I find myself at a bit of a crossroads these days. Why do I tell you this? Because I’d hate to think that I’m the only one who gets to feeling this way.
Self-examination is a positive step both personally and in business. I’ll focus on the latter here, at least for the most part. If you are not looking at what you do with a critical eye, if you’re not actively searching for what could be done better, then the stagnation is bound to catch up to you.
For me much of the problem is I tend to be too smart for my own good. And far too stubborn as well. I tend to make a decision and that’s the decision, even when circumstances dictate that a change is necessary.
Here are a few examples …
Oh, how I love ripping Trulia Voices. There’s an endless supply of tripe, blatant self-promotion, Fair Housing and Code of Ethics violations to be written about if only you take the time.
Rudy suggested a couple of weeks ago that I try to change the platform for the better by jumping back in, providing focused answers where possible, lead by example (not that I’m any sort of role model, lest that be read into these sentences.) And so I’ve tried, even as I’ve watched agents from elsewhere in the state try to convince buyers they don’t want to live where they want to live.
Ultimately, though, the question I had to ask myself is whether my frustration with the miserable answers should cause me to not participate at all. Is there value to answering questions there? I still lean toward no … but just in case I’m wrong, I’m back.
All Phoenix Real Estate.com
Here was a stroke of genius. I discovered that the domain allphoenixrealestate.com was not taken so I purchased it … it’s hard finding a keyword-rich domain name these days. Then I took the next step and changed the domain for Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog to the new domain. Instantly, I fell from Page 1 and 2 on Google for Phoenix Arizona Real Estate to page 36 while the name seasons.
Call this a case of being too smart for my own good. Fortunately, I get enough traffic off long tail searches and my neighborhood sites that I’ve not doomed my business by shooting down my SERP at the height of the buying season. Or so I keep muttering to myself as I bang my head against the keyboard.
It’s Getting Crowded in Phoenix
Once upon a time I was the only agent regularly writing about absorption rate here in the Phoenix area. Now I’m one of five who are posting the same figures on a fairly regular basis. (Two now work for the same brokerage as part of Jay Thompson’s scheme to take over the world, but that’s another story.)
This was my hook … my bread and butter … the first and best routine post I had. And now it’s being done all over the place. Not exactly the way I do it, mind you, but after two years the absorption rate concept has been copied and repackaged and is becoming standard fare in multiple locations.
I need a new hook.
Enter the Phoenix Real Estate wiki, which at least will be difficult for folks to duplicate. It’s already managed to consume far more time than I imagined and it’s nowhere close to being complete. I’m not going to go into too many details but suffice it to say that when I’m done, I’ll be reaping the benefits of having longer tails than … well … an animal with a really long tail.
(My daughter suggests a raccoon or a lemur. We’ll go with that.)
Part of my re-examination also focused on my role here at Agent Genius. I was told not so long ago that I’m the guy who says what everyone else is thinking but doesn’t dare say, which is true to a degree. You can argue that I’m fearless or that I lack in discretion. I’ll accept either verdict.
Agent Genius has given me a platform from which to vent in the past … but the question I needed to ask myself was whether I was contributing as much as I was taking from the venture. Looking at the full body of posts here, I believe I’ve added more to the conversation that I’ve taken away with my tangential rants.
What I’ve found is in the middle of the ranting rage I often lose focus on what’s important. In the most recent cases, I cost myself the chance to have a cool orange monkey – a fact the Housechick tends to wave under my nose whenever possible.
The rants make me feel better for a time but they don’t change the things that aggravate me in the first place. And that in turn tends to aggravate me even more.
I can’t afford to be aggravated any more than normal. Real estate is stressful enough. Having a teenager come home with her first hickie is stressful enough. Being synagogue president is stressful enough.
Someone told me the other day you only have so many heartbeats and then you’re done. That’s a truly frightening prospect. (Maybe not frightening enough to get me to the gym, but still.)
Life has a way of telling you when you need to slow down, to get rid of the slow burn and to relax. My heart has been telling me this on and off for a while now and the time’s come for me to listen.
In everything we do, we’re either being productive and contributing or we’re not. And sometimes the things that once were productive no longer are so due to changes in circumstances, competition or whatever.
Believing … no … knowing that you’re always right is about as dangerous a thought process as any of us can have. Because no one’s right all the time. And even when you once were right, you may find out later that the rules have changed and what you once knew, you don’t know.
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!
Business Marketing2 weeks ago
Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?
Business Marketing2 weeks ago
How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it
Business Entrepreneur2 days ago
How can a small business beat a large competitor moving in next door?
Opinion Editorials6 days ago
Ways to socialize safely during quarantine
Business Finance1 week ago
Is the convenience of payment apps worth the risk of fraud?
Tech News1 week ago
The inventor of the internet wants to give back control of your data
Business Marketing1 week ago
Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?