You are not alone
In a down economy, it is tough to stay focused on work and it is easy to get discouraged when deals fall apart or you’re surrounded by negativity, but you’re not alone. The first step of overcoming any obstacle is knowing the cause of the obstacle so it can be dealt with.
The Time Management Ninja has outlined the five reasons he sees people not giving 100 percent and while the list pertains to personal life and work, we’d like for you to think of it in terms of what obstacles you may personally have in doing your best at work:
- You Are Too Comfortable – We all like to live in our comfort zones. Perhaps, you have become too comfortable. It is only by going beyond our boundaries that we learn, live, and expand our experience.
- You Have a Bad Attitude – A bad attitude can impact your entire world. Don’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude to keep you going and lift your efforts. If your attitude is lacking, find someone who has a positive outlook. The feeling is contagious.
- You Don’t Care – Not caring about your job or work can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have encountered many people like this in the corporate world. When they begin a downward slide, they don’t realize that it is because they stopped caring and thus stopped performing. If you do not have passion for what you are doing, then by all means go find something else for which you do.
- You Are Scared of Failure – Kids like to think that their parents, and adults in general are fearless. (When in reality is it the other way around.) When was the last time you failed? Is fear of failure keeping you from trying your best?
- You Aren’t Hungry – What do you want to achieve? What do you want to accomplish? If you don’t have goals, you may not have anything to give 100% of you effort towards. Make sure you have aspirations that stretch your limits.
Five more reasons
When talking exclusively about your work and career, there are more paths we end up on that take us away from being focused and giving our work our all.
- Personal stressors – if your life is out of control or out of balance personally, it can have a deep impact upon your work. If finances or tight, a new baby is coming, a divorce is pending, a spouse is ill, a child is in trouble, it is difficult to give 100 percent to anything – distractions can be horribly destructive to professional momentum.
- Forgetting to visualize success – this sounds cheesy, but hear us out… if you can see the finish line of your career, a project or just the day itself, but you fail to visualize the successful outcome, you lose focus of why you are running the race in the first place.
- You’re burnt out – you’re worn down at work, you’ve taken on too much, you’ve said yes too many people or you’ve set poor short term goals for yourself that would get yourself to that finish line. You may be at an entry level job wondering why you’ve been there for six years and people keep being promoted over you or simply performing better than you have.
- A bad environment – you have a new boss that is a jerk, your clients are all high strung and frustrated, you’re headspun because of layoffs all around you, or everyone in your office is negative which is contagious. You don’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but a bad environment can be the cinder block tied to your ankle, pulling you underwater.
- Recovering after failure – you didn’t close that last deal, your income fell considerably this year, you’re the worst performer in your office, but dangit, you’re trying but there’s this huge obstacle in your way. You don’t fear failure, you’ve just experienced failure which is extremely demotivating because the outcome didn’t meet your expectations which causes a need for healing time.
How to get past these ten obstacles
The cure to all of these obstacles and the way to get back on track and motivated is to get back on message. Think about why you do what you do, remember that invigorating feeling you got when you first started your job, and consider how you’re helping people around you. Do not be deterred by your surroundings, accept them for what they are and get back on message. You’re called out of a meeting because your kid is sick? Go pick them up and come back to work with a smile. Coworkers gossiping about so-and-so getting foreclosed on? Smile and walk away, get back to work.
The first step to overcoming your obstacles is to recognize them, know you’re alone, remember why you got into this career in the first place, and get back on message. You can give 100 percent again!
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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