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Is it Wednesday already?

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How fast will it go?

Time feels like it’s flying by.

I’ve been working pretty hard lately and spending more time working than sleeping, eating, and relaxing combined. I’m not complaining, it’s just that when you get really wrapped up in what’s going on, you tend to forget what day it is. Tuesdays feel like Wednesdays. Thursdays feel like Fridays. Sundays feel like Mondays. I’m confused…what day is today?

I have goals to reach. Daily, weekly, monthly, and by the end of the year. I am trying to attain certain events before they pass me by. I want to do this, that, and the other thing. I have “to do” lists and grocery lists. I have notes, scraps of paper, and phone numbers jotted down in the car. Basically, there’s a lot going on – and most of it is real estate.

With all of that, there seems to be a lack of time. No, let me correct that, there isn’t a lack of time, there’s a lack of a controlled, acceptable speed to how that time passes. By the time I wrote that sentence I felt as if my day was shooting past me. Like watching the trees pass as I speed down the road, I see transactions, potential transactions, and everyday real estate work whizzing by my head. Zoom. Zip. Gone.

This is a good thing.

I’m not complaining, I love being busy and working hard. What interests me though is what I do when the pace picks up. Finding sense in the madness. Allowing myself time to do what I know is and has been essential to my business. What do I find so essential? Blogging. That’s right. The one thing we’re all here championing everyday is one of the essential keys to my business. And if I can’t remember what day it is, I may not be able to keep my business flowing.

The key to my blogging success (and I have begun to see the fruits of my labors) has been to try to do it more often than not. Whether it’s here, ActiveRain, or my own RErockstar.com site, I find that writing isn’t a hobby, it’s a dedicated part of my business.

It’s not a hobby, it’s a job.

Making blogging my job as opposed to my hobby is becoming more important to me everyday. I’ve seen the effects of taking a few days off here and there. I know of an agent who found himself ranking number one on Google for some very good keywords…how’d he do it? Wrote a post once a day for fifty days. Many of the posts weren’t even about real estate. Google recognized his overall theme and gave him authority on the topic and gave him the ranking to prove it. My consistency is not always there, so I’m going to have to try stepping up my game in that department. By blogging consistently, it’s like calling Google once a day and saying “hey, I’m over here – pay attention.” Sure there are other factors you can work into everything to make it notice you faster and more often, but the simple act of one-a-day can boost your blog to the top.

It’s time to decide where to invest myself and blogging is a huge investment that I’m ready to make work for me more than it already is. It doesn’t matter what day today is – I have an article to write.

photo courtesy of omniNate

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Been there, done that. You can’t do everything at once.

    The biggest time vampire is when you are physically out with clients. This kills entire groups of days and like you said, next thing you know it’s Friday and how did that happen.

    However, being out with clients is how you make the money so it must take first priority. When you are with clients, just literally forget about all the internet stuff, blogging included. When you get back home from all the showings, you will have client follow up to do and prep for the next day. Again, just blow off the internet and get it done. One thing at a time, keeps you sane.

    Lastly, call me really naive, dumb whatever, but how can one make a living from Blogging? Owning a big successful blog site and running ads?

    Have a good night and chill,

    Rob in Atlanta

  2. Joe Loomer

    September 10, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Thanks Matt – I’ve been lax in my own efforts and saw my Google ranking drop by one spot – time to re-energize and get to posting!

    Funny how we can trick ourselves into believing the clients are the time-suck when they’re the reason we’re doing it in the first place!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Missy Caulk

    September 11, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Hi Matt, I say that everyday. Blogging is a job, fun but a job. Sometimes other parts of our job scream at us and require more attention. Been there done that…back on track.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    September 11, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Rob – I can’t always do everything at once and there are times where one thing must take precedence over another, that’s a fact of life. What I am learning is where there is time. I spend a lot of time in the car, which isn’t really great for blogging (laptop while driving is just a little dangerous for me). What it is good for is thinking about my next blog or which blog needs more attention. When I’m making dinner, I usually start writing out some of my next post, finding the photo for it, or dreaming up it’s title. After dinner, I can sit and focus.

    I guess you could make a living with a blog site full of ads, but that’s not for me (I hate ad stuffing on websites and won’t even put a few seemingly innocent Google ads on my site). Blogging isn’t my only focus, but it is a core of my business plan.

    Joe – When I’m out with clients I often find some of the best ideas for my next post. A simple question from the client can turn into a few posts in seconds. Sorry to hear you slipped one spot – hopefully you’ll gain two!

  5. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 11, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Matt-

    I got it.

    ” Blogging isn’t my only focus, but it is a core of my business plan.”

    You were not saying you would/could quit everything else and just blog, I misread it.

    Carry on my wayword son,

    Rob

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Coaching

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!

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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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Coaching

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:

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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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Coaching

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.

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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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