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It’s GO Time. Pick A Stick or Choose A Carrot.



The Stick

First Place = Cadillac Eldorado.  Second Place = Steak Knives.  Third Place =You’re A Dud Dude, You’re Fired.

The most epic “Stick Style” sales meeting of all time.  It’s damn fine “Rated R” acting too.  

Glengarry Glen Ross - Sales Meeting, CLICK to Play

Glengarry Glen Ross - Epic Sales Meeting - CLICK to watch. It's R Rated.

Let me ask you, how do you like your coffee?  Ok.  “Stick Style” sucks.  Let’s move on.

The Carrot

The lazy-eyed don’t see it.  The wax-eared won’t hear it.  The dim-witted don’t understand it.  The beaten down won’t believe it.  The defeated don’t care.

For you and I, it’s GO Time!

It’s been painful.  We’ve lost friends, we’ve lost good ones and bad ones.  It’s not easy and they say it’s not over yet, but some say the worst is. Whatever your belief, the next 120 days are critical.  

It appears that seemingly random positive factors are converging and merging, shoving our opportunity tide higher. Swooned mortgage rates and tumbled home prices  have turbo-charged buying power.  The stock market has compressed and now rebounds.  Optimism, confidence, hope and courage are brightening.  TV talking bobble heads report better news.  Curious consumer crowds grow, seeking answers and listing site web traffic burns hotter.  The $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.  Income Taxes are filed, stimulus checks will begin to flow, stimulate and motivate.  Millions are saving by refinancing.  Pent-up demand from postponed desires simmers.  Spring and summer seasonality naturally shoves urgency upward.  Competitors  are sad, weak and limping.

Positive factors are converging and merging.  Do you see, feel and hear it too?

Positive convergence will create accelerating opportunities for the next 120 days.  The gray haze of depression is lifting and more homes will be bought and sold every day.   Bold, swift, consistent and committed action will be rewarded now more than ever.  Now is the time to take action.

It’s Go time!  Time to press, stretch, engage and act.  

We know what we need to DO; Make the calls we’ve avoided.  See the people we’ve postponed.  Reconnect with our suspects and prospects. Connect with our friends.   Ask for referrals. DO the little things. Do the big things.  Do the things we know we should, but haven’t.

Let’s sprint like Olympians for the next 120 days.  Let’s encourage and support each other.  Let’s help ourselves, our clients and each other.  Let’s start today!

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO, GO, GO!

PS.  Need some extra ommppphhhh?  Some inspirational pixie dust?  Watch this video.  I imagine you’ve already seen it, humor me, click and watch it again.  See if you don’t smile brighter, stand taller and walk lighter.

My Friends - It's Time To Burn It Down - Sprint!

Inspirational Pixie Dust - Click to Listen and Smile

Run like wind!

“There are 3 kinds of people – Those who watch what happens, those who wonder what happened and those who make things happen.  Which one are you?”

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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  1. Kathi Frank

    April 20, 2009 at 6:48 am

    The “stick style” of motivation reminds me of what it was like to be in real estate in the 70’s. I’m so glad things have changed.

    Now we are commenting on the prospective client’s “puppy pics” on FaceBook to establish and/or deepen a relationship. Now, that is an improvement.

  2. BawldGuy

    April 20, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Wish I’d written this post, Ken.

    I’ve been tellin’ my son that production the last two quarters of this year for our firm will outshine the last six quarters without breakin’ a sweat.

    Also, and this is key. What you’ve demonstrated with the Susan Boyle video is how, in crunch time, superior expertise trumps all comers. The rest is happy talk.

    Thank you.

  3. Ken Brand

    April 21, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Kathi – Yep…those were the days. It’s light years better these days. Cheers.

    BG – Amen brother. Hauling ass, knowing what others don’t and doing what others won’t works. Rock on.

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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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