Connect with us

How to

Productive New Year’s resolutions – resolution worksheet



This year, be productive with your resolutions. Every year we scribble down our resolutions which usually go like this: “(1) lose 12 pounds (2) stop drunk tweeting (3) return all calls within five minutes (4) read the Bible by Christmas (5) be nice to people.” How many of those things actually happen?

Most of them do within the first 30 days, then that napkin you jotted your last minute “goals” down on is thrown away with the pile of messages your assistant wrote down for you that you haven’t called back (but throwing them away wipes the slate clean, no?).

Don’t waste your time by torturing yourself with unrealistic resolutions, use this as a time to be productive and analyze your goals instead of writing shallow impossibilities on a disposable sheet you’ll forget about next week.

Dr. Will Baum suggests using his worksheet below to get to the meat of resolutions and to make goals that are realistic and productive (I recommend printing it out and spending a few minutes on it):

What resolutions did you come up with that you’d like to share with us in the comments?

Originally published January 01, 2010.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Continue Reading


  1. Real Estate Ninja

    January 1, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Make Productive New Year’s Resolutions – Resolution Worksheet

  2. kristin terry

    January 1, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Make Productive New Year’s Resolutions – Resolution Worksheet: Be productive with your resolutions ..

  3. bankowned

    January 1, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I am more of a hands on learner that learns best by being shown how to do it first and then practicing over and over to get it right. If anyone can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it.

  4. RealEstate Babble

    January 1, 2010 at 9:16 am

    AgentGenius: Productive New Year’s Resolutions – Resolution Worksheet Full

  5. realdiggity

    January 1, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Productive New Year’s Resolutions – Resolution Worksheet: comments

  6. bigstartups

    January 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    RT @agentgenius Productive New Year’s Resolutions – Resolution Worksheet

  7. Nanette Labastida

    January 3, 2010 at 11:24 am

    i always do better if i have a form to fill out!
    I also always feel better if i have a good pen and a cute notebook – this year i bought my best friend and i matching journals of a theme we are both obessed with (Wizard of Oz) and we got together on New Years day and wrote out our personal mission statments for the year, our proffessional mission statements, our 2010 Goals/business plans, we found that personal ones naturally intertwined, as things like health & happiness, and other life improvements are esssential for proffessional goals.
    Then we added January “to do’s” and plan to revisit regularly, to outline the next month’s goals and review what we have achieved and how we are doing it.
    Having someone support your and be accountable to I feel is key to succeeding at this. And it’s fun and a great excuse to hang out with a freind.

    I actually got a great outline and motivation from reading the book “Activate your Passion Activate Your Career’ by Madison Hildebrand! One of the agents on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing! it’s a really good book and an easy read

    oh – an my resolutions….
    no limits…more of a theme than a resolution
    (and keep my house, cleaner!)

    • Lani Rosales

      January 3, 2010 at 11:27 am

      So you’re doing your resolutions like some people use a workout buddy (adds accountability), nice!

      Sidenote: I too LOOOOVE fancy journals and pens, have you seen

  8. Nanette Labastida

    January 3, 2010 at 11:32 am

    ooops the book is called “Activate your Passion – Create your Career”

  9. Nest Realty Group

    December 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Not a huge fan of that document – it just seems too generic. Every Realtor should have a plan in place each year…most of that involves business planning/goals, but it could also include personal goals. I was doing some business planning with one of our agents last week and they had laid out a detailed plan that included everything from the number of closings to the number of times/week they wanted to exercise.

  10. Matthew Hardy

    December 28, 2010 at 11:52 am

    The problem the sample worksheet has is in it’s focus on problems. It’s fine to fix a washing machine, but humans ‘travel towards’ their focus. Focus on what’s wrong with you and you set up a never-ending cycle of ‘fixes’. Instead, focus on positive aspects; magnify them, enlarge them. The less-desired attitudes and behaviors will diminish because of lack of focus.

  11. Rebecca Williamson

    January 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    My New Year’s Resolution is to get rid of everything that isn’t productive or doesn’t produce a good return on my investment. This way I can focus my efforts on only productive tasks and will have more free time during the week.

    • Lani Rosales

      January 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Rebecca, based on your writing this after January 1st, we’ll take that as a vote that AG fits into your resolutions, so thanks! 🙂

      PS: hook ’em horns!

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!