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3 things to consider before taking your next short sale listing

There is a difference between a generalist and a short sale expert, so know the difference and establish trust in your community and with clients by focusing.



eliminating asking prices

eliminating asking prices

Agents, Can You Deliver?

If you are a real estate agent anywhere in the United States (and likely beyond), then you may get excited at the prospect of a listing appointment—especially if you have not had one in awhile. Often, agents begin using their mental calculators and spending their commission checks at the same time that seller is signing the listing agreement. But, as you and I well know, there’s a lot that goes on between the listing date and the closing date. And, it is the agent’s responsibility to deliver: that’s what he or she is hired to do.

But, can you deliver? Can you bring a ready, willing, and able buyer to the closing table? Or, did you bite off more than you could chew? While it is admirable to be a jack-of-all-trades, it is generally unlikely that a single agent can have experience selling land, commercial buildings, apartment houses, new construction, residential properties, ranches, and mobile homes among other things.

The same applies to the distressed property world. Now that short sales have been a common transaction for several years, agents and consumers alike may be under the false impression that a distressed property transaction is very easy—that everyone can list, sell, and negotiate a short sale in no time flat.

Can Generalists Negotiate Short Sales?

Unfortunately, that is not the case. While short sales have taken on a life of their own over the past few years, they still require certain specified knowledge. This specified knowledge includes being is attuned to the subtle nuances required in order get a transaction through the bank’s system quickly and efficiently.

3 Ways to Differentiate a Generalist from a Short Sale Specialist

  1. A short sale specialist will be able to immediately identify whether a seller may or may not qualify for some sort of relocation assistance at closing. While the specialist cannot guarantee the short sale lender’s response, an agent experienced with short sales can immediately assess and identify which loans will NOT qualify for the incentive money.
  2. A short sale specialist will immediately look into institutional and non-institutional liens. He or she will not wait until the short sale is approved in order to research personal liens (such as tax liens or abstracts of judgment) that may impede the closing.
  3. A short sale specialist will know which documents needs to be collected at the very beginning of the transaction—at the listing appointment. He or she will immediately identify whether you need a 4506-T, whether the lender has special documents, and whether a profit and loss statement is required.

Establishing Trust Means Telling the Truth

In Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch’s book APE, Kawasaki writes about trustworthiness. He states, “Trustworthiness means that people can depend on you because you are honest, forthright, and effective.” He continues by saying, “Tell people what you don’t know. No one knows everything. There’s nothing wrong with this. You can build trust explaining what you don’t know. Then people will believe you when you say you do know something.”

If a real estate agent’s job is to provide excellent service and get a deal closed, then he or she needs to be trustworthy. Part of trustworthiness involves not taking a listing on a property about which you have no experience selling: telling people what you don’t know. A better solution would be to explain to your prospective client that something is now within your area of expertise, and that you would not want them to be disappointed if you could not deliver. However, you would be more than happy to refer them to an excellent specialist that can assist them.

When you admit that you are not a generalist, your prospective clients will trust you more and refer you to others. In doing so, you won’t burn any bridges to future business. Again, you would be silly to bite of more than you can chew. You might choke.

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.


Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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