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Everything you need to know to get started on the ‘book, you can learn at AG

What is Facebook? Why do you need to be on it ? Isn’t it just a huge time waste ? Can you actually generate revenue on it?

Facebook is a social networking platform developed by a fraternity brother of mine from Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg. It was restricted to students from specific colleges, but expanded to various ‘work’ networks, and now is open to all who register.

You need to be on facebook because all of your clients are on it, and more and more people are using it to fill needs and wants.

I just met with a new client yesterday who invests in older homes with character in the Kitchener city core. She has stopped all forms of print advertising – for tenants and properties – and is now advertising exclusively on facebook (which is not where we met incidentally – she reads my Kitchener Real Estate Investment blog) and kijiji.

You need to be on facebook, but you need to be on facebook purposefully. This brings us to “Isn’t it just a huge time waste?”

Let me paraphrase Henry Ford and say: Whether you think you it is, or think it isn’t, you’re right.

My disclaimer is that most people treat facebook as a giant productivity hole, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Let me explain what the wasteful do on facebook: They spend time turning friends into zombies; they have food fights; pillow fights; street races; happy hours; horoscope trivia ; sexy, drunk photos of them; not-so-sexy drunk photos etc. The list goes on and on and, sadly, on.


So… how do you use facebook purposefully ? Build your profile with your target client or market in mind.

Take a look at my profile (and add me as a friend if you want! Be sure to tell me you were reading AG). You’ll notice it is geared towards my businesses:

Activities: I help people build wealth through smart real estate investments.

I have a Real Estate Business in Kitchener, ON. Information on my Team can be found at

I speak, write & mentor on the side.

Interests: Sarah, Vinnie Chase Bach, Real Estate Development and Investment, Building Relationships, Helping other people achieve their potential, tennis, giving, speaking, writing, Cuban cigars and good scotch, fine living, horticulture, Swiss watches, making money making people money, public speaking

Big Rocks:A happy, healthy family with Sarah;Help my friends, family and clients build real wealth; A financial wall around my family that nothing can break through; $10 Million annual profit; Donate $10 Billion; Build our investment brokerage up to managing $300,000,000 in assets within 5 years

Ben, Jeff and Mark

When someone reads my profile, they get a pretty good idea of who I am, what I like, what’s really important to me, and what I do.

They can watch my youtube videos, read my blog posts, read my friend’s blog posts, see pictures I’ve taken (like this great one of me, Jeff Reitzel – The Millionaire Father, and Mark Victor Hansen) and browse groups I’m a member of (Advanced Tip #1 – Start your own facebook group! Great title’s are “Pugstussle Texas Real Estate Investment Opportunities” or “Call Jake when You Buy and Sell a Home is Tuskalooloo” etc).

Every time I put on a Real Estate Investment workshop I advertise it on Facebook, and I always have people signing up from this platform.

Every time I film a workshop, the clips go on facebook and hundreds and hundreds of people watch them. Leverage is a wonderful thing!

Every time I appear in the media I upload the picture or scanned document to Facebook, and I start getting ‘hits’ on it; people telling other people about it.

I recently appeared in Canadian Real Estate magazine immediately following the lovely Ivanka Trump, and I scanned the whole article into my profile. Now friends, clients and colleagues can see it, read it, and know what an expert I am 🙂

What happens if you don’t take care to build a professional looking profile ?

There is one Broker / Manager of a real estate company here in Waterloo region who currently has this up on his profile: “John is a High School Stoner.”

Seriously. Name changed, and brokerage withheld since I’m sure the Corporate head offices wouldn’t appreciate it so much…

Now, I’m not making a judgement call about what Dieter may or may not enjoy in his free time… I’m simply suggesting it’s not something that AG readers would include in their profile.

If you don’t want a client to read it, delete it, or better yet, don’t put asinine stuff up in the first place.

Everyone who deals with you today Googles you, and most will Facebook you too. Make sure you like what they’ll see. (You do Google yourself, don’t you ?)

Last question – Can I Make Some Kesef From Facebook?

ABSOLUTELY. I use Facebook as a platform to push my message out to people, and it’s been very effective for me. Most of my clients are on facebook, and I have met clients who found me through facebook.

When it comes to online lead generation, nothing compares to the power of a blog. Facebook doesn’t deliver probable investment leads into my inbox every day, but it does give me an additional platform from which to broadcast my content to thousands of people across the world.

Get on the ‘book today. Reach out to me and your fellow AG bloggers for help. We’re all pretty smart, and most of us are on it.

How are YOU using Facebook for your business ? Are you productive, or a procrastinator?

Let us know in the comments!

Benjamin Bach is a REALTOR with Keller Williams Realty in Kitchener Waterloo, Canada (home of the Blackberry) and shows people how they can avoid a mediocre retirement by building wealth through smart Real Estate Investments. You can find out more at

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  1. Brian Block

    March 8, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Thanks for sharing this guide to productivity on Facebook. It is well-written and very pointed. I joined the Book a few months back at the urging of some friends, but haven’t seen much use for it and rarely log on. People are constantly throwing drinks, vampire biting, etc. and I didn’t see the point. I’ll look into revamping my profile and use of the site.

    Appreciate the advice.

  2. Benjamin Bach

    March 8, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Hey Brian
    Thanks for the kind words, and I’d love to see what you do with your profile – I’m going to add you right now

    One thing I’ve recently seen people do on facebook is buy people (?!?!?!) – like, “Dieter just bought Steve for $51”

    Besidies the conotations of buying and selling people… a tragedy still occuring in the world…. it’s just plain stupid. People can waste 24 hours on facebook. But people can also profit!

    Now that you know the distinction, you can join the Profitable Facebookers. Welcome!

  3. Missy Caulk

    March 8, 2008 at 7:44 am

    My profile is strickly business too, although I have my kids as friends on mine. Some of their friends have sent friend requests, but I don’t want all those teen photos on there. I have both my blogs RSS in there and all my listings. I do get some emails on the rentals from Students at U.M. Both nothing as come of it yet. I’ll go ad you as a friend.

    I had to stop all the fun stuff there, Christmas about did me in….

  4. Benjamin Bach

    March 8, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Hey Missy

    I usually make this point, but my profile isn’t strictly business, by any means. I have my Dogbook up there, favourite music, a quote from Johnny Drama (Entourage), about 100 books I’m reading, and I post things that I find personally interesting too. I also have an outrageous list of watches I want. If you’re into watches, have a look, let me know what you think 🙂

    I am a firm believer in mixing personal and business; I’m friends with many of my clients (or “frients” as I call them). For me, letting people meet me, both the business Ben and the personal Ben (is there a difference? If you’re genuine, can there be a difference?) helps build relationships.

    Missy, have you tried starting messaging friend and asking if they know anyone looking to buy, sell or invest? A Keller WIlliams agent I was speaking to in Toronto recently received 2 referrals after messaging a few of his friends.

    Happy ‘booking!

  5. Missy Caulk

    March 8, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Well, mine is NOT totally boring….came across that way. I will definitely give the text a try, what a great idea. I just didn’t want all my kids friends drinking with no shirts on. LOL

  6. Bob

    March 8, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Ben, this was quite valuable. I have been wondering how I was going to use Facebook in a manner that worked for me.

  7. Benjamin Bach

    March 8, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Thanks Bob – please share what you’re going to implement!

  8. Toronto lofts

    March 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Good article Benjamin! I am working for Toronto Royal LePage, but I use Facebook just personally. I have feeling, that Facebook is a bit overwhelmed by useless applications and spam – everybody is sending some gifts and stupid invitations. I am not sure how is this community spread in Canada (or Toronto), but thank you, I will check it out. Maybe there really could be some interesting opportunities for realtor!

  9. Bob

    March 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Mot sure myself, but I will let you know. The idea of the bigger picture of who I am both business wise and personally, as you have done, is the path I’ll follow. I didn’t earlier because I always assume no one would really care.

  10. Benjamin Bach

    March 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Bob, we live for human interaction. Let people meet you.

  11. Faina Sechzer

    March 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I loved your post and you make interesting points. I don”t have Facebook account. My teens say they don’t want to be embarrassed:) Your post is making me reconsider. I am usually reluctant to “push” myself on my friends, so it’s a delicate balance. I’ll find you, once I am there.

  12. Eric Bouler

    March 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Enjoyed the post. I just got on Face in the last month or so. One of my present clients made me one of his friends. He is a doctor doing his speciality in New Orleans. One of my past cleints found me so I know people are looking. I have not finished but will gear mine to my field of real estate. Its all in the future.

  13. Benjamin Bach

    March 9, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks Eric! I look forward to seeing what your profile looks like when you’re done. Don’t forget to add me! Search for “Benjamin Bach” and click the cartoon!

  14. ForexTrader

    March 12, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Really valuable post. I am quite new on Facebook and have used it mainly to keep in touch with friends and family overseas and find old friends. However, I can see a potential for developing business relationship and find prospective clients or at least people with an interest in trading as well. I’ll put some more time aside to explore this venue along with MySpace and others.

  15. paul johnston

    December 30, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    i’ve used facebook for quite a while, but primarily as a social tool – keeping in touch with old friends and whatnot. but it’s amazing how many of my current and past clients have become “friends” – so it just seems to work virally. very interesting

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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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