Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate #5:
Use Blogging for Referrals and Networking.
That’s right … agent-to-agent business baby!
Use Blogging to Secure Referrals from other Agents
Just like home buyers and sellers, agents ALSO like referring their clients to people they know. And what better way to get to know someone than by reading their blog.
How many times have you had a client that you needed to refer out and it was like throwing a dart blindly into the night? I don’t care how many crsabrgri clubs you belong to. Nor do I care how wonderful your company is. Referring your client to someone that you do not know is always a sketchy situation, because your reputation is on the line if that agent winds up being an idiot. (And we all know that there are a “few” idiots out there…)
Personally, I now have a iron-clad list of agents from all over the nation (and Canada) that I would refer business to when I had someone looking to move to their area. I have a blogroll in my head that I can reference at anytime, anyplace. This internal blogroll was created from countless hours over the past couple years reading these agents’ posts and communicating with them through comments in various places. Most of these agents I have never even met in person, and some of them I have never even spoken to on the phone! But I trust them and trust them with my clients.
Since I have started blogging, I average 1 blog-related referral (either coming or going) every couple months. People who read my blog are confident in the service level that I will provide and confident that I will take care of the person (or people) they send my way.
In order to become the referral source for your area, through blogging, you will need to do the following:
- Write informative blog posts about how you helped your clients in various situations. Be careful not to include personal information or confidential stuff. But there are PLENTY of stories to share about how we help our clients. The more you share, the better idea other agents will have of the type of agent you are and whether or not you would be a good fit for their client.
- Research your inbound relocation data. Contact the Chamber of Commerce to find out where the majority of your inbound relocation folks come from. From there, find real estate bloggers from that area (those areas) and make a point of visiting their blogs and commenting on them from time to time. Maybe even link to them if appropriate. Bloggers are curious folks by nature (some are down right nosy…) and will check out who you are if you go visit their site. From here, you could build a small friendship and when they get another client looking to relocate to your area, YOU will be their first choice.
- Research your outbound relocation data. Where do folks in your area move to? Find bloggers to connect with in those areas. This will make it MUCH easier for you next time someone asks, “Do you know of a good agent in X?”
If you are a military town, the last 2 will be quite easy…
Use Blogging to Network with Other Professionals
Social networking is more than throwing a sheep at someone on Facebook. More than LOL-ing someone on Twitter. More than saying, “Nice Post” on Active Rain. Social networking gives you the opportunity to build a powerhouse of resources in ALL areas of real estate and related fields.
Through social networking, I have been able to answer questions about weather for folks considering a move somewhere, value on a house far, far away that is being tangled in probate and mortgage information that no one in my area could answer … among other things. My social networks are my real-time encyclopedias for anything I may ever want to know – my upgraded brain expansion that I don’t have to cram into my head.
And it goes beyond real estate. Because of social networking, I now have 3 new favorite artists and a boat-load of new favorite musicians… and the list goes on.
So, don’t be afraid to use your blog to connect with other people in the blogosphere. We are a pretty knowledgeable bunch and love to share what we know (for the most part).
Blogging is more than a tool for connecting directly with clients. Blogging is a way to connect with other agents and other bloggers who can help you and your business in more ways than one.
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: Introduction
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #1 Use Blogging as a Farming Tool
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #2 Answer Real Estate FAQ’s Just Once
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #3 Use Blogging to Become a Niche Expert
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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