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New Realtor looking for advice in getting career started



Starting a new real estate career

It is common for people considering real estate as a career to scour the internet with success tips and the research doesn’t stop, even after the licensing exam is passed. For most new agents in this era, part of their continuing education is online through blogs, news sites and magazines where the learn bits and pieces that make up their consciousness.

A common question is “do you have any advice for me as a new agent?” which is exactly a question asked on that offered an interesting array of advice from users.

Hints and tips for a new agent?

Lsop wrote, “I’m working on signing on with a Brokerage in Toronto Ontario. Are there and Hints and Tips that other Realtors might be willing to give to someone starting out? And you non-realtors, how would you say would be the best way to gain you as a client and, what are things that realtors do that annoy you?”

Right off the bat, this new agent is thinking of the best ways to serve consumers (and not annoy them) which is a good start. The advice on includes old school and new school advice, and none of it mentions Twitter, but the word “business” was used 19 times in the list of advice given to this new agent.

Floor time versus face time

ShortWoman noted that the new agent should take floor time as often as possible while Slidellian contradicted, advising to “think face time vs. floor time,” adding “I think it’s fair to say that you will add more people to your database by spending three hours getting out and meeting people and exchanging business cards and previewing FSBOs than you will in three hours of taking floor time.”

The business of business

Slidellian also advises to “lead with revenue,” and “Make sure you have at LEAST six months of expenses set aside.” Furthermore, Slidellian advises to truly commit to real estate full time, mind contact management closely, never stop reading, and be fair to yourself.

Learn short sales first

ShortWoman noted that agents should “always keep up on the industry and your local statistics,” and reminds the new agent that their “safety comes first.” She told the new agent to ask questions and “Learn how to handle short sales and foreclosures, and a traditional sale will be a piece of cake” and she makes the strong point that “more disclosure is always better than less.”

Shadow success, repeat

Unstoppable says, “Align yourself with a successful agent who’s been in the business for many years. Offer to help him/her out in exchange for lessons and assistance. They may even give you some of their excess business with you paying them a referral fee when they close. Your first year will be tough. Stick it out and listen to the experienced agents’ advice. Ask a lot of questions. Talk to everybody.”

What is your advice?

Knowing what you know now, what would you tell a new agent just starting in this business? It’s a down economy and agents are having to be quite resourceful, what would you tell an agent to focus on first? Tell us in comments what you would advise… new agents are Googling your advice as we speak.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

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  1. jay Great Falls Virginia

    July 11, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Find the teams in your area and try to get in the door as an all out committed agent who will call warm leads every day for a couple of hours because almost no other agents really will and it drives team leaders crazy with frustration….Google city state real estate for all your cities to find the agents/teams who are mostly likely overflowing with warm leads/registrations. Also go to the heavy hitter listing agents and offer to do their open houses….

  2. Eric Hempler

    July 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Learn Short Sales
    Leverage Craigslist – you can also do general area ads
    The good old people you know
    Blogging – even though you're new you can start writing about an area and demonstrate your knowledge of the market
    Crate an Area Page on Facebook
    Add Friends to Facebook
    Get to know people on Twitter
    Open Houses
    Expired Listings

  3. Matthew Collis

    July 11, 2011 at 8:06 am

    My advice is to ensure that a new realtor has an easy to use contact management system in place, such as IXACT Contact, so as they meet more people and develop more connections, they'll have a central place to store this contact information. A contact management system, or real estate CRM, will also allow new realtors to stay organized by having a place to input listing information and buyer info.

  4. Austin Homes

    July 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Ask a seasoned listing agent if you can go on listing appointments with him or her.

    Tell everyone you know you are in real estate.

    Add your real estate contact info to your email signature.

    Do a lot of open houses.

  5. Ben Fisher

    July 11, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Trulia Zillow
    Open Houses

  6. ShortWoman

    July 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Glad you liked my comments over on Reddit! It so happens I did <a href="">a video on this topic</a> a couple weeks ago.

  7. Jake Scheeler

    July 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Don't mistake "years in the business" for experience or skill. They are not the same thing.

    Too many agents like to lead conversations with how many years they have been in real estate. This does not impress me and it should not impress you, as it entirely possible to do something poorly for a very long time. Focus on developing your own skills as an agent and delivering top-notch service to your clients and the years will accumulate.

  8. Missy Caulk

    July 12, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Find a successful agent that will let you follow them, shadow them for several listing appointments and tours with buyers.
    Most RE is caught not taught.

  9. Mike Warren

    September 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Being Real Estate Agent is not easy, but if you really want to be successful in it. You should find a professional Realtor that can help you to be a successful Realtor.

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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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