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What’s your number?

Hey, what’s your number? Too cliche? I didn’t think so. Not for you guys! This weekend, I was lured into a training session for a Board that I sit on because we have recently had a major shift in our Board structure; thinking it wise to get a better understanding for how each of the other Board members interact on a personal level, we opted for the DiSC, sometimes called D.I.S.C., testing to be administered. “The D.I.S.C. personality report or inventory, developed by William Moulton Marston, profiles four primary behavioral styles, each with a very distinct and predictable pattern of observable behavior. Applied in corporate, business and personal situations the DISC inventory can lead to professional and personal insights. ”

I selfishly started thinking about how I could optimize my knowledge of the DiSC assessment and my personal style with my clients and of course, other agents whom I may deal with on transactions, who if you think about it, are my team mates… right? Right. You want to know my scores now, don’t you? So invasive. I don’t mind. I’m a nearly exactly the same on ‘i’ and ‘C’, which I found very interesting, because I am totally a people person, who is optimistic, outgoing and truly do enjoy energizing others through events and forming of groups. I am also extremely into planning out how things will work, researching and making sure that people will understand what I am trying to get across. Hmmmm. Freakin’ personality profiling. My husband thinks it is junk science, and I think that he is totally a D. We won’t tell him that, though.

So, what do you do with this information, other than feel like someone has stripped you down into your underoos and shared with the world all of your vulnerable spots while sitting in a group forum? Uhm, hello… you take notes. Listen to how each different style of behavioral types will interact in team environment, because what is a real estate transaction other than your team that you get to lead?

How to use this new knowledge

Important questions and solutions to think when assessing how to deal with your new found knowledge after taking your DiSC assessment:

  • Is your client the sort who just wants the facts and keeps everything in an awesome excel spreadsheet? This is probably an ‘S’- make them proud by offering them a folder with all of their personalized details.
  • Is your client the sort who needs to marinate on the information and digest things for a week before giving you an answer? This is probably a ‘C’ who isn’t quick to make a decision, and will never rush anyone into anything they aren’t ready for; let them know you are ready when they are.
  • Is your client the sort who doesn’t want flowery speak? Lay it out there in bullets? They might be a ‘D’ and they can jump right into the game as long as you have given them clear cut information.
  • Is your client the sort who wants hear all about how the week was before you get into any of the fine print of the actual job at hand? Maybe they are an ‘i’. Learn how to use this to work well with them, or how to get them to focus.

Discovering your own type

Do you want to figure out what you are from this brief run down of the DiSC assessment- check it out! “The online DISC Profile is a validated learning tool, focusing on people-skills for personal and professional relationships and development. The DISC Profile is a nonjudgmental survey for understanding behavioral types and personality styles. It helps people explore behavior across four primary dimensions:

  • Dominance: Direct and to the point, decisive and bottom line oriented. These people tend to be independent and results driven. They are strong-willed people who enjoy challenges, taking action, and immediate results.
  • Influence: Optimistic and outgoing. Often highly social and out going. They prefer participating on teams, sharing thoughts, and entertaining and energizing others.
  • Steadiness: Empathetic & Cooperative. Typically team players and are supportive and helpful to others.  They prefer being behind the scene, working in consistent and predictable ways. They are often good listeners and avoid change and conflict
  • Conscientiousness: Concerned, Cautious & Correct. These individuals are often focused on details and quality. They plan ahead, constantly check for accuracy, and what to know “how” and “why”.”

The best part about doing an assessment like this, is that it isn’t just for your interaction with clients, it is pretty much useful for any sort of business interaction! That other agent who is needlessly argumentative, give them a dose of your understanding ‘D’ treatment! Your proposal for the builder who may or may not want to go in on the tract of land doesn’t want to hear the history of the neighborhood, but wants to see the graphs and spreadsheets- throw down the awesome ‘S’ knowledge you’ve learned.

I had taken the Myers Briggs test in high school and it has many more components than the DiSC assessment, but DiSC still focuses on core values and motivations. One of the coolest things that I took away from the Board retreat, aside from that now I know how each of my Board members receive information and process it, is that now I understand each of my clients a bit better now, too! Insight is a pretty nifty tool.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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  1. Belle Travis

    February 13, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I have taken my DISC a month ago. It's kinda funny because I got exactly what would describe me.

  2. Heather

    February 13, 2012 at 2:16 am

    The DISC profile exam is one of the best personality exams I have taken. Correct results.

  3. Neil Mathweg

    February 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Great article! I love using the DISC personality to better work with my clients. My question is, how do you figure out your clients DISC profile without giving them a survey? Is there some basic questions you can ask them that will help you to determine their personality type, without making it obvious? Thanks again for the article.

    • Genevieve

      February 29, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Neil, You can totally tell what you clients are by checking out what the words are that describe them and how they seem to have processed information in the past. Are they more inclined to want straight facts and no nonsense? Total D. Do they like to shoot the breeze and then get down to business? Total i. Check out the link in the article to the foundation’s website. It is pretty dang useful! Happy Selling!

  4. Anne

    February 18, 2012 at 5:43 am

    After I took the DISC personality test, I got a better insight of what I am. I posted my results on Facebook and my friends commented that it's so like me.

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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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