Everywhere I go, I hear earfuls of Facebook yadder. It’s a time suck. It’s a tool. It’s the future. It’s a fad. I don’t get it. Who cares. Get a life. I’m an addict. Don’t you work? Etc. You hear it too, right?
Here’s the deal.
In 2010 and beyond, Facebook will be the most important conversation channel, persona differentiator and relationship builder in the history of humans.
Facebook will also render the unimaginative as irrelevant and invisible.
I could be wrong, but I believe Facebook is…
The Most Important Tool Of Our Future
- Given a choice, people choose to engage/hire an agent they know, like and trust. Studies and experience confirm this.
- People remember the names of people/agents they know, like and trust. Common sense and experience confirm this.
- People recommend, refer and hire agents they remember. Observation and experience confirm this.
If 1, 2, and 3 are true, then creating Top Of Mind Awareness as a person who is liked, known and trusted and happens to be a kick-ass real estate agent, is the Golden Key to success. It has always been so.
How do we create Top Of Mind Awareness you might ask? Creating Top Of Mind Awareness requires 3 R things. Repetition, Relevance and Remarkability. Simple to grasp, harder to do. Yesterday we muscled and monologued our Top Of Mind Awareness with direct mail, door knocking, billboarding, TV commercials, telephone calls, print ads and social butterflying at networked gathering like Chamber Of Commerce, Drunko, PTO, etc.. Most of flexing was rude, crude and demeaning.
Today, pointing Facebook properly engages, entertains, enlightens, informs, attracts and nurtures relationships — with permission.
When we comment and engage with FB friends about what they’re sharing, our relevant comments and conversation can be viewed by all their FB Friends. Exponential amplification is possible. Where else is this relevant and exponential engagement and conversation possible?
Of course if you give bad Facebook, it’ll detonate exponentially and turn your Facebook into a hot-mess Faceplant.
The Three R’s and Facebook
In the real world, you can’t be everywhere all the time…duh. In the real world unless you’re physically talking to someone, you have no idea what’s going on in their life (exception = gossip).
On planet Facebook you can be in front of your friends/suspects/prospects wherever they are, at their convenience. We can engage with our Facebook tribe daily. Done properly, with respect and consideration, it’s not spam, awkward, inconvenient, random or demeaning. It’s permission based conversation.
I recommend to my friends that they review the status updates of their FB friends daily – comment, share, encourage, engage and click the “Like” link often. Update your status and share your stuff once or twice daily.
Let’s remember, nobody posts their updates to Facebook hoping that nobody will notice. Human nature screams for attention and an sense of significance. How are we satisfying our friends basic human needs? By commenting, sharing and conversing with others, not focusing on ourselves and sell, sell, selling.
By engaging with my FB friends about things that are happening in their lives, everything we say or share is relevant to them specifically. Our engagement isn’t random it’s relevant and memorable.
According to TechCrunch.com, there are over 250,000,000 million active registered users of Facebook. How many of the 250,000,000 are Realtors? The opportunity to create Top Of Mind Awarness is monstrous. Commenting, sharing and engaging others, specifically about what’s going on their lives, will absolutely make you remarkable. Especially if you’re not shouting and foaming at the mouth about you! Instead, focus all your fizz on smartly smiling, liking, winking, laughing, sharing and hugging the most important person on the planet — them. This behavior is remarkable.
But, let’s beware, just like the real world, if you’re a knuckle-head , this digital mojo can backfire.
Avoid Facebook Faceplants
- Don’t close your mind, scoff, make excuses or ignore the buzz. Do embrace and suckface with Facebook.
- Don’t talk about yourself too much, pretend you’re someone you’re not or Sell, Sell, Sell. Do engage and comment on what others are sharing and share what others are sharing. Oddly, when you make it not about you, and all about them, it becomes all about you.
- Don’t update, comment or drive when you’re drunk or high. Do be respectful, polite, funny, candid and real.
- Don’t Facebook focus on your Realtor friends. Do shower civilians with affection and attention.
- “Use the tool, don’t be a tool.” ~ Sarah Bonert
- Don’t lurk, watch and wallflower. Do share links, photos and videos. Do give credit to others. Do be cool and kind.
- Don’t spend all your time banging around Facebook. Do get offline, out and about. Do use Facebook as the bridge to face-to-face, the most important engagement of all.
Are You Filling Your Facebook Lake Or A Piddling Puddle?
Tomorrow, prospective employers will use the depth and breadth of our Facebook persona and engagement to help them figure out who to choose, refer and recommend. The days of printed personal brochures and previously traditional forms of personal promotion will be history. With Facebook we can fashion our own personal lake of information, engagement, experience and entertainment. The question is, will our lake be deep, wide and fizzy or a piddling puddle of insignificance and boredom?
I say, let’s get started. Fill your lake with fizz, fun, personality and professionalism. What do you say?
That’s My “Suckface With Facebook Today or You’ll Just Plain Suck Tomorrow” story.
And I’m sticking to it.
Get started. Watch. Learn. Open eyes and open ears. Be curious. Share. Conversate. Engage.
Suckface with Facebook today or ignore and invisible your way to nowhere.
Have comments? Suggestions? Tips? Think it’s all poppy-cock? Let’s hear it.
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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