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Don’t Attend A Conference Without These Rules



Last week I had my first opportunity to meet some of my online friends at REBarCamp Los Angeles.   In addition to the wonderful connections I made, I came away with some wonderful tips, reminders, and ideas.

A Few Simple Rules

  • Don’t sit with the people you come with. If you came with them, you can likely swap stories any time.  It’s the people you don’t normally interact with that will have the gems that you can take home with you.  Leave the wallflower personality at home and show up ready to meet and connect with people you don’t already know.
  • The ‘To Do Page’. Take great notes but make one page with the To Do’s you intend to implement.  When you get home review the list, prioritize, and set some dates around accomplishing the new ideas you have.  The biggest crime is to take pages of notes that overwhelm you and file them away into,  ‘Important Info I Will Never See Again’.
  • The ‘Resources” page.  Keep a separate page where you can make a list of blogs, websites, and books to be read or looked into after the conference.
  • The ‘Page of Gems’.  This is the page that you can remind yourself of the lessons you can take away.  For example, this week I sat in on a session led by Pedro Lopez with 1ParkPlace and was reminded of something I needed to hear: ‘Don’t ignore the people you know in an effort to reach people you don’t know.’  As a blogger, it’s easy to get caught up in that traffic and miss those right in front of you.  Great reminder that I was able to take with me.
  • Follow up with the people you meet – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, –  gosh, even a personal note.  This is the Social Media gold you will miss out on if you let it slip you by.

Don’t Waste Your Money, Time, and Effort

Even the ‘free’ conferences cost money – travel, hotels, time away from your business – so don’t waste it.  Be there to learn, earn, connect.  Be intentional about your efforts.  See you at the next one!

Linsey Planeta is the Broker Owner of Belterra Fine Homes in Orange County, California. Linsey rants regularly on her blog, OC Real Estate Voice. She also provides sellers with tips on how to get their home sold on Why Didn't My Home Sell? She has been an active Real Estate Coach and Instructor and loves working with agents so that they may look at their business with fresh eyes, renewed purpose, and defined systems. Linsey can be found in her office or you can also find her on Twitter@Linsey.

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  1. Ricardo Bueno

    April 7, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I’m so diggin’ how organized you are! I love the idea of having a “To Do” page because truth-be-told…once the conference is over, the feeling is so “information over-load” that you don’t know where to begin. But assigning those to do’s early on gives you something to act on once all is said and done.

    Thanks again for coming out to REBCLA Linsey! Glad you had a great time…

  2. Mark Eibner

    April 7, 2009 at 6:16 am

    we’re at it again Don’t Attend A Conference Without These Rules: Get out of your feed rea..

  3. Ricardo Bueno

    April 7, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Reading: “Don’t Attend A Conference w/out These Rules” a really good post w/some excellent tips to follow!

  4. sheilabragg

    April 7, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Don’t Attend A Conference Without These Rules: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PR..

  5. Joe Loomer

    April 7, 2009 at 4:38 am


    Great article – you’ve made me break out and categorize my notes from the Keller Williams Family Reunion in February – many things in there I intended to do but forgot about! The follow up works wonders, since the KW convention, I’ve received an inbound referral and sent two outbounds thanks to LinkedIn.

  6. Real Estate Feeds

    April 7, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Don’t Attend A Conference Without These Rules: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PR..

  7. Lisa Heindel

    April 7, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Timely advice! I’m going to barcamp PHX in a couple of weeks and these are great ideas to be sure I get the most out of it and remember all of the details later.

  8. Joshua Dorkin @ BiggerPockets

    April 7, 2009 at 8:10 am

    The Follow-up is where most people fail. It is amazing how, despite meeting folks and doing the business card exchange, most will never contact you. Following up is really what separates the men from the boys. With tools like Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, it is so easy to do, and you don’t even have to make a phone call.

    Great post.

  9. Linsey Planeta

    April 7, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Ricardo – Don’t be fooled; I’m not always so organized. I just learned after attending a few events that it’s just too easy to come back to my office and file away my notes, never to be seen again. This is what saves me.

    Lisa – I’ll be there. Look forward to meeting you!

    Joshua – I will admit, only recently have I added this. I noticed how many people made the effort to reach out to me last week after the event and it was a ‘duh’ moment for me. 🙂

  10. teresa boardman

    April 7, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Conferences are often difficult for me. I have people talking to me an always go away regretting not having spent more time with the people I would have liked to meet. Sometimes I meet people briefly and forget who they are and then feel bad when we are introduced at another conference several months later and I honestly have no memory of meeting them. They must think I am anti social which I am but people are so important to me.

  11. Ken Brand

    April 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

    My nature is to float around like the wind…but as you’ve shared, at least for me, note taking is a wise idea for capturing the gems. When I don’t forget, I walk around with a moleskin notebook and jot things down. I have a pretty nice colletion of other peoples bright ideas all in one place.

  12. Brendan @

    April 8, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Linsey,

    Thank you for your advice. I just booked a hotel for RE Bar Camp SF. This will be my first real estate conference and I will be using all your rules as a general guideline. Do you find it easier to take note on a laptop during these conferences or should I go old-fashion with just a pad and pen.


  13. Linsey

    April 8, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Teresa – I love to connect with people but admittedly terrible with names. You can’t connect with and remember everyone. 🙂

    Ken – Sometimes it what can be gathered from the social interaction is as meaningful or more than any number of notes you can take.

    Brendan – As you heard from Ken and Teresa, the social side of these conferences is big. I love my laptop and could easily spend the entire conference buried in it and foolishly even following the very conference I’m attending – online. Not good. Take notes the old fashioned way. You can stick you head behind that computer again any ole time.

  14. Bill Lublin

    April 15, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Linsey – It was a pleasure meeting you at ReBarCamp LA – and getting the photos to prove it!Were you not making notes when we spoke because I didn’t say anything memorable? Or perhaps I was just too dazzling? We can correct that next week in Phoenix – Bring the notebook and I’ll do my best to say something memorable

    Teresa; No one would ever think you were anti-social – but when you’re a Rockstar, sometimes you forget the mass of people that throng around you 🙂

  15. Linsey

    April 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I know, I know – this time I will try to recover from my awe and really take it all in when you’re around. 😀

    Look forward to seeing you again Bill!

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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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