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Seeing the good in the bad and using negative energy as fuel



Both “Bad” and “Good” at the same time

It’s good to be self-aware. We can change ourselves and our behavior for the better if we’re aware of what needs changing.  But I don’t think it’s healthy to beat ourselves up dwelling on how crappy we feel our Personal Demons, and the wars we wage them.

Once we’re aware of a problem, it’s better to focus on fixing the problem then wallowing in it. But this is hard to do.

It seems its human nature to wallow in regret.  I’ve found that I wallow less, feel better, and move forward faster when I find the “Good” in the “Bad”.

A personal example of a “Bad”

So, I’ve been working on a project for about three years now.  I finally finished and now it’s time to launch and promote.  Here’s the “Bad”.  I find myself obnoxious over-bearing in its promotion.  I find myself going overboard to the floorboard.  Like I do with most things.  And this is my problem.  Obsessing is a Personal Demon.  I’m aware of it.  I’m working on improving my behavior.

Working on my behavior means I self-check myself by asking myself, “Why do you press so hard, Ken?”  And the answer, if I’m being honest with myself is this, “Because you’re needy Ken. Because other people’s opinion of you affects how you fell about yourself.”  Ugh!  This is another Personal Demon of sorts, craving approval from others (external), instead of being comfortable and confident in who and what I am. (internal).  This cartoon from Hugh MacLeod comes to mind.  I believe this about all of us, but believing it and living it are two different things.  Moving forward.

I feel bad about my obsessiveness and neediness.  I don’t want to be that “needy guy” who looks to others for self-worth.  The first step to correcting a behavior problem is being aware that there is a problem.  So, since I’m aware of it, I’m working on changing it.  But in the mean time, feeling “Bad” about this particular problem (and other Personal Demons I wrestle with), isn’t healthy or good for me.  It’s negative energy.

What I’ve learned to do is  take the negative energy from a “Bad”, and use it as fuel to move forward and improve.

I’m having success with this by seeing the “Good” in the “Bad”.  This doesn’t mean the “Bad”, is OK.  No sir.  Seeing the “Good” in the “Bad” helps me wallow less, and focus on change.

Here’s how I learned to see both sides.

The “Good” in the “Bad”

I was sharing this very story (about my overbearing promotion and the realization confirmation that I’m needy) with my wife Robyn.   She listened patiently.   Then told me that she thought that I should see the “Good” in the “Bad”.  This point of view didn’t make sense to me, and I said so.

She said, “You should be thankful!  Those Personal Demons fuel you to do what you’ve done.  Without it, you may have never started your project, or finished it.  There are lots of good things you’ve done that never would have been done without amped up motivation.  You need to see the “Good” in the “Bad”.  She went on to say that I should be thankful I’m a motivated person and beating myself up was a waste of time.  Negative energy is destructive, unless you use it as fuel to get where you want to go.

When she put it like that, I got it.  I believe it.  This perspective allows me be self-aware of an undesirable behavior, and strive to better myself, with out self-abusing myself by feeling “Bad” about the past, or the inevitable, and hopefully infrequent, realtime stumble .  This see the “Good” in the “Bad” approach is healthy and it works for me.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you because if on occasion, like I do, you’re aware of your Personal Demons, and your battle with them sometimes has you feeling “Bad”, if you can find the “Good” in your “Bad”, you can transform the negative energy into positive energy.  As a result, you’ll feel better about yourself, and the changes your working on will happen faster.

It’s working for me, I bet it works for you too.

Thanks for reading and all the best. Cheers.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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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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