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Clients Need to be Touched



How do you Touch?

Do you make sure and “touch” your clients? I’m talking about current, past, and those you hope to be future clients? Most would agree that people like to receive their touches in different forms, so it is important to alternate the ways that you send out the message that you are still around to serve them.

Direct mail, phone calls, emails, drop-by visits, gifts, and get-togethers are all the typical methods people use to stay in touch. People will actually receive your touch in different ways. For some clients it will mean more if you have an auditory conversation with them while others prefer the visual in a piece of mail/email. So it is important to mix up your touches with different methods.

Vary it Up

Get creative. What do you do with the “same ole” flyers that arrive in your work mailbox? I know I stand at the recycle bin. Dump! Do you even remember the phone call from your vendor, “Kim, I’m here to help whenever you have clients that need a provider that will get the job done right.” ? Delete!

Be You

Are you tired of hearing this from me yet? I think one of the biggest mistakes people make in any type of selling role is that they focus on the sale and not the individuals. Ya see, you have to make and continue the connection if you expect people to trust you for their transaction.

Try These for Starters

Some automated contact is alright, but you have to get adventurous and do some things that the competition isn’t thinking of. Here are some things that I have tried and plan to try that are a little bit off the wall, but sure to be remembered!

  • Pick up the phone and sing Happy Birthday, the whole song, even if on voicemail. Do you sing great or horrible? Does it matter? Do you think they’ll remember it regardless? Yes!
  • Find a short, meaningful quote and email it to your list. Nothing about Real Estate. No signature block.
  • Use a service like Eyejot and send a personal (not generic) video email message – short & sweet.
  • Send a text message when you plan on being at a coffee shop for a while, “I’m at __, come by for a cup on me!”
  • Support charities together. Send a postcard offering to match a prearranged drive with funds, food, toys that your contacts donate.

What can you add to the list?

Image Courtesy One Two Three

Kim resides and works selling Real Estate in Chester County, PA. She is a blogger and also writes for her own blog, West of Philly Burbs and Mothers Fighting for Others. Kim is a Social Networking Junkie and you can connect with her in many places including Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr.

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  1. Missy Caulk

    December 5, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I send out stuff that I think will be valuable to my past and present clients. Like last night Comerica Bank released a paper on the implications of the bailout (bridge loan).

    It was a really good report with graphics of the automotive industry, with GIP since 2001. It was obvious they did not get in trouble over-night.

    So I just try to pass on helpful things I find. As soom of my clients have moved out of state and their homes are on the market, I wanted them to know what another local MI Corp like Comerica was saying.

  2. Kim Wood

    December 5, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Great idea Missy! I’m sure that your clients appreciate the thought that you forwarded the information to them as well 🙂

  3. Matthew Hardy

    December 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Of course the prerequisite is having client/prospect contact data in a primary system where you can manage and track all of the touches. It’s unfortunate that most agents don’t have this. I like the creative examples you’ve offered.

  4. John Wake

    December 14, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Thanks for the tip on Eyejot! It has real possibilities.

    I can see it as a way to touch higher potential internet leads, “Thank you for your request for X. I just emailed it off to you. [Comment on what was sent.] [Closing]”

    All in 60 seconds or less, the max message length for the free version. If I end up using it, I would want to upgrade for $100 per year to get rid of the Eyejot logo and replace it with my own logo. The upgrade also gets rid of the Google Adwords ads and extends the maximum length to 5 minutes.

    Here’s what I’m thinking (imagine business attire).

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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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