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LinkedIn Goes Mobile



LinkedIn Mobile

LinkedIn, the extremely popular professional social networking site, has announced a new mobile version of their site, complete with an iPhone version.

Simply point your mobile browser to

I can personally verify the site works, loads quickly and looks great on my BlackBerry Pearl.

It’s as easy as can be

For those of you who may not yet have completed your profiles on LinkedIn (or EGADS, haven’t even signed up yet), I strongly encourage you to start getting your profile setup. The great thing about the site is it will completely guide you in the steps necessary to complete your profile and you can do it at your own pace.

Another social network?

I have worked with several Realtors and lenders who have received quite a bit of referral/relocation business due to their LinkedIn profiles. So for maybe half an hours worth of work, you can open yourself up to some nice business that may have eluded you previously.

It also allows you to build a great referral network easily. I personally only have 35 direct connections, but I can contact all of their direct connections, giving me access to 2,200+ people. Not bad.

If you need help getting setup or have success stories, let us know.

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Tyler

    February 25, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I love linked in. I can trace multiple clients that have originated from the site. I also like playing the part of ‘connector’ and having a LinkedIn account only reinforces the fact that you enjoy helping others build their businesses.

    I’m glad that you’re promoting it Nick.. it’s a great way to be more transparent and more importantly – another way to be findable!

  2. Daniel Rothamel

    February 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    LinkedIn is a great tool, and probably one of the most under-utilized social networks for many people. Sure, it doesn’t have the hip-factor of a Facebook or a Twitter, but it can deliver tons of value.

    This post is a good reminder for me to update my profile.

  3. Benn Rosales

    February 25, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    The greatest use for LinkedIn for real estate is for those that come highly educated or extensive real estate backgrounds to set themselves apart. Used as an online resume this tiny link on your website can save you the problem of overselling yourself and qualifications. I don’t think you need 10 years of college to be valuable, sometimes time in the business and related professions is just as valuable.

    The other greatest benefit of LinkedIn is the networking feature and ability to to learn how you are connected to other people. The social value this brings to you can lead to great referrals not only to you, but from you to others in other business communities.

    As a disclaimer, I do not use linkedin, but probably will very shortly.

  4. Brian Columbus

    February 25, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I have a LinkedIn profile and participate in a few Groups. It’s interesting to see who-knows-who, but I wouldn’t call it a quality biz-dev tool for the real estate industry. It’s more of a tombstone site than a community.

  5. Toby & Sadie

    February 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Have to agree with Brian. I’ve had some fun “playing” with LinkedIn but haven’t seen the benefit of it from a business stand-point. It shows that I know a lot of people, but don’t we all?

  6. Nick

    February 26, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Brian & Toby-
    I’ve actually known a few Realtors now who have received several referrals, typically from corporate relocations, due to their LinkedIn profile. Intel is huge in my area and many managers are almost requiring their teams to sign up and create profiles, so that is A) a huge company and B) a lot of people that networking with can prove beneficial. According to LinkedIn, Portland has 11,000+ members, which seems like a pretty good opportunity to get to know some people for free.

  7. Tim

    June 24, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for this information, as a result I just joined linkedin. It’s quite easy to join and nice process, actually it seems like facebook but more on a professional level, very impressive!

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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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