite what everyone thinks, it’s not just about “selling” homes.

    That’s an awesome story that I wish happened more often.

  5. Eric

    March 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Benjamin Day

    March 6, 2009 at 10:38 am

    That’s about as good as they get! There is doing your job and then there is really doing your job. Educating your client on being a persistent, diligent and KIND consumer with their lender is hard to do. Apparently you both accomplished that! Way to go!

  7. Ken Brand

    March 6, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Awesome. Let’s hope this plays out all across the country.

  8. Nancy Shakeshaft-Slack

    March 6, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Wow!! I was almost in tears…shows you persistence pays off! We need to start hearing some more of these good news stories

  9. Robert Luna

    March 6, 2009 at 11:02 am

    WOW what a great story thanks so much for sharing we all really needed a feel good story during these difficult times

  10. Melina Tomson

    March 6, 2009 at 11:14 am

    PennyMac is doing 3% for the loans they bought from the FDIC. It’s my first question to the sellers.

  11. Jonathan Phan

    March 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Great story!

  12. Erion Shehaj

    March 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Love it!

  13. Cecelia

    March 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    That story made my day! Great news!

  14. Vicki Moore

    March 6, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’m so happy for both of you! Best story I’ve ever heard – sounds like the mortgage companies might finally be getting a clue.

  15. Barry Cunningham

    March 6, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Ok…I see that this is good for the homeowner..I guess. (I would keep him in my database and check back in 4-8 months and see if he is able to hang on)…but unfortunately you didn’t get paid.

    People get ticked at me but I’m a Capitalist pure and pure. I’m in real estate to make a profit. I donate to several charities so in my business, I don’t need to deal with transactions which I don’t get paid on.

    So, that’s why we are so picky about the deals that we take on. We use a ton of discretion when we take on our deals.

    Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean they are going to have us involved. When we screen the calls and emails we ask them an exhaustive questionaire.

    It is designed to smoke out anybody who still has any options. We only deal with clients who are basically done. Stick a fork in them, time to load up the truck and get the dog..DONE.

    We love the calls when they have less than a week before the auction. We know these guys are toast.

    We like the ones who realize that hope left town on a bus with help!

    So we come in, save the home from foreclosure and ALWAYS get paid.

    I remember an argument here once when I said we have a 100% closing ratio and it caused a firestorm of adversity.

    This is why. We only take deals that are about to flatline, we come in, stop the auction and negotiate a deal with the bank and get the property sold to someone who has responded to our marketing. Someone who is already in our pipeline.

    We can’t do all the deals that are available. It’s a veritable smorgasboard and undoubtedly the BEST REAL ESTATE MARKET EVER.

    I am happy this worked out for your Client and glad it made you feel good.

    I am also glad I never have to waste my time being a social worker and can feel confident that I will get paid handsomely at the conclusion of our short sales because there are so many agents out there dealing with the hopeful.

  16. Russell Shaw

    March 6, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Mariana, you are beautiful.

  17. Mariana Wagner

    March 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Matt – I think that keeping (worthy) homeowners in their homes is a good idea, too.

    Matt – Beyond persistence, I am not certain what he did to get that deal. I was just so happy for the RESULT, I never asked HOW.

    J – This doom and gloom has GOT go go.

    Danilo – I don’t know about you, but the “selling” part of my job is almost outweighed by the other facets of this business …

  18. Mariana Wagner

    March 6, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Eric – Pretty cool, huh?

    Benjamin! I pulled the sign out today, and as I did they came out and waved, excitedly, as I waved excitedly right back. I cried all the way home from installing the sign and today I cried all the way home again … but this time it was happy tears.

    Ken – Yes! We need to see more of this.

    Nancy – No kidding. That is ONE great thing about blogging … we CAN share stories like this, with more people.

    Robert – the more stories like this one, the better!

    Melina – PennyMac? I will have to research that one!

    Jonathan, Erion and Ceclia – Thank You!

    Vicki – I can only HOPE they are getting a clue.

  19. Mariana Wagner

    March 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Russell – [[blushing]] Thank you.

  20. Matthew Rathbun

    March 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm


    This is what an agent should be rejoicing in!

    I wish that we had more success stories like this. I recently heard that a lender put a one year old on payments from the widow of a service man KIA.

    I wish I could find and bottle the decision makers in these circumstances.

  21. Missy Caulk

    March 6, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Oh my…tears….

    This post could have been written by me until the ending paragraph. But I am hoping, this situation is so similar I am freaking.

    My guy was turned down too but we are still pressing on.

  22. Mariana Wagner

    March 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Matthew – Thank you, but I am wondering what your 3rd sentence means… a One year old? lol…

    Missy – Don’t Give up!

  23. Jay Thompson

    March 7, 2009 at 9:40 am

    LOVE this story. Regardless of what some say, it’s not all about making an immediate buck. Sure, you didn’t get paid (in dollars) on this listing.

    But gee, I wonder what real estate agent this guy will call when he does need to sell (or buy) a home?

    I wonder what agent this guy will talk about to all his friends, family and whoever else he can. Forever.

    Actually I don’t wonder. I know who he’ll call and refer to.

    It’s not all about “sticking a fork in them” and working with those that are “toast”.

    Good grief.

  24. Barry Cunningham

    March 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

    @ Jay,

    I didn’t say that Mariana was wrong at all. I just donate elsewhere.

    I am in business to make the most amount of profit available. I’m not apologetic, it works. Has worked and will continue to work.

    I personally don’t need to wait until some guys needs to buy a home some time down the road.

    Our marketing provides us with more business than we can handle. As long as this new administration continues down its path, I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing more than fine.

    Not looking to hijack Mariana’s post. It made her feel good and that’s fine.

    My comment was based upon this permeating theme that I have been seeing on various blogs wherein it seems , as you underscored, that making money is NOT the primary motivation for many realtors.

    I find that odd and somewhat disconcerting.

    The first line in my business plan states a defined purpose of being in business to make a profit.

    SoJay, yes, to me it IS all about making a profit. And as far as I was taught in business school in college that indeed was the purpose of those who went into business.

    While charity is nice, and maybe this was a charitable move by Mariana, I am surprised by what I see when I read posts and comments wherein the pursuit of profit is NOT the primary objective of one in this business.

  25. Ginger Wilcox

    March 7, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I agree COMPLETELY with Jay Thompson. As I said on twitter, part of what makes a good agent is when someone is a good person. I get a lot of business on referrals because my clients and network know that I will advise them what is best for them- even if it is not the best situation for me financially. If you think about real estate transactionally, I think you are destined to have a disappointed career. Doing the right thing for your clients is a big key to long term success, IMHO.
    One of the reasons I LOVE Mariana is because she is honest and ethical. I know her clients feel the same way.

  26. Barry Cunningham

    March 7, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Ginger, “thinking think about real estate transactionally leads to a disappointing career”…you’re kidding right?

    Is that some new mantra? Is that some kind of excuse for agents who aren’t making any money? You know like saying money is the root of all evil (people always get that wrong too..)

    You know it is really scaring me to see the undertones of this Obamaeconmic focus of those who make a lot of money being bad or evil or not being ethical.

    I have a VERY lucrative business and buy and sell more than probably 95% of all real estate agents…actually I know I do…are you saying that being profit minded and having a Capitalist mindset makes you a “bad person” or that we do the “wrong thing” for our clients or that we are in anyway “dishonest or unethical”.

    Are those of us who make a lot of money supposed to feel ashamed of what we do? Are we evildoers who lurk in the shadows?

    That seems to be what you are saying.

    I am proud of being a Capitalistic Opportunist! I believe that is why we are Americans and I believe that more of us need to be unabashedly opportunistic.

    Am I ashamed for making a killing here in the BEST REAL ESTATE MARKET EVER? Of course not!

    Does it make me mean-spirited, unethical, dishonest or a short term player for having this mindset? Are you kidding…this Country, as it has shown recently NEEDS people like me.

    Who else is going to pay for those lined up with their hands out.

    Amazing…we’re bad for making money yet when we do, hand it over….

    I sure hope I read too much into your comment. I really do!

  27. Brandie Young

    March 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Mariana –

    Nice to hear a good story every now and again. Heaven knows those don’t make the evening news. No blood, gore or heartbreak. Thanks for sharing.

    Barry, I hear ya – I’m about making money too (necessary to keep a roof over my heard). That said, working with heart is rewarding in big ways too.

    Ummm, my question is, how do I get my rate lowered to 3%!!!


  28. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Barry – I am going to start with your first comment, and proceed from there.

    Here is my response to your first comment:

    1. I completely agree with you. “It’s a veritable smorgasboard and undoubtedly the BEST REAL ESTATE MARKET EVER.” Absolutely!!!

    2. I am not in a NON-Profit business, but sometimes the value in a transaction is more than just the dollars in my pocket.

    3. I understand that you are not bashing what I do, nor the decisions I make. You just do things differently and like sharing your side of things.

    4. You are not a real estate agent and therefore are bound to a different set of business decision making processes. I respect that.

    Here’s the scoop:
    Our team specializes in helping people sell, or short sale their homes before they hit foreclosure. The sooner we get the ball rolling, the better. In most cases, the Seller’s CAN’T renegotiate with their banks and we sell the home instead. In the cases (like this one) had the Seller NOT been able to renegotiate something, then we would have missed a month on the market.

    Stuff like this just happens in our business.

    Sometimes we show our fully qualified home buyer 10 homes and then they lose their job and can’t buy the home.

    Stuff like this just happens in our business.

    Sometimes a home seller falls seriously ill and no longer wants to move.

    Stuff like this just happens in our business.

    These cases, and the one that I talk about in my article, here, are chalked up as learning experiences … to be balanced out (financially) by the times where a home buyer calls and already found a house and just needs a contract written up and by the person who wants to sell their home to their friend and just needs a contract written up – in both cases netting us what we fully charge for commission for minimal work.

    However, those lay-downs do not net us the rich learning experience we get with harder transactions (to include ones that do not close).

    It is the EXPERIENCE that makes us better agents, not the money.

  29. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Jay – The wonderful thing about our business is that it is far reaching. A kind deed goes WAY beyond the initial person.

    Ginger – Thank you. 🙂 “If you think about real estate transactionally, I think you are destined to have a disappointed career.” <- Brilliant!

  30. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Brandie – Blood, gore and heartbreaks? that DOES make up SOME of my business.

  31. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Barry – Response to Your 2nd Comment. (Although it was directed at Jay, I am butting in and saying something. I am sure you wont mind.)

    You said: “making money is NOT the primary motivation for many realtors.”

    I agree.

    HOWEVER … If that is their business plan then who is to say they are wrong? (Although, they really should not complain when they DON’T make money, if that is not their focus.)

    I am in the business to make money, help people buy and sell homes, save them from foreclosure… etc. I also do quite well.
    … and we turn down business ALL THE TIME. Our team in in the top 1% of PRODUCING agents in our city … blah blah blah.

    Part of WHY we are so successful, though, is because we care. People seem to like doing business with people who care. I know, weird, huh?

    I am not an investor.

    Investors (like yourself) are not in the business to care and would be broke if you did, quite frankly. You, like all of our other investor clients, are numbers people and we NEED people like you in our business … You are an essential PART of the real estate business, especially in times like these, when investors can pick pick up some of the slack and absorb some of the housing inventory – thus putting a tentative FLOOR on our economic downward fall. (Thanks to Derek for that input.)

    But you are not the whole enchilada.

    You are like the sauce. You are an essential PART of the enchilada, but we still need the tortillas, cheese, jalapenos, etc. to make the business work for everyone. And the OVEN (market/economy) will determine HOW all these ingredients work together … and how much SAUCE is needed to make it the perfect consistency.

    (Yes. I can relate ANYTHING to real estate, but now I am hungry.)

  32. Barry Cunningham

    March 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Hi mariana…seems we keep hearing the same thing over and over again when people respond to my this instance you said…”You are not a real estate agent and therefore are bound to a different set of business decision making processes”…

    Since we work CLOSELY with a select group of Realtors and 99% of our transactions are facilitated by the same set of select realtors…just what different set of business decision making processes are we bound by?

    I know from reading that you are indeed very successful so in this regard you know how to handle your business and that’ not at issue.

    However for the hordes of agents who simply are broke or are on the fast track to being there…when you say above that “it is EXPERIENCE that makes us better agents, not the money”…that’s PRECISELY what I am talking about.

    My experience has educated me as to what kind of deals get me paid without error. It has told me how to market, how to overcome objections and how to ensure that the deals we become involved in are sure fire winners.

    So when I stated my criteria above herein, it was THAT same experience you speak of that allows me now to prosper without impediment and to be very selective as to what deals I take so that I know I will be paid..and paid well.

    I guess what I am saying and have said above, is I don’t take on just anybody as a client. My EXPERIENCE has already told me what kind of deals to avoid.

    So in relaying that experience on to others who may not be as fortunate in business as you are, that learned lesson is to make sure you only get involved in deals that make you money.

    That way you don’t have to worry about things happening as you wrote.

    That’s not dishonest, it’s not unethical, it’s not mean’s simply having the knowledge borne by years of experience to know what deals are potential stiffs and which ones I KNOW I will be paid on.

    My question to you is are’nt there warning signs that you by now have seen that tells you there is a possibility that you won’t be paid? And when you see those blinking warning signs as in the case written about, wouldn’t your experience now realized tell you what to look for and to stay away from the next time a similar call comes in?

    You see that’s what Jay and Ginger did not realize or accept. That same experience that you speak of has told me years ago what kind of deals I should focus on becasue I already know the outcome in advance…I get paid.

    Does it sound bad as I have described to out-of-options homeowner…does it matter? It’s cold hard transactional criteria.

    So sorry Ginger…yep..I know exactly what kind of deals make me money. I klnow what kind of criteria the homeowner must qualify upon that warrants me getting involved.

    So if they don’t qualify for my involvement, they are sent packing to work with a real estate agent who wants to “be there for them”, and to help them through their hard times”..because maybe some years down the road they might tell somebody how they were helped out.

    No…I don’t need that business. Oh and by the way…what makes anybody think that we don’t get the same kind of referrals from the people that we take on as clients?

    Here’s a hint…a lot of people in foreclosure seem to know others in foreclosure…we have NO problem having our pick of the foreclosure litter.

    The low hanging fruit is ABUNDANT. But only one with our experience would understand that.

    Like I said, I know that you do as well. It’s just the starving agent who need to realize what kind of deals get you paid and what kind of deals may have you ending up holding someone’s hand.

    By the way…the neon, blinking sign that would have had your particular client getting the declination from us would have been when he said he was still trying to pay his mortgage.

    Just another experiential indicator that we use to make sure we are properly qualifying the homeowner.

  33. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Barry –
    Here is my response to your 3rd comment…

    I do not think Ginger was implying that making money is bad – She said, “Doing the right thing for your clients is a big key to long term success, IMHO.” and sometimes there is not a paycheck attached to it. I think you were reading too much into what she said.

    However, I think that too many people attach guilt to money, and that is unhealthy. I’m SO with you on that one.

    If I am correct … The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Right?

    I am not a bleeding heart RE agent. I am DEFINITELY in business to make money. And I do. But my business is multi-faceted and in the end … balances itself out quite nicely.

    And like I mentioned in my last comment – my business and your business are different by design and therefore, profit is measured differently as well.

  34. Barry Cunningham

    March 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Love the food analogy.

    yes, I know the world needs ditch diggers as well!

    And just so you know..I’m a caring person..all gushy on the inside. That’s why I can’t go to homes anymore. Can’t deal with the crying and the stories.

    I have my own Luca Brasi that goes in and hammers the deal home. Now there’s a guy who could really give a hoot. Stone faced killer. When he walks in he walks out with a deal. He seriously could care less. Me..I’m a Teddy Bear.

    I used to be a killer but I turned soft in my old as not to blow any deals..I have to send in a killer, a real button guy who gets the job done.

    You wrote..”they really should not complain when they DON’T make money, if that is not their focus”..BINGO!

    Ya can’t have it both ways and nuff said.

    I gotta go to Taco Bell now! Ciao!

  35. Barry Cunningham

    March 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    ….The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Right?…

    Correctamundo! So many people try to quote it and screw it’re pretty sharp!

  36. Jay Thompson

    March 7, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Barry –

    I love money. I love to make it, and I love to spend it. And you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more pro-capitalist than I am. As long as someone isn’t selling crack on the street corner, more power to ’em in however they make their living.

    I also love selling real estate. And part of what I love about it is being able to help people keep their home. I think a LOT of our job is to educate people, and if in that process we come up with a way to keep someone in there home (assuming that’s what they want) then so be it.

    The capitalist in me looks at those situations and says, “This guy thinks I’m a hero. He’ll tell his friends how wonderful I am and ultimately I’ll help them all buy/sell a home”. Call me selfish, but if I can get people to do that, it makes my job a whole lot easier. The ROI on one “lost” sale when it turns into 10 other ones is pretty damn good.

    Believe me, we turn down far more listings than we take. I won’t take a listing if I don’t think I can sell it. And we turn down unrealistic buyers all the time too. And we fire clients that flake out. There are TONS of agents out there that will take any listing, even if it can’t be sold. I assume they do this so they can plant a yard sign and hope they luck into a buyer or hope a neighbor calls them to list their home.

    I don’t need hope and luck to get clients.

    Of course I sell real estate to make money. This job is hard work and there are too many unrealistic buyers, sellers and idiot agents/brokers out there to do this for free. If I wanted easier work and less hassle (and things like medical insurance and paid time off) I’d go back to corporate America.

    I hardly think that if me, or Mariana, or Joe Realtor happens to help someone keep their home that we’ve just become “social workers”, nor do I think this sort of thing is a “waste of time”. Your mileage obviously varies, and there is nothing wrong with that. I happen to think it’s a little short-sighted, but as Mariana points out (and I tend to forget), you and I aren’t in the same business.

    And now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have this weird craving for enchiladas…

  37. Deborah Madey

    March 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I went to visit a homeowner within the last few days to discuss how short sales work, and came with strong referrals of having knowledge and experience in this area. It is one of the most heart wrenching situations in real estate I have ever encountered. I provided every contact, tip and piece of knowledge I could impart on avenues to explore other than a sale. We all encounter sad stories in this treacherous landscape today. This one…it’s really rocked my world and has been weighing heavy on my mind since I walked out the door. I hope I never have to sell this property.

  38. Deborah Madey

    March 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Oh….I wrote my post without reading the comments. Ooops…missed that.

    I am in the biz to make money. I have “fired” buyers and turned down listings because I assessed them to be unprofitable. If it becomes necessary to sell the above mentioned property, I anticipate it to be profitable. I simply hope there is another solution for this property owner, and that my time instead be occupied selling some other piece of real estate that is profitable.

  39. Irina Netchaev

    March 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Mariana,

    I have a couple of short sale listings right now and each and every one of them is a sad story in itself.

    Yes… I’m in the business to make money, but I am also in the business of helping people. If I get a call from my sellers telling me to cancel the listing because they are able to hold on to their house – hooray! I’ll do a happy dance.

    It’s all about Karma. Lose some now, but it will come back 10-fold through referrals to their family and friends.

    A beautifully told story. Hope to hear more of them.

  40. Bob

    March 7, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Mariana – Bravo. Well said responses as well.

    I am thrilled that as the successful capitalist that you, you were able to do what you chose to do and be ecstatic about the outcome.

    I have seen the nation’s #1 Pru agent ($100 million in volume annually) do the same thing. Their entire high powered team of uber capitalist pigs cried when they found out they got the news.


  41. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Jay – Ditto.

    “The ROI on one “lost” sale when it turns into 10 other ones is pretty damn good.”

    … and I would not even consider it “lost” as I know exactly where it is… filed under “referral” 🙂

  42. Mariana Wagner

    March 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Deborah – I hope everything works out for your Seller. Part of our job IS educating the people we encounter … and helping them all that we can.

    Bob – Thank you. I AM ecstatic bout this outcome.

  43. Russell Shaw

    March 8, 2009 at 1:39 am

    People who work only for money are degraded and not unlike slaves.

    Creating an abundance of money for oneself is vital if one desires any real freedom to choose to be, do and have what they want.

    Any “pitch” about making lots of money being – in any way – “bad” is, in itself, evil. The only guarantee of optimum survival is abundance. But life itself isn’t about money – or getting it. It can seem like it is when you don’t have enough but life isn’t about money.

    There is joy and beauty in simply effectively helping someone and knowing that you have. Getting to help is its own reward. There are those who fully understand that last sentence and no explanation is needed.

  44. Bob

    March 8, 2009 at 9:16 am

    In most states, fiduciary.

  45. Bob

    March 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    just what different set of business decision making processes are we bound by?

    In most states, fiduciary.

  46. Barry Cunningham

    March 8, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Russell Shaw says…”People who work only for money are degraded and not unlike slaves”

    I would tend to agree.

    If what we do is considered work I would feel just as you say. A slave to the wage. I pity those who are.

    I don’t work. I have a business, that at this point is nearly 85-90% automated. It has given me the freedom to enjoy life and its many pleasures.

    Why? becasue we have a system. That system is designed to not be emotional. It is computerized and tells us exactly what deals we should and shouldn’t be in.

    Accordingly it works. I don’t apologize. Like I said, I have our charities that we donate to. But I don’t mix the two.

    The American Cancer Society doesn’t need a short sale. The local Food Bank doesn’t isn’t in foreclosure.

    I am not involved in real estate to “HELP” people. It’s fine that some are and you are to be applauded if that’s what you like to do.

    Personally, I don’t understand it, but I am not going to judge. Not my place.

    The reason I commented wasn’t at all to denigrate Mariana. It was to help those silent agents who may be reading this thread who can’t afford to take on social work in their daily endeavors.

    With hundreds of thousands of agents leaving the business becasue they can’t make ends meet, I think it’s bigger to speak of the whole rather than the small amount of us who comment here.

    I would venture to say that if we stood in a room of 200 struggling, starving, Red Lobster shift working real estate agents, they would much rather here about the systematic removal of prospects who they won’t get paid rather than the plight of a well to do agent who can afford to “let one go” in the hopes of referrals down the road.

    I bet those same 200 agents would love to know how to AVOID prospects such as that described and learn how to make sure with as much certainty as possible that the deals they work on are going to actually close.

    Call me what you want, but I speak to agents and train agents how to make money and they are coming out of the woodwork to learn how.

    Unfortunately for too many, this is the time of NOW. Many agents don’t have 6-8 months to see if a referral from a lost deal is going to pay off. Many we talk to would be losing their own homes by then.

    I believe the conversation here and on MANY type blogs focuses too much on those in the “club” and not enough on those who are one step away from an Obama handout.

    If focusing on making money as a priority is wrong, then tell that to the hundreds of thousands of agents who can’t afford to stay in this business becasue of being told theories of how to operate with methodology of another era.

    We, and the agents we teach, are in the liquidation business. Right now and for the foreseeable future that’s the way it’s going to be and agents that want to be paid need to know how to capitalize on the abundant opportunities that exist in the BEST REAL ESTATE MARKET EVER!!

    If I was standing before any of you. And I was a struggling agent who was 4 months behind on his mortgage, having trouble at home, and having to work a night shift at Home Depot, what would you be telling me?

    Be happy because the prospect you were working on found a way to save his home and the deal that I was working on for 3 months just went up and flames and you won’t be getting paid. But don’t be too upset…when he needs a house he’ll be calling you for sure! Am I supposed to take that home to my wife and kids?

    Be honest with yourselves!

    I would want to be told how I can be sure that I get paid on every deal. I as that struggling agent need to make money NOW.

    So to me, it is unrealistic to be pompous and say “great job”..I get to help people!

    This is Agent Genius. How does this help the near broke struggling agent survive?

    I saw on the news that there were 700 applications for a janitors job in Ohio. 700 people lined up for 1 job that paid $15.00 per hour.

    I bet quite a few were either ex-agents or starving agents who would rather clean floors and take out trash than “feel good” about the listing that gladly was cancelled and they did not get paid on.

    When some here said I wasn’t caring, you COMPLETELY missed it. I guess I care too much. I care that there are so many struggling agents who really want to make a go of it in this business who read the musings of well to do agents who can afford to let one get away.

    Those agents need to make money now! They are as deserving of your help, if not MORE than the one that got away.

    In order for capitalism to survive and thrive, it is my opinion that people need to focus on the promulgation of wealth.

    The helping of others can only occur when one is in a financially capable position to help. Not when they are struggling to make it themselves.

    It is obvious that Mariana is successful and that Russell is successful and that Jay is successful and that many of the other contributors ar successful.

    So what AG has 50 or so successful contributors…what about the 900,000 plus other agents, 95% of can’t make ends meet and many who don’t make enough money to be above the poverty line?

    You gonna advise them to feel good about the ones that get away or would you rather show them how to make substantial money right now!

    If you feel inclined to do the former you are hastening their demise. I’ll opt for the latter so that they can help THEMSELVES and then help others.

  47. Barry Cunningham

    March 8, 2009 at 9:47 am I said we work exclusively with and thru a select group of agents in our business.

    I am not directly involved in the actual “transactional process” we have agents who do that. So you may need to try again on that one.

    Also here in Florida there is what is called the Transactional Broker Relationship wherein most agents operate with no fiduciary whatsoever.

    So I ask again…just what different set of business decision making processes are we bound by? I have said time and time again…when people say they are different than us becasue we are’nt licensed it makes me laugh becasue our due diligence has required that we know more about the law than most agents ever will.

    I know you are in San Diego…but this is one of those incidences.

  48. Mariana Wagner

    March 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Barry – Thank you for your reply. Ultimately, I think it boils down to the difference between YOUR role with a Seller and MY role with a seller.

    “My question to you is are’nt there warning signs that you by now have seen that tells you there is a possibility that you won’t be paid?”

    Yes. Every time I look at a person that is looking to buy or sell a home, there is a chance I will not get paid. LIFE happens all the time… even to the most well qualified folks.

    “And when you see those blinking warning signs as in the case written about, wouldn’t your experience now realized tell you what to look for and to stay away from the next time a similar call comes in?”

    I wouldn’t stay away from this situation again – if you paid me. Had he NOT been able to refinance, I would have been able to sell the home. But by not taking the listing up front, we would have missed a month on the market.

    Now, if I was in a situation where my family was starving and I could only take ONE listing and I had to choose between this one and one that had a better chance at Selling, then I would not take this listing, but refer this to a professional that could help him. However, that is usually not the case.

    Ultimately, Barry, to me it is not all about the Benjamins. It is a perfect blend of practicing real estate, making money, educating people, educating myself and selling houses.

  49. Mariana Wagner

    March 8, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Russell – Thank you.

    “A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” -Jonathan Swift

  50. BawldGuy

    March 8, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Mariana — A local client recently had their home loan redone. They’d never missed a payment or even been late. But here’s the surprise — the loan modification was Fedexed to them unsolicited in any way.

    First, their loan was a neg am ARM w/Wash. Mutual. It was scheduled to adjust this August to a totally untenable payment. For the record, I had nothing to do with the purchase of this home. 🙂

    The new terms? Unfreakin’believable.

    1.2% interest — the next 3 years. Then 2.2%, the next couple years. Then 3.2% ’till they level off at just under 5%, get this, for the remainder of the loan’s life.

    Neg Am is eliminated from the loan terms period. In all my years this is the first time I’ve ever witnessed first hand a loan modification so drastically in the borrower’s favor — unsolicited.

  51. Mariana Wagner

    March 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Jeff – OMG. … WAMU did that? Awesome!

    We have 2 SS clients with them right now. I wonder if they will be that easy to work with on this end.

  52. Eric Stegemann

    March 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Our short sale team takes a lot of listings and so many times it’s the worst situations. In the past year we had a similar story to this just one time. Unfortunately so many times what is common sense to us Realtors fails to go through the brains of the lenders and problems ocurr.

    It’s really nice to hear it when other Realtors get the experience. Fewer foreclsoures is best for everyone with or without a commission.

  53. Rob Aubrey

    March 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, that was awesome thanks guys for sharing.

  54. Mariana Wagner

    March 8, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Bob- FIDUCIARY. Yes.

    Eric – It is easier for one REALTOR to understand a situation than a building full of underpaid red tape bank reps.

    Rob – It IS awesome, huh?!

  55. Mariana

    March 9, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Thank you for that story. It’s probably the only good news I’ve read in some time; regardless of what some others have said, it truly is good news.

    I’d take that cancellation over a sale any day! Congrats to your ex-Seller and his family.

  56. Jay Thompson

    March 9, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Barry – I guess I’m just stupid, but I clearly don’t get you some times. You mention multiple times that you aren’t a “social worker” and helping clients isn’t part of your model.

    Then you pen a dissertation about wanting to help and practically be a social worker for struggling agents.

    Why is that?

    It almost sounds like you make money helping struggling agents. But surely that’s not the case as your systems that ensure 100% closings make you more than enough money and you wouldn’t need to take anything from the starving masses working split-shifts at Red Lobster.

    I have held a ton of seminars (not charging a cent by the way) to show agents how they can use tools like blogging, social media, basic SEO, “Web 2.0”, etc. to improve their business. I have spent my own money to fly to places like Inman Connect to do the same.

    And 98% of the time I’m met with three types of response:

    1) The blank stare.
    2) Someone who gets all jazzed up to try these tools and a day, a week or a month later they’ve given up because “it’s just too much work”.
    3) The naysayer / non-believer.

    Invariably at any of my seminars, two questions come up: 1) How much time does this take? and 2) why would you give a competitor all your secrets?

    One, yes it takes time, and effort. And that leads to an answer for question 2. The simple fact is, I can tell 100 agents and I’ll be lucky if TWO of them do a damn thing with it. Why? See the answer to question 1 — it takes time and effort.

    I help agents all the time. I love working with the ones that are willing to change and put in the work it takes. Russell Shaw gives incredible amounts of time and energy to tell any agent who will listen what they need to do. I can understand people not believing me when I tell them what works, but Russ Shaw? Are you kidding me?

    Geeze, I put up a post on my blog about lousy photography and get accused of FALSIFYING THE PICTURE.

    So please don’t come here and preach that we need to help other agents (in the same breath as what to me is making fun of us for helping clients). I *do* try to help other agents. Some listen, some get it, but the vast majority don’t. Is that due to my methods, or the general motivation level of many agents. I don’t know, but I have my suspicions….

  57. Barry Cunningham

    March 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Hey jay..relax…

    Seriously…there’s no preaching, it’s business…and it’s surely about making a profit. Like I said, if it is not profitable I don’t get involved.

    I have my charities that I support but in my business it’s SOLELY about turning a profit and for that I can never apologize.

    When we teach, we get paid for our information. When someone leaves our training they can go out and make money THAT DAY.

    No I don’t teach SOI or Social Media or any of that stuff that is more about overall practitioning and support…I teach agents and investors how to make money.

    You wrote..”why would you give a competitor all your secrets?”

    Again…solely for the ability to generate profits.

    For instance, I find that most agents don’t have a clue how to properly execute a short sale. Look on Active Rain..they are always complaining.

    So we teach what has become a well attended short sale class and yes we do charge for it.

    The result is we make a small profit on the class but we make huge profits networking with expertly trained agents and investors across the Country.

    The more people who know how to CORRECTLY execute short sales, the more opportuity we have to buy and sell properties across the Country.

    So since we have literally thousands of student realtors who have taken our class, I can pretty much pick and choose what deals I buy or sell or market anywhere in the Country.

    The people who take our class make money, and we make money…classic win-win!

    No need to be suspicious, it’s pretty clear to see why when you look at the business plan.

    I can push a button and market any property, anywhere in the Country to a ton of qualified, and ready, willing and able buyers.

    So if I come across a deal that makes sense, I can easily turn it for a substantial profit as I have people waiting for deals that we put our stamp of approval on.

    So as I said, I’m not in this to be a social worker to defaulted homeowners. I stand firm by what I said and all that I have written above.

    We have created a Capitalist network of opportunists who are ready to pull the trigger on a deal at a moment’s notice and we also teach that to our clients.

    While other agents are trying to figure out what to do next, we’re killing it.

    Lastly, we used to do free seminars but found out the same thing you did. So by charging we weed out the looki-loos, and the tire kickers and only have to deal with those who are committed and have a vested interest in learning and profiting.

  58. Deborah Madey

    March 9, 2009 at 10:01 am


    Attorneys do pro bono work.

    True statement: An optometrist met with a patient this last Saturday at a reduced fee due to the financial hardship of a patient.

    I do understand that opportunistic investors are needed to absorb inventory. One can be a capitalist and an opportunist without being unconscionable in their actions.

    I don’t know you, and have no opinion. My statements are general.

    You share the fact that you make charitable contributions. I incorporate “giving” as “part” of my strategy in life. I see a lot of involvement with charities for the sake of image that is not genuine…both in terms of time and money. When the same person who volunteers on a charity or writes a check or volunteers on a charity committee is rude or cruel to others, or unconscionably opportunistic, it’s hard to respect the person’s charitable efforts.

    I volunteer for a few charitable causes, both with time and a small checkbook. I see some who are there because they think it puts them on the “A” list. I also see others who have sincerity and integrity.

    It is not poor business to employ empathy or include giving as part of one’s overall business strategy and everyday life. There are some decisions that must be made in business, even when we know the outcome for some is unpleasant. I agree. That is life and business.

  59. Barry Cunningham

    March 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

    @ Deborah…I donate anonomously. I don’t need the adulation from charity work. I donate because I feel that the cause is worthwhile. I don’t even take the tax deduction as I feel so strongly about it.

    How do you define “unconscionably opportunistic”? Furthermore how do you define or label one who is “unconscionable in their actions”?

    Seems that would pretty much be hard to do since you would NEVER know.

    I am open an honest and direct in my postings here. Almost to a fault and it has gotten me in trouble with the hosts here…but do you think a single client or a single deal we have been involved in that the parties would have considered our methodology to be unconscionable in nature? them we are as much a knight in shining armor as the attorney you mentioned who did pro bono work.

    You see the client is ALWAYS in a MUCH better position having dealt with us than if they had not. They always emerge in a much better financial position and NEVER have ANY out of pocket expenses even if we need a lawyer to become involved. We foot the bill on ALL costs.

    Our profit, while substantial, is NEVER at the expense of a client but much to the contrary.

    Your comment here indicates your inexperience in this end of the liquidation business otherwise you would have obviously known as much.

    So..what part of what we do is unconscionable?

    Oh..and by the way..the attorney who does pro bono work and the optometrist who reduced his fee are obviously in a financial position to do so.

    My point is that MOST agents are not so I think you missed the context of what was being said here.

  60. Jim Gatos

    March 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

    This is a very nice, almost touching post. I hope the owner doesn’t forget how nice YOU folks are, and he should refer others to you, constantly and regularly, shortsale or otherwise…

  61. Bob

    March 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I am not directly involved in the actual “transactional process” we have agents who do that. So you may need to try again on that one.

    Also here in Florida there is what is called the Transactional Broker Relationship wherein most agents operate with no fiduciary whatsoever.

    So I ask again…just what different set of business decision making processes are we bound by?

    C’mon Barry, you are a smart guy. This was asked and answered. You even answered it yourself.

    You are not ever bound by fiduciary. Mariana, myself, and many others in many states other than Florida are always bound by fiduciary. In simplified terms, it means that the client’s best interests MUST ALWAYS be served before our own. Now if this was Florida and Ines wrote the post, you would be on equal footing here, but that isn’t the case with the this one.

    Are you not married to an agent? In California, that alone would change how you operate and preclude you from doing many of the deals you do today in Florida. The legal gulf that separates some of our business strategies is enormous.

    That said, I do agree that it is important to understand the difference between a calculated risk and a no win situation.

  62. Bob

    March 9, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Jeff – OMG. … WAMU did that? Awesome!

    We have 2 SS clients with them right now. I wonder if they will be that easy to work with on this end.

    Mariana, WAMU is doing that in many instances with their ARMs. If any of your clients have WAMU loans and would prefer to keep the house as opposed to selling, they should call WAMU (Chase) ASAP. The line is getting longer by the hour.

  63. Barry Cunningham

    March 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

    @ Bob…”Are you not married to an agent?”…lol…isn’t it funny when people say I hate agents!

  64. Deborah Madey

    March 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Barry,

    So sorry if my post seemed like I was accusing you personally, or your biz practices, as unconscionably opportunistic. I certainly was not trying to say that. While I included the statement earlier, “I don’t know you, and have no opinion. My statements are general,” I failed to be clear. I do not know the terms and conditions under which you execute deals.

    The following comments are general statements.

    Individuals are sometimes motivated by self-serving motives when they donate time or money to charities.

    Incorporating pro bono or acts of kindness is not indicative of poor business judgment.

    Unconscionable actions, even when legal, cannot be justified with, “It’s business.” Nor can they be negated with a charitable contribution.

    Smart, successful people can and do make selfless decisions in both their business and personal lives. Acts of kindness are not synonymous with poor leadership or business skills.

    You have options that agents, with fiduciary responsibilities, do not. Very few residential transactions are brokered as transactions without fiduciary. I am a broker in NJ and FL.

    Where I will strongly and confidently disagree: I am both experienced and confident in my ability to manage distressed property sales of all types, including, but not limited to, short sales. I do become frustrated when I represent a buyer and I am forced to work with a listing agent who has no idea what they are doing. If and when my buyers desire to prod forward, despite a candid discussion that the chances of a success close seem unlikely, I am psychologically and legally compelled to work on their behalf.


  65. Mariana Wagner

    March 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    In Colorado we ALSO have the option of working as a Transaction Broker, but I cannot legally (or ethically??) BE ONE with as much detailed information as I know about my Seller’s financial situations.

  66. Barry Cunningham

    March 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Mariana..if you “have the option of working as a Transaction Broker” can it be illegal?

    If you choose not to because YOU feel that it is unethical, that is a PERSONAL choice that YOU obviously make.

    If it was illegal or unethical then the “option” to work in that manner would not be available for you as said option.

    @ Bob you wrote…”it (fiduciary)means that the client’s best interests MUST ALWAYS be served before our own”…I agree and every client that meets our criteria has their financial best interests and their financial position ENHANCED by working with us.

    Which is why SPECIFICALLY we only choose to work with those clients who HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS.

    It ENSURES that we will be paid AND that the best interests of the client are served. I think I outlined that above herein.

    So that “legal gulf that separates some of our business strategies” as you mentioned above is only separated by the focus of PROFIT on our part, not by fiduciary responsibilities. I guess that’s not as enormous as you thought.

    I know it really makes some more comfortable by thinking that I operate on a different plane then some of you do, but the argument doesn’t hold any water and at this is pretty much tired and stale.

  67. Bob

    March 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Which is why SPECIFICALLY we only choose to work with those clients who HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS.

    That is an enormous difference – as all of my short sale clients have more than one option.

  68. Barry Cunningham

    March 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Bob the enormous difference is a matter of choice and business modeling…what you said earlier is that we don’t have to follow the same fiduciary responsibilities and in that regard, that’s simply not true.

    I have a question…if those with no options represent the transactions wherein you can realize the most amount of profit and you know for sure that you have a captive client..why in the world would I waste time on a client who does have options?

    I don’t need the practice, so in a business wherein the maximizing of profit is key, why would I swing at pitches outside of my strike zone?

    Here’s a better question. If you knew that you could target and market to a client demo that had no other viable options other than dealing with you and you stood to make substantial profit and you knew that you could engineer a closing on nearly 100% of the deals you became involved in..why would you take on any other client?

    Is it lack of marketing that causes most agents not having the ability to play in the deep end of this demo? You tell me.

    I have someone going out to meet a client tomorrow whose auction is on the 17th. They have already tried everything including bankruptcy. Finally we get the call. This is a middle of the plate pitch, we’ll get a HUGE reduction from the bank, the foreclosure will be stopped, and we’ll make about $40k on the deal ….so when these deals are coming in on an hourly basis, please tell me why I would waste time on a prospect who, as in Mariana’s case is still trying to save the home?

    If you had prospects like we have would you still be seeking out the ones like described in this post? be honest.

    I get called names, I get shunned..but you know what, everyone around us makes money. Title companies, agents we work with, inspectors…and the distressed homeowner gets financially enhanced.

    I don’t get it. Sounds to me like our marketing gives us the kinds of targets most agents can’t work with.

    Am I expected to feel apologetic becasue we have a system that works.

    Here’s the actual BIG difference. While everyone has been running around trying to find and sell listings, we have the BUYERS and the funding in place that allows us to move in quickly and get these deals done.

    Whose phone call would you answer if you were a bank looking to get a case solved?’s nice having a few hundred buyers waiting for deals…makes every pitch the possible bleacher landing shot.

    Wouldn’t have it any other way. And you know what, I bet despite the comments herein..a lot of agents would like to be in our position.

    Why wouldn’t they want to be?

  69. Bob

    March 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    what you said earlier is that we don’t have to follow the same fiduciary responsibilities and in that regard, that’s simply not true.

    When I had hair, it was blonde. So while I’m going to attribute my confusion to genetics, I could use some help here. How is it that you have the fiduciary duties as I do? I’m fairly certain that earlier in this conversation you stated you had none, and the same was true of the agents you employ.

    I have a question…if those with no options represent the transactions wherein you can realize the most amount of profit and you know for sure that you have a captive client..why in the world would I waste time on a client who does have options?

    Excellent question. However, there are almost always options. Walking away, DIL, and BK are 3 that most sellers have here. Factor in tax consequences which exist in California and your business model could entail a fair amount of predatory behavior for some sellers days away from a sale.

    Here’s a better question. If you knew that you could target and market to a client demo that had no other viable options other than dealing with you and you stood to make substantial profit and you knew that you could engineer a closing on nearly 100% of the deals you became involved in..why would you take on any other client?

    You are right – another excellent question. Of course if that were the case, I would be ecstatic, as would be my wife, which would make me even more ecstatic.

    However, since I have to wake up from this glorious dream state you created for me to explore and realize that I’m not in Kansas anymore (or Florida), the prospects of those circumstances are not nearly as likely for me here. Every short sale here has the potential of tax consequences which can be avoided by dispensing of the property via BK or foreclosure – two always viable options that simply involve the seller putting a price tag on their credit. With debt forgiveness in the 6 figures, state income taxes are almost always an issue.

    It gets more complicated. Step into my time machine and lets visit the distressed owner of real property located in California on July 1, 2009. On this day in the not so distant future, you or I would no longer be able to negotiate with the bank on behalf of the seller if a notice of default has been filed. (For those outside of CA, the NOD is the official start of the foreclosure process here.)

    The investor who has incorporated your business model here is now seriously screwed and will likely be relegated to buying inventory from the bank. FWIW, there are at least 10 states that I know of where similar laws are on the books or coming down the pike.

    Barry, it’s not that I’m not jealous of your ability to almost print money – I am. It’s just that I can’t do it here as an agent. I know many have put together s/s deals with investors like this, but I also know of the law firms preparing the civil suits to be filed against these agents and brokers.

    It pains me to compare you to the so-called experts on AR, but you are making the same mistake that many of them do – over generalizing across state lines.

  70. Barry Cunningham

    March 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm wrote” I’m fairly certain that earlier in this conversation you stated you had none, and the same was true of the agents you employ.”…

    I don’t “employ” agents…they pitch me deals based upon my stated criteria. The issue I am refferring to is that we always look out for the best interests of the you state you do.

    I have to really disagree on your tax related objection…but that is wholly irrelevant. Our clients, as I have stated have NO OTHER OPTIONS. I did not create that sitation, it’s just a fact. Based upon our marketing we don’t have to deal with other crap.

    The dream state you have to wkae up from is the self-induced coma that tells you that clients have options. I sure many do…I just don’t take them on. So what I am saying, and I hope you understand with great clarity is we don’t want clients with options. We make our money with the Death Row inmates and I am SURE they exist in any market.

    Bob…there is still a legal and viable way to get these deals done. We have people in Cali killing it still…where there is a will there’s a way. Hint…can attorney’s work with those in foreclosure?

    I am well aware of the Home Equity Sales Act and we here have similar laws enacted involving recissions and blah..blah..blah…had the legal work around BEFORE the law went into effect. Even sold a course to investors and agents as to how to ensure compliance.

    C’mon know be better than that to be held back by some law. That’s one of the big difference between what i do and agents do.

    I pay big time lawyers, big time money to tell me how to operate. Then if anyone comes a knocking I just make the call. Funny thing. No one’s come a knocking yet and I doubt they ever will. We do things by the books and it’s one of the reasons we spend so much on legal fees…we hire those involved in writing said book!//Geez..ya gotta know me better than to let something like that stop me. And by the way, they have an office in LA and San Diego so if you need to hire them so you can operate let me know. Retainer will only set you back about $10-15k..but WELL worth it.

  71. Luke Hagenbach

    March 12, 2009 at 11:31 am

    There are certain people who are not looking to learn or grow, and want to make sure no good deed goes unpunished – they are only looking to argue. My best advice (and this only comes from a lot of wasted efforts on my part, is to not give them what they want: attention. There is little you can do for these people beyond argue with them, which does nothing for you or them.

    We are in a business where we often times juggle many hats, playing the agent/adviser/counselor/magic 8 ball. Blessings on you all. Mariana, thanks for sharing your experience. “The glass is half empty” spin that fills the airwaves and internet has been getting old. Thanks for being a light.

  72. Bob

    March 12, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Walk me through just one of your 2009 California deals with no options and I’ll find options you are either ignoring or over looking.

    You may choose to think you are looking out for their best interests, but there is no consequence for you if you don’t. That is the difference, whether or not you choose to acknowledge that fact or not.

    Thanks for the attorney referral, but I have two very good ones – one of which is my broker.

  73. Barry Cunningham

    March 13, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Ok bob

    Client has a home worth $220,000 with a mortgage of $480,000.00 and a sale date in 14 days.

    1. has already filed bankruptcy within the last 6 months

    2. has no viable assets and have exhausted all viable loan modifications

    3. wife works at night as a waitress

    4. husband is unemployed

    Go ahead and get the deal done in the next 14 days using some other option…and no they don’t want any screwy lease option BS and before you answer..understand they emailed and contacted me and said they just want out…they don’t want the home they either want to sell it or they are going to just let it go.

    You asked…so tell us what you’d do here Hotshot!

  74. Mariana Wagner

    March 13, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Barry – I am butting in again …

    This WOULD be a good opportunity for you to help them, but what WE would do is chat with the attorneys and push back the foreclosure sale date long enough to put the home on the market and get an offer. From there, we would negotiate with the banks and short sale the home.

    This is what we do … but, ultimately, it is up the homeowner as to whether they want to go our route or yours.

    (NOTE: Foreclosure laws and practices vary from state to state so MY plan may not be an option in all areas of the country…)

  75. Barry Cunningham

    March 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Mariana…I’m sorry…what is it we do differently?

    The only thing I guess is different is that most times we don’t need an extension as we have a pool of buyers but if we do need an extension we do EXACTLY the same thing as you mentioned.

    I don’t understand your comment. Bob was the one who said he didn’t understand our methodology.

    What you described in your comment is pretty much SOP.

    Bob seemed to think there was some other option. He asked me to describe a situation, I did, and you responded and basically underscored what i have been saying.

    These are the types of clients we work with and as I have been describing throughout my commentary.

    Nice to hear that the way you would handle this and the way that I would handle it are pretty much the same. Yet somehow I get labeled differently…odd don’t you think?

  76. Deborah Madey

    March 13, 2009 at 10:20 am


    Curious how you handle the following….

    1) Property owner is 4-5 months from sale date, FICO low 500’s, asked bank for loan mod and was denied. They would like to keep their home if possible, but think it may not be possible. Their opinion is that the property is worth 400K, and loan is 480K.

    Do you solely suggest that one of your ready and waiting buyers or do you suggest they look into other options first? If the latter, do you give them any suggestions at all?

    2) Property owner has lots of equity, but job loss has removed all possibility of staying in the home. Property owner thought that they would gain a new job and be able to do a workout with the lender. Foreclosure sale in 30 days. They estimate property value at 600K, and loan balance at 410K.

    How much will you buy this property for? Are you their best option since you will be negotiating against them for their equity?

    If I took this listing, I would be working to get the seller the highest price possible. That does not appear to be your goal, unless I am missing something.

    Appreciate feedback you can share on these hypothetical situations.


  77. Barry Cunningham

    March 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Deborah..are ou looking for an argument or a strategy? I think I was very SPECIFIC as to the criteria of the type of deal we take on. I didn’t think I mince words.

    To answer your question you may want to scroll clearly do not understand that which we do. Maybe if you remove your sarcasm and read the entire commentary you would see the difference. If you are STILL not clear let me spell it out again.

    1. We only market to and work with late stage of foreclosure deals.

    2. we only market to and take on those deals where the client has little if any, viable options such neither of the cases you mentioned above would we either be marketing to or be interested in working with.

    You are not getting it…

    When we market and advertise to these late stage people, are phones and emails are overrun because most agents CAN’T help these here is what we do…

    1. We market through a variety of means to have the distressed homeowners, their agents or our agents contact us

    2. On an ongoing basis in a variety of methods we market for buyers looking for distressed properties

    3. When we find a deal we are interested in and meets our criteria we either:

    a. have on of our agents take a listing; or

    b. submit an offer via a number of different methods

    4. We have our legal team (that we pay for on behalf of the homeowner) go in and beat up on the bank utilizing a number of different methods to delay the sale as may be needed

    5. We begin marketing said property to the buyers in the pipeline via our agents or other network as relative to the transaction

    6. We have our staff begin the short sale process once we have secured the property either via listing or by contract

    7. Title company expedited the marketability of title

    8. We get the short sale approved (working with these late stage deals allows us to speak to a different level of negotiator who WANTS us in the deal and we get approvals in less than 14 days in most instances.

    8. We bring in transactional funding if needed to fund if the buyer can’t close in time

    9. We close the transaction and get paid..albeit handsomely.

    Deborah, what we do is usually beyond the scope of most realtors. Most realtors are worrying about gas money showing buyers around. As you see we have no problem spending money on a deal becasue we know that the deals we choose to get involved in WILL close.

    We don’t have any doubt. We know the Seller is definitely out of options or they would not be calling us. We know the banks don’t want to eat these loans. We know the expected Loss Severity on these NPA’s. We know what our buyers are looking for.

    When we do a deal, EVERYONE makes out better. The Seller, the bank, the agents involved and of course us.

    Before you knock it ask yourself this question.

    If you knew that there was a certain segment of the market who ABSOLUTELY needed your services and that you would be paid handsomely providing that service to them in just about 100% of the time, would you focus on that segment of the market?

    Of course you would. We have a very strict criteria. We stick to it and apply a system that is proven and EXTREMELY profitable. While many realtors are working 2nd shift at Walmart, it is easy to see people we train make 20k-50K per month…easily..on like 4-5 deals. That’s without even working hard.

    Since I know this..why would I waste my time on the 2 scenarios that you have outlined. I simply would pass and let somebody else deal with the “wondering” if they are going to get paid or not.

    I like dealing in certainties or as close to certainties as possible.

  78. Russell Shaw

    March 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    As a huge time saving device for all of us, I am going to create an automated response macro script (which I will share) for use for all of Barry’s comments. As he is much smarter than all of you (who still take your personal time to actually respond to his comments), Barry saves his time and uses a script he created some time ago.

    I will write a “reverse script” to the one Barry uses. His is based on a simple algorithm that takes the words in your comments or post and uses a variation of “I’m rubber and you’re glue and everything you say bounces off of me and sticks on you”. Naturally, his script usually precedes the rubber-glue part with how he is right and you are wrong.

    We already have a working version, I just need to get it to the point it can handle and originate multiple variations in case a lot of you choose to use it in the same thread.

  79. Barry Cunningham

    March 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Hey russell…your wit works on the numb minded only..I would say more but you are protected here and it would just get deleted anyway…for no one dare speak out against the great and mighty russell shaw…sort of like oz I guess..whatever

  80. Deborah Madey

    March 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm


    I am not trying to argue with you, nor am I trying to offend. I understand your biz model. We, too, have a biz model. We, too, sometimes have clients who contact us who are outside of the biz model that we service. We have a policy of how we handle those clients. I was not asking you questions because I was unable to understand your biz model, but rather I inquired how you respond to inquiries from those who are not your target clients; those who may have alternatives. Where do you point them? Or do you? Or do you service them with your biz model? That is not an argument, it’s an inquiry. I don’t even have an opinion about the response. If you feel like responding to my curiosity, please do. If you rather not, certainly that is your choice, and you owe me, nor anyone else any explanation.

    I do appreciate courtesy, and respectfully call your attention to the fact that comments about not getting it, or things being beyond the scope of Realtors, and the great Russell Shaw could easily be taken offensively.

  81. Barry Cunningham

    March 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    @ Deborah…so what i say may be taken offensively but what Russell said above isn’t…hmmm..very interesting…

    Anyway in response to your inquiry, if we get people who rspond outside of our business model, we still get paid. The agents sign referrals with agents who are willing to work with them.

    We screen to make sure we know their situation, then forward their information to our legal team who does an interview to see if they can be of assistance, then we confer by quick phone call and it is more than likely decided to refer out…BUT>>>>and this is BIG>>> we keep them in our database and we have by agreement that if the referring agent fails …we get notice. Many of those we initally turn down end up being clients we eventually take on. Most people can’t be saved. For every one who can be saved I would say there are 10 who can’t.

    So we let the other agent who wants to play (as we call social worker) deal with them for what maybe months on end, and when they meet the cold air of reality we’re right where we want to be. Working with someone with no options that we can then do with as we do.

    It means the referring agent wasted their time…but hey if they can save the home great. If they can do a loan mod, great. If the bank reduces their principal, great…but in the likely event that none of the above occurs, they know how to contact us.

    By the way, when I talk about things being beyond the scope of Realtors I mean that not offensively but truthfully.

    If the shoe does not fit then no offense need be taken. I was a football player. When people speak of dumb jocks, I don’t get offended, I know there are some really dumb football players out there.

    Doesn’t bother me because I wasn’t one of them. No skin off my back.

    Deborah, you are asking questions to learn. Here on AG there must be what…50 contributors…hardly a dumb group by any stretch of the imagination.

    AG has what a couple of thousand readers per day…more agents trying to better themselves, hardly dumb or not getting it.

    Now collectively add those groups up and all of the others working it in the and what do you have…5,000…10,000 agents out there who are trying to be professional.

    Now take the sheer number of 1 week trained agents out there and the overwhelming percentage..OVERWHELMING percentage have no clue as to even understanding the discussion we are having here.

    It is those sub-par performers that screw it up for the rest. Unfortunately I can’t do business with the likes of Mariana, Russell, Jay and the rest. I don’t find those types too often.

    Neither does the general public. I think some should wrry less about what I say…I’m just needling people like Russel and Jay and they know it…instead worry about the absolute morons out there in the field just screwing it up on a day by day basis.

    As formy seemingly tactless and abrasive commentary…there’s only so much confectionary sugar “great post” comments one can stomach.

    Look how many comments are on this article. In a few months it will probably be a PR3 on its own…why, because it’s engaging and informative…and even a bit inflammatory.

    all you can ask from a blog post..not anything like this drivel:

  82. Barry Cunningham

    March 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

    previous link to “drivel post” was deleted…and I understand…just wanted to make sure everyone knows that it was not to any post here on AG which Benn can attest to.

    But trust me…it was a doozy on another RE blog that I guess shall remain nameless.

    (hey’s that for playing nice?)

  83. Linsey

    March 31, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Sadly, I’m catching up late in my Reader so I missed much of the dynamic conversation that happened here. I will say the same thing that I say to my kids – ‘The ripples you create return to you.’ Kudos to you for taking the long view in your business.

    I loved this story. I was about to say something about the bankers being the dumbest guys in the room – and then saw they changed course. They go do something that makes sense! Wow.

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