Web1.0 popping its head up again
As time marches on and markets struggle in many areas around the country, we’re beginning to see a resurgence of 1.0 practices. A really great example of a 1.0 practice would be for an agent to intentionally seek out a “solution in a box,” and we are currently discussing one in a post right now in relation to canned content.
I’m not going to just blast the idea of Ghost Writing, but if you follow logic, agents seem to revel in the idea that there is a one size fits all approach to real estate- there just isn’t.
Some people just don’t get it
Many simply do not understand that a web2.0 world gives you many opportunities to reduce your marketing budget, throw out your SEO budget, and engage a micro or macro niche through blogs or use of social tools around the sphere. But what I hear as a collective theme (especially among folks new to the online space) is some sort of approval of old fashioned integrated canned methods.
If that’s your goal, idea, or suggestion then you really just do not get web2.0 at all. Argue with me all you wish, but it’s fake, hence not a personal relationship building device, thus, 1.0. Okay, great. Now that we all have a blank stare, let me explain how you can accomplish the same goal while keeping with 2.0 principals, and achieve the same outcome.
Utilizing what’s already around you
First, if you’re in an office with assistants, then make social media part of their job description. It is always better to have someone out socially speaking about you in great ways as opposed to you speaking of yourself.
Teach your clients to network for you as well, especially in neighborhoods in which you specialize. Interview them with flip cams, or even in written word at or around closing. Be transparent in problems they had and solutions you brought to the table. Interview neighbors, neighborhood small business, and you may even want to go so far as allowing them to guest blog on your site. These ideas are all things that could be done by your office assistant, or contract to close coordinator- which by the way, your coordinator might be another asset on your blogging team.
Get creative to build your content, but don’t allow yourself to settle back into the dusty old ways of yester-year or in the next market upswing, you may find yourself back in the ‘looks just like everyone else’ pool.
Tired of blogging daily?
Now, I am all for supplemental material from companies like Bring the Blog; I think they go a long way to bridge the gap between national market outlooks to your local on the ground view. I also believe that comparison is valuable to the consumer.
Tired of writing every single day? Remove the date from your posts- who cares… Simply date time sensitive posts within the posts, but whatever you do, never ever let your blog or social reputation go static 1.0. Be creative, and absolutely never ever get confused about your end goal- or you really are just a 1.0 agent.
Other things we’re hearing
It’s okay to demand the sale! No it isn’t. If you don’t believe me, simply visit your local Nordstroms, Dillard’s, or Macy’s store and observe how the floor sales people operate. They’re suggestive, assumptive, but never a hard sale demand to purchase.
Throw away clients that don’t meet your standards
Are you kidding? Refer them if you’re so successful that you don’t need the headache, but no matter what you do, be respectful. Otherwise someone else in your market will have to explain your disgusting behavior.
Add signatures to your blog posts?
Says who? You’re telling me that your entire website attached to your blog doesn’t describe who you are or how to contact you? It’s not rocket science here, simply make every actionable option on your site suggestive. Buy, Sell, Search, and Contact are suggestive action words- and they work. At the bottom of each ‘page’ (not post), suggest an action as well, but also give options to keep them within your site. they may not be ready to take action.
Look, it’s really not hard
There is a huge difference between 1.0 and 2.0 and I do not subscribe to every 2.0 nor 1.0 method- there is a happy middle. I suggest you do what we do here at Ag which is test and learn, and develop your own 1.5 model. The goal isn’t to all look the same in the end, the goal is to have thousands of individual 1.5 brands all over the country that can appeal to exactly the base that fits them best. I’m sure others will agree that if you really want to be remarkable, then stop looking for a one size fits all approach in a box. Pioneering is not a comfortable endeavor.
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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