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The Power Of Communications - The Stigliano Chronicles

I’ve been committed.

Some of you may remember my quest to become a member of some local and state committees in order to one day work towards a position on a NAR Committee. Of course, I was able to skip past those steps thanks to NAR’s recent decisions to involve some of us that hadn’t quite reached the peaks of qualification, but had passionate voices in the blogging community and beyond (yeah, I’m talking about myself like that – it feels weird).

Today I got an email from SABOR (San Antonio Board Of Realtors®) informing me that my request to be on the Communications Committee had been accepted for 2010. You can imagine my excitement. Two committees in my first attempts at getting on one? Not bad.

Communicate with the masses.

This was my preferred choice of committees for one simple reason: I think there is a lack of communication between our local board and its members. Actually, let me rephrase that – it’s not so much a lack of communication as it is an apathy for the communications. More often than not, I have mentioned something I read in a communication to a fellow Realtor® and they acted as if I were speaking in tongues. As a blogger, communication is a daily part of my life. As a Realtor®, it’s essential. Yet somehow I see a lack of communication from the top of the organization down.

Communication isn’t just about disseminating information either. It’s about the two-way conversation that we all preach as gospel in social media. Whether talking to clients or talking to your local board, it’s all the same. If we’re not communicating, we’re just talking to a brick wall. My mind is already buzzing with ideas to help turn that broadcast into a conversation and I look forward to adding my two cents where I can and learning more from those members who already know the ins and outs of the committee.

An obligatory butt-kissing thank you.

I wouldn’t be in this position without Paula Henry, Jay Thompson, the “Google is a scraper” saga, and AgentGenius. Inspiration and encouragement, and tons of both from each entity. As recently as BlogWorld 2009 I found myself speaking to the likes of Todd Carpenter, Bill Lublin, and Jay Thompson about committee involvement and how by being involved, we could affect the change we all talk about on our blogs. I thank them all for support and inspiration as well.

An open invitation.

As my involvement in these committees progresses, I invite all of you to talk to me about the issues you think are important. Where I can, I will make the case and do what I can to get the message to those that may not see things from our angle. I am not just a committee member – I am a blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, connection making, non-push marketing, sans-hard sell kind of guy and I intend to use that position to show people this side of the fence.

photo courtesy of Gonzopowers

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Joe Spake

    October 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Matt, miraculously, I was appointed to the NAR Communications Committee for 2010, and I am really looking forward to it. Not sure who put in the good word for me, but I have my suspicions.
    Does this mean we will have to wear ties at convention?

  2. Ken Brand

    October 28, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Super cool. Good luck.

    My advice; listen, listen, listen, think dimensionally, present patiently, eat your Wheaties, keep the faith, have fun.

    Cheers Matt

  3. Joe Loomer

    October 29, 2009 at 7:53 am

    …. and the hits just keep on coming!

    Congrats, Matt! One small step for a Matt, One GIANT LEAP for SABOR!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    p.s. Brit wifey, eh? Mom was a Brit, lived there for tad, where’s she from?

  4. Matt Stigliano

    October 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Joe – I was thinking of just dressing up as if it were Halloween. Might as well make an entrance, right?

    Ken – I will definitely follow those guidelines. The first three are super-important and I have already tattooed them across my forearms so that I can look down if I forget.

    Joe – What excites me even more than just getting there is the fact that I set goals (some of the first written goals I ever had in my life) and I’ve been accomplishing them. Not to sound all Tony Robbins on everyone, but it really has helped me visualize where I want to be and to actually take steps to get there.

    My wife grew up in a small village named Grove, which is right outside of Oxford. She lived for quite some time in London, which is where I met her.

  5. Susie Blackmon

    October 29, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Love reading all your great news, and know that you will be a great asset to both organizations and to your many fans.

  6. Rob McCance

    October 31, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Dood, rock!

    Congrats.

    Are you planning to use those two large dish antennas to git-r-dun?

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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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