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Communicating Copy Cat



Communicating Copy Cat

Hopefully when interacting with people there is a natural connection and one that is easily established without any thoughts about it. But what if a gap exists? When you just seem to be up against a wall? This can happen in person, on the phone, or even in text.

Matching, Mirroring, Mimicking

Some ways to break through the barrier are easy to pull off; you just have to be aware of it. Most solid connections are with people who are similar to you. You can make some similarities by creating them. You won’t get caught, although at some times you might feel that you will. (I’m ready for the comments, I’m sure there are instances people have figured out what is going on – keep everything in balance, folks, don’t go overboard.) This way of communicating with people has been proven in my life with clients, servers, kids, cashiers, coworker, and friends. Try it!

Evaluate Yourself

Make sure you know what your normal voice level/pace, hand signals, eye movements, and stature consist of. You need to have a base line so that when something needs adjusted you know how much. For example, if you know you are a loud person, you have to reduce your tone level for a “normal” range. If the other person is loud, you may be able to talk without any adjustment. Ask people that you communicate often with or practice just talking on seesmic.

Voice Tonage and Pace

When speaking with a soft-spoken person if you are not – tone it down! If someone you are speaking with is loud and talks quickly – speed it up! When the person you are speaking to has a really bad day? Grump it up! Yes, really.

Body Movements

Someone who has a hard time making eye contact with people typically does not enjoy being stared at into their eyes. People who enjoy bouncing around and nearly knocking you out with hand movements will be more open if you are not like a statue – they’ll view it as “cold”. Pay attention to what the person is doing and match it. When sitting with arms crossed – cross them in the same manner.

Text Matching

If you want to connect with someone via text/chat/email you need to mimic. If the writing is light and friendly – loosen up! If it’s written strict and professional – remember your business writing skills! Did you receive a long email? Write longer!

What can you Lose?

It’s amazing it works… but it does. Testimonials include… wait staff quickly warming up and giving good service when it was obvious they were ready to spill water on purpose; teenagers ready to talk after having a bit of attitude conversation together; and clients gaining trust when they see there isn’t a pressure to speak when they prefer near silence.

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  1. Bill Lublin

    October 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Great Post Kim – I used to admire how a good saleperson seems to mimic their client – using the language that the client is comgfotable with is key – after all ,the longshoreman will be offended if you speak to them as a professor (thinking you are “talking down” to them) and the Professor would be offended if you spoke to them as a longshoreman (thinking you crude and not worthy of their trust) – I know that it can work really effectively, and that I mirror you when I say “Go Phillies”

  2. Mana Tulberg

    October 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Kim, I think I am more comfortable with the emotional mimicking of my clients. I can easily relate to everyone’s situation without leaving my comfort zone. Thanks kim.

  3. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    October 29, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    You had to know I was going to comment, with a header picture like that. 🙂

    This is a great post, and something that I do both in real estate and in officiating. One thing I always think of when interacting with someone for the first time is to FIND SIMILARITIES of experience. Ask questions and listen until you can discover a similarity, then go from there. People like people who are most like them. We have something in common with everyone, we just have to find it.

    Bill brought up a point about language, and it is am important one. I notice of myself that my southern accent comes out around southerners and my NY accent comes out around northerners. I don’t really think about it, but it happens. Like I said, people like people who are most like them. Don’t force it, and definitely don’t fake it, but do what comes naturally, and be aware of yourself.

    Personally, I think that Bill Clinton might be the best-known example of what you are talking about. I can’t stand the guy personally, and I don’t agree with him politically, but as far as being able to related to people on their terms, no one was better at it than him. I would argue that he used that skill very well, and you should, too.

  4. Gerry 'RealtyMan' Bourgeois

    October 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Great post. BTW, Typo 4th line Pargraph 2 (hav should be have). 😉

  5. Kim Wood

    October 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Bill – That’s right I’ll join you in that mirror! GO PHILLIES!

    Mana – Emotional mimicking is harder, cause you have to read them – but that is awesome if you can do that!

    Daniel – Oh yeah, Zebra Man! A great place to use it – officiating! Hadn’t thought of that one 🙂 It works everywhere!

    Gerry – Thank you! That’s awful *hangs head 🙁 Fixed!

  6. Missy Caulk

    October 29, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Kim, finding the common bond leads to live long relationships with friends and clients. Have I ever slapped you up the head?

    I’m laughing at Daniels comment being a Southerner living in the Mid-West. So easy to convert back to my twang.

  7. Vicki Moore

    November 1, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Good stuff. I learned about this through a “tape” series – you can guess how old it is – called Sales Magic.

    You can completely bond with someone by matching their pace and volume. Just as you can make them super uncomfortable by talking to fast and loud.

  8. Paula Henry

    November 2, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Kim – Excellent reminder! When a prospect believes you relate to them and their needs, you very likely have a client.

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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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