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Short sales: getting around frustrating gatekeepers

Short sales can be frustrating, especially with gatekeepers in the way, but with a little savvy, you can navigate your way more effectively through any transaction.





Anger Never Helps in Short Sales

Do you ever lose it? I mean do you ever just start ranting at someone that you don’t even know… like an employee at a store or a customer service representative on the telephone? Sometimes it’s hard to keep cool. Just last week I was on the same call for nearly two hours and I’m sure that if there was a cartoon made of the call, the cartoonist would have drawn steam rising out of my head. However, despite my growing impatience, I was still respectful in dealing with the individuals who were trying to help me.

On the other had, I was also recently the victim of a bank employee that wanted to use me as his whipping boy. Here’s what happened:

Our office submitted a short sale package to one of the major servicing companies, and the offer was very low because of significant damage to the property. So, the bank employee assigned to the file calls the office and reads me the riot act because the offer is not anywhere near the property value on the bank’s computer screen. The employee continues to rant and rave about how he has all the power to close any file that does not align accordingly with the bank’s values. No time is given for us to have a conversation. He will not care a lick when I explain to him about the cracked slab, the fire damage, or anything else that might take the structure’s value down over $100k.

It’s sad to say but there’s an employee like this working in just about every loss mitigation department. At one time or another in your short sale career, any short sale listing agent or negotiator worth his salt is going to have to deal with someone like employee I described above.

Three Ways to Pass Gatekeepers

Here are three ways to deal with the tough employee working your short sale file:

  1. Figure out a way to get beyond the gatekeeper. This ranting and raving employee is a gatekeeper. It is in the best interest of your client to get beyond him (or her). So, you’ve got to figure out how. You can call the bank’s toll-free number and ask for a supervisor; you can contact the bank’s media relations department; or you can take your concerns to social media (if you are brave enough to do so).
  2. Make sure to have your ammunition ready. When I talk about ammunition, I mean your argument with all of its supporting documents. For properties with value issues, this could include bids from contractors, photos, and even information from the seller’s insurance company. A comprehensive package in the right hands speaks louder than words.
  3. Listen, question, and be polite. In listening to a bank employee, you may be able to gain valuable information. If it’s possible, I ask questions. For example, “I agree with you that the value is low. Can you explain to me what I should do because they tell me that the property has fire damage?” Note that I am using a tone that would not intimidate the decision maker. (If that doesn’t work, return to step one.)

In addition to all of the things that short sale listing agents and negotiators already do for their clients, you can see that verbal abuse is sometimes included in the list. If anything like this happens to you, just shake it off and follow the three steps above and you will definitely achieve short sale success.

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.

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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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