Connect with us


Lions, Gazelles and Real Estate Agents.



It’s The Weirdest Feeling. . .

Your buyers just bought and closed.  You found their dream home.  Yea!  Now you’re a little depressed, why?

Your listing just sold and closed.  You said you’d get the job done.  They believed you.  And you delivered.  Your sellers love and brag about you.  Yea!  Now you’re melancholy, why?

Why Does Success Lead To Sadness?

Look, it’s normal and common to depress after a success.  But we can’t afford to do what’s normal and common, can we?  Not if we want remarkable results.

In the real estate business, every time we succeed, when buyers buy and listings sell, we’ve just sold our self out of a job, and it’s time to start over.  Instead of allowing these normal “now I have less” feelings to buzz-kill our mood and attitude, we need to focus on the good and confident feelings that our success creates.  We can leverage these good and confident feelings by making massive in-person and on-purpose contact.

Is there a better time to talk to people than when you’re feeling flush with success and accomplishment?

Sometimes it helps me to visualize the real estate business as a vast Jane and Tarzan jungle.  In the jungle, survivors live by this proverb, and so should we.

Ancient African Jungle Proverb

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or an gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

I head this years ago, I reflect on it frequently and I think it’s dead on.  This proverb helps keep me  focused on the difference between what I know I need to do, and what sometimes, I feel I’d like to do, which is allowing the sadness of success to bring me down, instead of running forward with a smile when I’m successful.

I hope this proverb helps keep you In-The-Now and always striving with a smile.  Don’t let a success color you blue, celebrate your victories and use your positive power to race forward.  Everything is easier when you know and leverage the laws of the jungle. And when your listings sell and your buyers buy, remind yourself, you’re Queen Of Your Jungle.  Roar don’t mewl, and hit the ground running.


Cheers and thanks for reading.

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

Continue Reading


  1. Lesley Lambert

    October 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Running as fast as I can! I like this post a lot, I never thought to put into words that strange feeling of let down after a closing. You did a great job of verbalizing that for all of us and the reminder to stay motivated and positive is always a good one!

  2. Kelsey Teel

    October 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I loved the proverb you shared, Ken! I have never heard that, but I think it applies across the board to all things in life. Interesting article, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      October 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks, I guess it’s true, we have to run like Forest Gump, in most all things.

  3. Andrew McKay

    October 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm


    For (another) UK perspective Alex Ferguson is the most successful football (soccer) manager of all time. He says the elation of winning the final last a few minutes after the end of the game and then he is looking forward to the next tournament; this win is finished and over with.
    Thats why at 67 years old he still has that hunger and incredible competitive spirit and keeps winning.

    • Ken Brand

      October 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm


  4. Kye Grace

    October 26, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Nice! Well timed as I in the midst of ‘running’ as fast as I can. This adds purpose to said effort!

    Thanks Ken!

    • Ken Brand

      October 26, 2010 at 7:20 am

      Amen Kyle, I’m wishing you swift and continued success. Cheers.

  5. Paula Henry

    October 26, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Ken – Perfect timing for this article and the proverb says it all. I closed 5 transactions in the past 10 days and you have accurately described the feeling of the “let down” after the victory. Now, off to get my running shoes and keep moving!

  6. BawldGuy

    October 27, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Interesting, and on target — though with increasing success, some think that letdown may disappear.

    A good friend is a prolific agent in his local market. Successes in real estate to him is much akin to success in arriving at his office each day. It’s a habit. In fact, he doesn’t even take care of his own bank deposits. He and I have talked about this transition. His theory is that once his efforts made success a habit, he stopped being elated every time an escrow closed. He once compared it to a superstar NFL running back who scores, than acts like he’s been there before — which he has, dozens of times.

    Personally, it reminds me of what I was taught early on. A farmer is never surprised when he finds himself harvesting corn in the fall when he spent so much time planting in the spring, and tending the fields in between.

    I suspect the transition might happen once success becomes a habit, and not a constant surprise. I wonder if this is a common change in outlook in real estate?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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!

Continue Reading

Our Great Partners

American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!