One Righteous WordPress Tutorial
People ask me every day how hard this is and often ask, should they? We’ll I cannot answer the second question, but hard? No way. So we’ve decided that we’re going into the how to business to help some of you noobs (new folks like yourself) catch up!
You probably already have a domain name and you either want to have you blog attached to your existing website, or maybe you want a stand alone domain that is totally separate from your existing website. Either way, I’m writing this from the perspective that you want to add your blog to an existing site and sexy domain name.
If you haven’t purchased a domain, have a hosting account, and don’t even know where to begin, I recommend starting at Bluehost.com. Everyone has a choice, but for the beginner, the control panel, cost of the domain and a private domain (allows you to keep your number and email private from spam bots) availability for no additional fee makes $10.00 a year per domain pretty inexpensive. Their hosting anually will run you about $75 as a flat fee. Host as many domains on the same account for the same $75 bucks and $10 per domain, not bad. This makes for a great way to get into creating individual listing pages later, but for now, we’re starting with wordpress. Tell BlueHost I sent you and you’ll receive a $0 discount, yay you!
What are some other good reasons to use Bluehost? WordPress recommends them, I recommend them, and because it just makes sense for you as a beginner. It’s expandable, upgradeable, non-intrusive and won’t drink your last beer when you’re not looking. Perfect, right??
Let’s Get Started
(login to your account) Note the always easy to find home button in the top left corner, you’ll use it more than a few times. Note all of that free swag in the in top two boxes! We know how you Realtors love the Swag- but in this case, hands off, that’s the reward for completing this class!
Let’s all assume we have a domain name now purchased on bluehost.com and want to plan for the future. We’ll want the base of the domain www.agentgenius.com to remain open for use with our primary website, so I’m creating tutorial.agentgenius.com (You may want to create blog.yoursite.com or city.yoursite.com- skys the limit!) for our use here. If this will be your first purchase of a domain, create your account and buy it here- you will thank me for this later!
Creating the subdomain
Simply locate the icon ‘subdomains’ on the control panel after logging in. Once there, enter in the first box the new name of the sub domain in the first empty box. Leave the next box (document root) blank as it will populate itself when you click ‘create.’ Give this a minute as it can take a few seconds (take a drink of your beer here, and maybe have a smoke- we’ll wait). Once complete, click the box in the upper top right to return to the control panel after verifying the new subdomain is listed in the list below.
Setting up WordPress
Yay, you’re so close, can you feel it? Great! Locate the Fantastico icon (shown above) on the control panel main page, click it. I also advise having another drink of that beer and change the channel on the television.
Once here you see a long list of free user platforms including WordPress. Simply click on WordPress, and then click the New Installation icon as I’ve demonstrated above. Again, take a look at all that free Swag to the left… ooooh so sexy! Hands off bub. We ain’t finished yet.
Filling in the blanks
After clicking new installation, you’re presented with the list of domains you own, including the new ‘blog.yoursite.com.’ Select the domain you wish to install WordPress on. Below that, you’ll see it asks you to answer a few administration questions (oh yeah, WordPress can handle it, just answer the question Mike!). Skip the ‘Install in directory’ box and move below it. Here you will place basic login information that you’ll need later to login to your new WordPress site. You’ll also need to fill in your email infomation so write all of this down (WordPress can be as bitchy as that receptionist you almost back slapped at the office last week. Easy there Betty.).
Simply click the ‘Install Wordpres’ button and a new page will appear offering you an opportunity to email all of your login information, including the new admin page to log into your new site. As I demonstrate below, it is very simple and you should save this information for later until you’re comfortable getting in and out of your new WordPress site. Don’t you love those moments when you know you know your damn password but what in the hell did you make up as a screenname this time? Ugh… Compose/Moving on.
WordPress is installed and your site is now live!
Oh God, now what?!
Navigate to your new site! In this case it’s tutorial.agentgenius.com. So bookmark us and we’ll update you via RSS as we go along in this process!
If you have questions on setting up your WordPress, leave a message there in the comments- we’ll see if we can walk you through it. I’ve also set up an additional secret WordPress if you’re interested in logging in and looking around at the administration side.
Why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be drinking that beer in celebration and yelling at your husband to get your damn purse so you can get your blog on? Yes… I believe it’s that time.
Next, I’m going to show you the backend- not my backend, but the WordPress backend and how to get your own unique theme set up and the in and out of how to manage it. You’ve got 24 hours! So hurry up!
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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:
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.
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 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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