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Every Blog Post Doesn’t Need to be a Home Run




Sometimes Writing is Tough

There are a lot of reasons for not writing – and people all over the Internet write about them and how to overcome them.  In fact, one of the great “fall backs” when you don’t have anything to write about is writing about your difficulties.(Though I would never do anything so cheesy)

The problem is obvious – you get distracted, you get burned out,  you get writer’s block, or sometimes you feel like you don’t have a new idea. But I realized recently that I sometimes have a different problem when I write here. I get paralyzed by the fear of writing something that is less than important.

AgentGenius has been the site of some really great discussions, and some of them were pretty weighty – and the site has broken some important real estate news, in fact I had the pleasure of doing that once and it rocked – I still remember the excitement of getting the news, typing the post,  and knowing that we would be breaking out with it before any of the more traditional news sources. And with the bar set so high, it is often tough to write something more mundane because you feel the need to be outstanding.

It Doesn’t Need to be

Last week I participated in a twitversation with Jim Marks of Virtual Design. Jim asked a few people to take part in a twitter conversation which asked the question “What would you tell a REALTOR whi is new to blogging to help him/her write compelling copy?” The idea was crowdsourcing a Blog Post, and for 15 minutes, all of the participants gave their suggestions in 140 character bursts. A great idea, but not the point of this post (though it is a great thing to do if you have a problem finding a post content) One of the tweets from Kris Berg held an epiphany for me.  “Don’t obsess. World peace doesn’t hinge on your post. (Now I am off to get a haircut. See? I’m not obsessing.)”

As the light went on in my mind, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. No longer bearing the responsibility for World Peace, I was able to just sit down and write a post – hoping that it would be interesting to someone.

Oh yeah, there was a second tweet that reminded me of the “write” priority “Write about things you read, Write about what you think, Write about what you agree or disagree with, BUT WRITE!” The genius who helped me through that part of the process – (I blush) was me.

I guess sometimes you just need to remember what you already know.  So get out there and just write something. You need to be part of the conversation if you want to have any input.

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  1. Joe Loomer

    July 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Great post Bill – went through this very thing over the last month. I came to the exact same conclusion – just write. I had a vision of some extravagant market report that would have ended up so long no one would have gone past the first two or three paragraphs. When I realized my target audience was PROSPECTS – I condensed it dramatically and ended up knocking it out in no time. JUST WRITE.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. LesleyLambert

    July 29, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Boy haven’t I learned that the hard way! It always strikes me as interesting that some blogs I thought would be very interesting to people get NO activity and others that were a whim are busy.

    You just never know!

  3. Kelly

    July 29, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Great point. Just this morning I was thinking whether a post I’d written would be interesting enough to publish or not. And your post has given me the answer: I’ll be publishing it later today.

    Let me add one more thing to the interesting points you rise: sometimes we think that something is not particularly important to be put in our blog, but it eventually turns out that some of our readers feel identified with it and enjoy it. Just for this reason it’s been worthwhile to write it, even if you initially had doubts.

  4. IleenieWeenie

    July 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Yeah, I’m still procrastinating on writing my very first blog post ever. Stage fright I guess. Thanks for the reminder that I don’t have to turn to the perfectionism monster every time I set out to try something new. If I did that I’d never do anything at all!

  5. Matt Thomson

    July 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    This is one of the best thoughts that I’ve read. Consistency is the key to blogging. I average about 1 per day (355 per year), and most of them are just basic or photos.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    July 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    What I find interesting is it’s many of the veterans who are struggling with this these days.

  7. Bill Lublin

    July 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Joe – Have I told you how much I appreciate your thoughtful comments and regular readership? If not, allow me to do that now. As you can see this was one of those “just do it” posts – glad it seems to have hit a chord…

    Lesley; Always makes me scratch my head too – amazing how little we know about what people want to read – sometimes we’re just too busy “being legends in our own minds”. I did a quick post of phones a little while ago that got a ton of comments – and last night I was with a blogger who is very well known nationally who told me that they sometimes get fewer comments because their topics are often too intellectual – go figure…

    Kelly; Glad if I got you to publish that post – I’ll bet it rocks!

    IleenieWeenie – If you’ll email me whenever you get that post written – I would love to read it.. and I promise a comment 😉

    Matt – I am in awe – but you do have the key – people love content, and content is whatever you contribute whenver you contribute it – great job!

    Mr Dalton my dear friend – so nice to see you – and I feel the issue , but maybe because we get in our own way.. thank goodness there are always friends around to help us get right!

  8. teresa boardman

    July 30, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Lucky for me with over 1500 posts on one blog alone I gave up on the idea that each would be OK a couple of years ago. With each post I think I have written my last word but by the next day I have some idea. If I could give some advice . . I probably wouldn’t. I suspect that writing a blog isn’t the same for everyone and we all have to find what works and when we do we can at least write something every day.

  9. Amy Cesario

    August 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for the reminder and good advise Bill!

  10. BawldGuy

    August 2, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Hitting homers on a daily basis is draining in every sense of the word. Especially true when you learn that the majority of your posts are indeed, not homers.

    Most hits are singles, and that works too. 🙂

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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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