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Marry Your Social Marketing Efforts



Say “I do” to 1.5

I accept your invitation to sign up on Twitter and follow our neighborhood and join the neighborhood blog, and I think I will print this coupon from the newsletter and have a free kids night at our local restaurant!

… and maybe, just maybe, I’ll sign up to contribute to our neighborhood blog!

Say What?

Okay, neighborhood blogs and Twitter are a no brainer, but the question is, how do I fuel the desire by the neighbor or future neighbors to my site?

That’s easy- how about a tried and true 1.0 method to supplement your 2.0 methods? Here’s one idea to fire up your inspiration… think real estate 1.5!

Neighbor Blog Card Side One

neighborhood blog business cards

Neighbor Blog Card Side Two

neighborhood blog business cards

Get Yourself on Twitter for the Right Reasons

If you want R.O.I. using social media, you’re not going to get it by sitting around, you’re going to have to get out and pound the pavement.

Take Your Agent Hat Off

And be a neighbor… Go door to door and stick your neighbor card in every door you can. Avoid sales tactics of yesteryear, and just be a great neighbor.

How do I Handle Email Newsletters?

I’ve already written this review, and highly suggest Madmimi.

Go Social Real Estate

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Kim Wood

    August 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Love the design on those cards! Kids free meals are a great idea… what restaurant wouldn’t want a chance at that? Most likely two adult meals paid for a kids free!

    Agent Genius shares a brilliant idea again….. and Kim needs more time… again…. 🙂

  2. Mack in Atlanta

    August 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    The benefits of social networks are amazing. Today I heard from a girl that I have not had conversation with in over 30 years. She found me on Facebook.

  3. Loren Nason

    August 25, 2008 at 1:29 am

    The Twitter cards are an interesting idea.

    The problem is that twitter is still a bleeding edge tool that I would think that 95% of those that would look at the card and say “WTF?!?! is this twitter thing…. Hmmm a free meal” So you the restaurant gets a customer and you get bupkis.

    Now instead of twitter make the card your local neighborhood blog and then the free meal on the back.


  4. Benn Rosales

    August 25, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Loren, they’re all three married…

    In my campaign, I’m promoting:
    signing up for the newsletter at the blog (which is what the back of the card says)
    while promoting live twitter updates at the same time.

    And in this scheme, you no sign up for the newsletter, you get nothing for free. In the end, your neighborhood knows there’s a neighborhood grapevine.

    Also, if you’re on twitter, wouldn’t you agree that it makes perfect sense to offer it as an immediate contact point? After all, if you’re on it, there’s bound to be one or two in a neighborhood that gets what twitter is. And now there’s three (or more) to work/join the grapevine.

    You’re right however, in (some parts of) the midwest and more rural areas, twitter users may be thin. This is why we sincerely belive that in order to build and blend your offline and offline efforts, you will need to tell folks on your website how to use some of the online tools you’re using- RSS being one of them, and Twitter as an alternative.

  5. Loren Nason

    August 25, 2008 at 2:01 am

    You make a valid point and I really didn’t look at the card that hard.

    Maybe the whole little birdy turned me off and I didn’t look completely at the card.

    Now the part where the person Signs up to get the coupon is great. I’ve been thinking of something similar of a free coffee with signup to newsletter/blog

    You have changed my mind. I still think the design needs to change, but I will also assume it was an example and not the actual design?

    I started thinking the freebie just as you are here when I was at Kohl’s and they were offering 5 bucks if you gave them your email. Lot’s of people will signup to anything just for a buck or 2.


  6. Benn Rosales

    August 25, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Indeed! Inspiration man, inspiration. If I design something on purpose, folks normally know it’s on purpose!

    I may whip somethings together tomorrow…

  7. Carson

    August 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Loving the idea… Need to execute on this ASAP.

  8. MG in Hampstead

    August 25, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    It’s a good idea, we need to do this to promote our blog

  9. Lesley

    August 26, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I love this idea as a way to promote my expertise as the area leader in online marketing AND the low tech neighborhood specialist. However, twitter remains a mystery to most around here (if they even know what it is) so I wonder how to battle that?

  10. Benn Rosales

    August 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Lesley, I suggest creating back pages on neighbor blogs that are tutorial in format, and very simple… maybe even a short video? be creative and educate, otherwise, get them to the neighbor blog and keep them there and keep them coming back with the mailer.

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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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