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Degrees of Separation Between You and Your Next Short Sale?

Anyone who has read my blog posts before knows that I love this unique and challenging real estate market.

Businessman I absolutely adore short sales! One of the reasons that I go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over short sales is because they are not a difficult listing to obtain. And . . . I do seem to recall some of the old school real estate trainers yelling from the rooftops, “If you don’t list, you don’t last.”

Well, here’s a great opportunity to list and last. Get a short sale listing. Actually, get two, three . . . ten. Since the actual closing date for a short sale is difficult to calculate with precision, put a slew of short sales in your pipeline so that you can see closing after closing after closing.

If you don’t have any short sale listings right now, you might be wondering: Where should I begin?

The answer to that question is easy: begin with the people you know—your sphere of influence. If you have not done so before, create a database that includes 200 people you know. This list should include the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails if possible. If you cannot create a list of 200 people, start smaller. The key is to create the list. And, as people begin to contact you and you begin to close transactions, add those new individuals that you meet to your list. This is your sphere of influence.

In my last post, I alluded to the six degrees of separation theory. I mentioned that everyone knows someone who knows someone who might be having trouble making ends meet. With our current unemployment rate at over 10% and with billions of dollars in loans set to adjust this year, certainly there must be someone you know who might need some help exploring options available to avoid foreclosure.

I was thinking this morning that there are four degrees of separation between yours truly and President Barack Obama, and I’m three degrees from Jay Leno. However, I do not believe that either of those individuals are current short sale prospects. But, I must know someone who needs my help.

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Using email campaigns, postcards, telephone campaigns and other marketing strategies, spread the word that you are available to provide real estate services to anyone from your sphere and beyond. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Jay Leno or the guy down the street. Make a marketing plan and stick to that plan day in and day out. If you do that, there will be zero degrees between you and your next short sale listing.

Written By

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.



  1. stephanie crawford

    January 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I don’t think Leno will need any help, but Conan might! LOL

  2. Jeff Green

    January 20, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Great article on short sale listing Melissa. No doubt, this will be very helpful for all in such a situation. Excellent resource. Keep it up.

  3. luxuryrealestateinsider

    January 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    That’s good to know that it’s fairly easy to market for short sales. It is a reality in California real estate, but I find it hard to ask people if they know somebody who is upside down and needs to get out of their house. I have heard that the process is getting quicker and easier for agents to get thru the banking mess of trying to help somebody get out from under their debt. Thanks for the suggestions and thoughts.

    • Melissa Zavala

      January 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Short sales are getting a little bit easier; that’s for sure. The new guidelines for the HAFA program (effective 4/5/10) may even help to improve upon short sales a little bit more!

  4. Chris Amstutz

    February 13, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I live in the Bradenton-Sarasota Florida area. If you can’t market short sales here you’re in the wrong business. With over 2000+ properties headed into foreclsoure in 2010 there’s sure to be an abundance of short sale prospects.

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