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New WordPress Plugins- 8 Picks for Ninja Agents

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The Uber List of WP Plugins – Shake Your WordPress!


Let’s ROCK (metro station sez) C’mon!


NEWSPAPER WordPress Plugin

allows you to create print newspaper from your blog posts. This could be used to deliver printed newspaper styled posts directly to your neighborhood doors!

eFontSize WordPress Plugin

As your reader base grows you’ll need to take into account those that cannot read certain fonts or colors well, this plugin allows you to increase the font size to comfortable levels! It may not work with all themes, but it’s worth a look especially for certain niches.

Simple Flash Video

Want to publish MP4 Video and Flv? Then this may be your answer. It does require a few more plugins, but worth a try if you’re looking for an MP4 & Flash solution.

Great Real Estate WordPress Plugin

This is one I am really excited about as it is the first free plugin to manage your real estate listings that doesn’t require something in return. It does require a few other plugins to operate, however, it will save you big bucks in the long run. Let us know how it works! I know I’ll be loading it up next week to give it a whirl as soon as I have some time to really drive it- it has a whole host of functionality that from reading is pretty damn amazing. Thank you for developing great real estate wordpress plugins!

SMS Text Messages WordPress Plugin

Hold the damn phone! Really- Cuz this is HOT! This plugin allows readers who want to receive text alerts alerting them to new postings (or listings- I’m just sayin’) on your site! Who says everyone needs to learn how to use a feed reader- seriously, they’d rather use their IPHONE! This would be incredibly sweet for use on neighborhood blogs (I’m just sayin’).

WP-Auction WordPress Widget

Okay, this is kind of a stretch, but how about Agents (or a homeowner) that are looking for ways of starting a local Home Auction. It may take a bit of tweaking, but this could be crazy awesome if done the right way- Auction This Home!

Copy Alerts WordPress Plugin

Get your hands off my site copy (not just articles)! Well, now you can catch the crook when it starts take action. Thieves beware! You don’t want some bluehair in a caddy chasing you down- I’m just sayin…

Search Unleashed WordPress Plugin

Okay, using wordpress as a CMS is great and all, but that dorky search field that only searches the blog is sort of shortsighted. This plugin searches the entire site and highlights matching content- CMS is finally coming together thanks to great Plugin writers.

More to Come…

I’m watching plugins take the next step thanks to the new WordPress Plugins Competition which was long overdue. These coders work really hard to bring great things to WordPress and Agent Genius will continue to feature the absolute Genius we discover!

New WordPress Tutorial on the Way!

Tomorrow I’ll have a fantastic new tutorial on how to upload a plugin! Stay tuned!

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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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Irina Netchaev

    June 25, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Great tools! Thanks for pulling these together for us. Can’t wait for the WP tutorial.

  2. Jason Sandquist

    June 25, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Benn-

    Sometimes it gets long scouring Google for top plugins to use on WP. Thanks for getting the list up and running. Looking forward to other great things from you dealing with WP.

  3. Tyler, The Wealth Creation Guy

    June 25, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Benn,

    I dig the new plug-ins. I’m extremely interested in the SMS plug-in. Has anyone had any experience with it?…I am curious what it looks like on an actual website.

    Keep up the encouraging work!

  4. Matthew Collinge

    June 25, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    These sound awesome. Now I just need a WP blog.

  5. Andy Kaufman

    June 25, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Hey Benn- Great find on the Great Real Estate plugin.

    (Although I shudder at the prospect of keeping that constantly updated)

  6. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    @Matthew lol okay, you probably do- let me know if I can help…

    @Tyler that is the first plugin I’m working this weekend, if you beat me to it, let us know.

    @Jason I’m happy to do it, I actually enjoy it and you’re welcome to hit the contact form and request topics- I’ll knock’em out for ya- or anyone for that matter!

    @Irina Thanks for that, it’s no easy task putting this stuff together, but the feedback helps!

  7. Benn Rosales

    June 25, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    @andy if you have that many agents/listings you simply have an IT guy/gal do that for you =] Better they be doing that then sitting on Twitter- KIDDING don’t hit me lol

  8. Andy Kaufman

    June 26, 2008 at 12:35 am

    @benn – I knew you were going to say that. 🙂

  9. Mike Taylor

    June 26, 2008 at 5:28 am

    I am looking forward to the WP tutorial as well. Thanks for the list of plug ins.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    June 26, 2008 at 5:33 am

    Awesome list. I especially like the Lojack one 😉

  11. Eric Blackwell

    June 26, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Great list, Benn…gonna be trying a few of these out with some of my bloggers SOON! Will let you know how they roll…Auction and Great Real Estate Plugin look especially interesting…at least on the surface.

  12. Paula Henry

    June 26, 2008 at 8:44 am

    One of the things I love about AG, is the latest updates on cool sites and tools. I, too, anxiously await the tutorial!

  13. Ken Smith

    June 26, 2008 at 9:52 am

    That is a great list. Going to have to play with a few of those.

  14. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 26, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Slick little list. I had not heard of most of those. The copy alerts one could be quite helpful in keeping track of where your information is going.

  15. Jay Thompson

    June 26, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I like the idea of the SMS text update plugin. I installed it on my blog (easy-peasy) and tested it by adding myself and sending an update.

    That was 15 minutes ago and still no message….. Time will tell, and I’ll report back here if I do (or don’t) get the message. For now, I’m off to see if I can figure out what happened. It said it sent it….

    I’d like to be able to place an icon for it in my header alongside the RSS and Email update icons. So far I’ve only been able to get it in as a sidebar widget (just below the ad block in the right sidebar if anyone wants to see what it looks like.)

  16. Jay Thompson

    June 26, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Curious. The original message has never come through. I did get one to come through that had a very short “subject” and a very short “message”. So I played with various lengths of both components. And none of those have come through.

    In fact, even when I repeat the exact message that did come through (and it came through virtually instantly) I’m not getting it.

    I don’t know if it’s a problem with the plugin, my theme, or my carrier (t-mobile).

    But receiving 1 out of 8 test messages, and not being able to replicate the 1 that did work, is troubling….

  17. Jim Gatos

    June 26, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Wooo Heee.. Thanks! I will try some now.. My blog is still in limbo, however…

    They should come up with a “Blog Disclaimer” widget or plugin for Real Estate, LOL..

    Time for me to wear that “propellor hat” again today..

    Thanks
    Jim

  18. Jay Thompson

    June 26, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I’m pulling the SMS plugin for now. Far too inconsistent performance. Would love to hear others experience!

  19. Jim Gatos

    June 26, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    “There are new versions available for Current Issue Widget and Great Real Estate – Featured Listings Widget.”

    and I update and nothing happens… Maybe I’ll pull that out for now…

  20. Benn Rosales

    June 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    WordPress beta is now been released so updating could cause issues. I would go with the release that is tested.

  21. Roger Theriault

    June 26, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    @Jim-#19 – no worries, ignore the update notice. The version number of the widget was incorrectly set to 0.1 instead of 1.0 and WordPress is just too darned smart for its own good some times. It will be fixed in the next release (which you’ll hear about when the main plugin asks to upgrade, and which will come with some more features). And Current Issue shouldn’t have been in version 1.0.

  22. JIm Gatos

    June 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Hello,

    Is there a wordpress plugin that can take a small jpeg or whatever and make it a clickable link? I am trying to put a little image on my blog so people can click on it and get my mls page. I tried this with a text widget and I don’t know how to do it…

    Is any of what I said make sense? LOL.

    Thanks
    Jim

  23. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    June 27, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Jim, I don’t know of a plugin that does that, but here is the basic html code that you will need:

    If this doesn’t make sense, you have my email, I’m glad to go into more detail 🙂

  24. Jim Gatos

    June 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you.. I’ll email you if I can’t do it.. tommorow..

    Jim

  25. Mark

    November 15, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I came here hoping that I’d find an extensive tutorial on Great Real Estate plugin since I was having trouble with editing the templates and displaying it correctly having so no knowledge on php. Anyways, its a good read. 🙂

  26. Jason Thomas

    December 24, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Also check out the Real Estate Search Portal plugin from RealShout realshout.com/wordpress-real-estate-plugin.php. Allows brokers and agents to have a search portal that captures leads similar to how IDX works. No manual entry and its free.

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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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