Preparing to step out of your comfort zone
Let’s face it, getting out of the office and meeting people face to face is a huge part of prospecting in the real estate industry. If there’s a networking event in your city, there are Realtors there. If there is a mixer, there are Realtors there. Shaking hands and going belly to belly is still the best way to garner business, despite the rise in technology and our frequent focus on that part of your toolbox.
But many Realtors are introverted. Some are shy, some are not, and there are varying degrees of introversion, but if you get butterflies in your stomach before attending a networking event and you feel apprehension, consider ways to get out of it just before getting in your car, or maybe your heart races as you enter a room full of strangers, you could be introverted.
Rather than stick to the office and hope people will come to you, here are six easy networking tips for introverted personalities via Dumb Little Man, and we’ll add some tips at the end.
Related reading: “Networking tips for introverted personalities in real estate“
Six networking tips for introverts
The full tips can be read at Dumb Little Man, but below are the highlights of their tips with our interpretation found after the bolded tip.
- Get to know people beforehand. If an event’s RSVP list is public before the event, or you find people on Twitter talking about the event, it’s not creepy to reach out and introduce yourself virtually. Try telling someone you’ve never been to the event OR even admitting you’re nervous around crowds. This admission could help some extroverts to seek you out and help. You’d be amazed at how much easier it is to meet someone when it’s not stranger to stranger, rather putting a real live face to a name (plus it gives you the opportunity to invite people to come to you rather than vice versa, a real boost for introverts).
- Go prepared. If you’re panicked about driving directions, whether or not you have your business cards, or where the event is held in a huge conference center, you could be frazzled upon arrival to an event which compounds the effects of introversion. If you’re going to a mixer, know where to park before you get in your car and read the invitation closely to know if you’re supposed to bring anything. If you’re going to a conference, print out a map of the conference center and study where you’re going for the first half of the first day before you arrive. These few things could keep you cool under pressure.
- Start a conversation right away. It’s easiest to get talking right away, otherwise you could become comfortable in the warm embrace of wallflowerdom. Talk to someone in line, ask them if they’ve been before or if they have any tips for you (which leads to a natural introduction between you two), or if you’re at a mixer, go straight to the bar and while waiting on your drink, ask other attendees if they’ve been before. If it’s your first time, you’re looking for tips, if it’s not, you’re looking to meet other new people because you know how nerve wracking it can be.
- Look for someone else who seems shy. We don’t recommend sticking to this strategy as you may end up in a dark corner with one person for the entire event, but it is good practice to get your feet wet at the event. This tip isn’t complicated, rather find someone who you can sense is as introverted as you and strike up idle chat to gain confidence. “What are you drinking? I’m thinking of switching, this drink is way too strong. Oh you like Belgain Ale too? I’m looking for new tastes, what brand do you like? Oh yeah? That sounds cool! I used to work somewhere that happy hour started at three, have you ever worked anywhere like that? Oh you work at IBM? That’s cool, do you know so and so? Me too!” And so forth.
- Don’t talk too quickly. Nerves sometimes gets your mouth motor running and not only can it make people uncomfortable, it could make you unintelligible. This is a biggie and can really be off-putting, especially to extroverts. Accents can become more evident as you speak in a rushed manner, so if you’re from out of town, others may not understand you. Don’t stunt yourself.
- Don’t over analyze afterwards. Introverts tend to walk away from an event unsure of their behavior. “Did I actually say that?” “Was I boring? He seemed so bored.” “Was that joke funny? I can’t tell if those laughs were genuine.” “When I came back from the bathroom, they were gone, what did I do wrong?” Chances are people were distracted, busy, drunk or didn’t even notice. Unless you said something blatantly offensive, you were fine. Introverts, you should know that extroverts aren’t analyzing the night like you are, they’re just remembering that they had a good time.
Six bonus networking tips
I confess that I am a strange mix of introvert and extrovert. I am an event organizer in my city, so I am networking with high frequency. I’m not nervous beforehand, and I really get excited to see friends and meet new people. But as the engine starts as we’re on our way, I get butterflies in my stomach not about how the events will go but about being around so many people. I get a little panicked (not that anyone can tell) as people start pouring in and my heart races. I’d rather be at home. All that said, I really like people and get energy from being around people. The truth is that after 20 minutes at any event, I’m fine and I’m having a good time.
Here are my tips for the extrovert/introvert:
- Get to the event early. I’m naturally an early person, but I find that arriving early allows me to watch people as they come in and that gives me a sense of control rather than walking into a packed room. At conferences, I like to be seated early. The control mechanism is in allowing people to come to you which can be helpful for the beginning of an event.
- Practice makes perfect. I remember my first professional mixer and thinking that everyone could see through me. I didn’t know what to expect, how to dress, or what was expected of me. But after a few mixers, it got easier. The same goes for conferences you attend year after year- knowing your surroundings and some familiar faces goes miles to squash your introverted fears.
- Remember names. The truth is that most people are bad at remembering names, even when nametags are being worn. It’s not their or your fault, things happen at a fast pace at events and conferences. But if you can hone in on some names and remember them at the next event, that will go a long way in their mind and help them be comfortable with you. When I began focusing on names, I began hearing, “wow, that is amazing that you remember me,” and “we barely spoke an you remember? That’s impressive.” I try to remember names because I would like people to remember mine.
- Be yourself. I do not subscribe to the “fake it until you make it” mantra. If you’re not chipper, don’t go to an event and act like a cheerleader. It is very disconcerting to me to meet someone at a mixer and get to know them, but at a private coffee later that week, they’re a totally different person. There is an instant distrust there. Push yourself to be interactive, but don’t change your personality.
- Smile. The only fake that I recommend is a smile. When people are telling jokes or interesting stories, smile even if it’s not natural. It is a huge compliment to others. When meeting people, smile. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it makes me when someone doesn’t smile when they shake hands. People see smiles as a welcome mat and you become more approachable and isn’t it really ideal for introverts to be approached rather than have to hunt for people to meet?
- Don’t get drunk. Some guides for introverts instruct you to have a drink upon arrival to soothe your nerves. Fantastic, there’s an open bar, but one drink becomes two and your sipping your nerves away becomes you break dancing to no music and barfing off of a balcony. No bueno. Get your bearings first and sip slowly. If you’re around new people, never get drunk. Period.
Now that you’ve read all twelve tips, don’t you feel better prepared and more calm already? Tell us your tips in the comments for overcoming those stomach butterflies.
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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:
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.
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 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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