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Webinars – What Products Work



Is there ever a time when it would be convenient to communicate with a client online? Consider some of the following resources when choosing an electronic conference room. An ECR is a platform where you can communicate digitally over the Internet with your client.

Real estate is about relationships. Whether on or off line, Be clear about:
•    The services you will offer
•    Your expectations of your client
•    Technology provides a written record

Lets review some products that may work for your business.

To get started you may want to consider one to one products  or peer to peer distance tools –  that allow you to use a webcam, speak through your computer and have the ability to share files and sometimes share screens. You can start with one of the common chat programs like Yahoo, MSN or Skype that you use.

Your client needs an account with whatever product you use. Once they are connected as a friend you can share webcams, files and call their computer directly. You will need good speakers or a headset. A USB headset is very affordable and some popular brands include Logitech and Plantronics.

A brand newcomer is TokBox. Tokbox allows you to aggregate all your instant message lists into one place and then speak to any one of them. They support, Googletalk, IRC, Yahoo, AIM, MSN and others.  All of these products are FREE!

Then there is Oovoo. ooVoo is FREE video calling. The people you want to connect to don’t have to download oovoo to see you on the video call. You can have up to six people  and their webcams on the screen at the same time. I am told the video quality is quite good.

A more sophisticated and probably more practical system is called a One to Many Platform – This is when you may need to hold an online meeting with more than two people. The most popular platforms include but are not limited to:

  1. Webex
  2. GoToMeeting
  3. Acrobat Connect (Free)
  4. Microsoft Live Meeting
  5. ILinx
  6. Elluminate
  7. DimDim (Free)
  8. Yugma (Free)

If you want a FREE product and you have small meetings (3 people max) consider Adobes’ Connect Now.
You can meet live over the web and share your screen with anyone. You will have your own customized URL that is always available. Every account includes free audio conferencing or VOIP. You can create these meeting on the fly — just click the phone icon and select Adobe Conference Number. You will see a text box with the call-in numbers as well as the meeting ID number. There is no charge for the service, however, long distance phone charges may apply.

Check it out at

GoToMeeting is also a very cost effective way to present, demonstrate and meet all you want – for one low flat fee. Start with a single organizer account which provides you with unlimited online meetings with up to 15 attendees.

You can start or schedule a meeting from the icon in your system tray or Mac dock icon. Choose between VoIP and phone conferencing or allow both options for audio.  The neat thing is that participants don’t have to sign up to join your meeting – they just click an email link or enter the meeting ID online.

Give presentations,  collaborate on projects or provide training – right from your desktop.

The best part in my humble opinion is that you have the option to record the screen and dialog for risk management purposes. Consider a prerecorded listing presentation to send to a prospective client.

What tools can you Use in the Electronic Conference Room? Most products allow you to display the following items:

•    Power point presentation
•    PDF files can be displayed
•    Virtual tours and videos can be shown
•    Surfing a web site.

I offer an indepth webinar on how to use webinars in your business. If your association or company is interested, contact me!

Amy is a national technology speaker who can inspire, train and help people implement technology strategies into their business. To find out about her training, coaching or webinars visit her website at

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  1. Bob

    February 9, 2009 at 9:32 pm is another option.

  2. Damon Billian

    February 9, 2009 at 11:45 pm


    Just wanted to clarify something about Tokbox video conferencing…

    1. Only the person that initiates the conference needs an account (can send the url to people via IM, email or Twitter).
    2. The conference feature can easily handle 20-25 people in the video conference.

    Thanks for the mention!

  3. Robin Taylor Roth

    February 10, 2009 at 1:28 am

    You missed the “Cadillac” of ECRs, Amy: Saba-Centra. Special pricing promotion this month, too.

    I used Centra for 8 years, before Realogy moved to WebEx, and hope to get back to it – soon!

  4. Sarah

    February 11, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Nice list, though I really would not consider GoToMeeting cost effective when it costs $40 a month and other solutions are free or next to free. I went with Yugma because I can pay for the months when I need the extra features but I can use the free service the rest of the time.

  5. Andrew Donnelly

    February 16, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Hi Amy,
    Have you used Mikogo? It’s a free desktop sharing tool that allows you to share your screen in real-time over the Web. Ideal for online meetings, presentations, teaching, remote support, and more. Very easy to use and get started. No need for your meeting participants to install the software, nor do they need an account.
    Feel free to contact me if you are interested in further info.


    Andrew Donnelly
    The Mikogo Team

  6. Diana Brunner

    February 19, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Amy,

    Very informative. Thanks! I am just getting ready to begin hosting live educational real estate seminars in NJ, and I am hoping to then integrate them to be online as well. This is a big head start! :o)

    Warm Regards,
    Diana Brunner
    NJ Real Estate Broker

  7. Amy Chorew

    February 20, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Diana – if you need help, let me know.

    I will try out
    thanks for the info!

  8. Jasmin

    April 27, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Hi Amy,

    have you used TeamViewer (
    TeamViewer establishes connections to any PC or server all around the world within just a few seconds. You can remote control your partner’s PC as if you were sitting right in front of it.
    With TeamViewer you can chose between remote control, presentation, file transfer or VPN and all that is free for pivate use.
    For more information you can go on our homepage.

    Best regards,
    TeamViewer Team

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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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