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Not Another Social Network!



It’s funny how our reactions have changed from a few months ago when we receive an invitation to a new social network. I had to share this with you because I am still laughing, but I will keep the identities of the perpetrators private unless they want to come out in the open and confess.

I heard about a new social network on Twitter called and I decided to go check it out. Once I saw it was a PR7 site plus good things were being said, I decided to invite some people to check it out as well. This is when the fun began….without mentioning any names, these are the e-mails I received:

  • Do I have to? What’s it all about?
  • Did you actually send this invite to me or it is one of those virus’s going around?
  • I’m already on there, but I can’t find you. (this one, came with no surprise and happens to be from someone who is EVERYWHERE!, can you guess who?)
  • A video message thanking me (that was really cool btw)
  • Recently you sent me an invitation to a social networking site (I think that’s what it is, I’m not sure). I’m kinda maxed out on more of these kind of sites. I am lagging behind with Facebook, mostly ignore Linked In, Twitter rarely and am hardly on Active Rain even. So I don’t dare join another group. (But I am curious – what was that?)
  • Not another social network!
  • Where do you find the time?

What do you think? Have we reached the peak of social media? The dynamic has certainly changed. I personally don’t mind setting up a profile and checking these sites out, although I have been known to zap a lot of them because I see no benefit whatsoever.

**please note that I know NOTHING about and I have not spent enough time there to give you a good review, so feel free to give me your opinion**

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Lani Anglin

    February 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I don’t think we’ve quite reached the peak yet because there is a LOT of room for improvement in social media networks. There are aspects of each network I belong to that I like and if I could lump them all together, I would have a perfect network, but my idea of a perfect network is not the same as yours or another’s which is why multiple networks will continue to be born and thrive. This is also why we go to the soda fountain for a drink and pick our favorite one- we’re all getting soda from the fountain, just different flavors depending on what our individual idea of perfect is.

    That said, if we go to the soda machine and there are 200 flavors, we’ll just stick to the first one we liked and never vary because oversaturation of choice can cause fatigue. I’d say we have about 10 viable flavors right now and more are being born, but only the test of time will tell how many flavors end up available for our convenient choosing.

  2. Ines

    February 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Lani, you said it perfectly “oversaturation of choice can cause fatigue” – there is sooo much out there and not enough time. I do see a lot of these staying dormant and coming to life in a few months (like what happened to Twitter), or just not making it at all. There’s a saying in Spanish to describe what you just said “cada loco con su tema” – translate that one!

  3. Maureen Francis

    February 11, 2008 at 12:56 am


    YOU invited ME! And you and I are the only ones I think I saw there. Not even Jeff Turner, who is EVERYWHERE….

  4. Steven Stearns

    February 11, 2008 at 6:48 am


    Peak of social media ? – not even close.

    Most Realtors do not even have a website. But not everyone can or should blog-or Twitter-use a social utility, or join an on line community.

    Social medial users -bloggers and others- have to face Realtors and show them there can be success at every entry point with social media marketing.

    As consumers of technology, they will find what is right for them, and utlimately decide what works in their market.

    Steven Stearns

  5. Chris Lengquist

    February 11, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Well, for me, I can only be good at two. l just simply do not have the time nor the inclanation (sic?) to try to be everywhere. I’d rather do 1-2 very good than 4-7 just to have my face there.

  6. Ines

    February 11, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Maureen – Jeff is there (trust me) – I think he went by Jeffrey. Let me know if you find something interesting there.

    Steven – although I do agree with you, it’s funny to see the reaction from others in the industry. And let me add that these others are all hands on bloggers familiar with web2.0 – it shows that new social media sites need to be a bit more creative because not even invitations from trusted sources are working.

    Chris – I think most people are doing just that. But I’ll give you the Twitter example. I joined back in August of 07 and played around with it and didn’t see what it was good for. Then in December I received a couple of messages that it had come alive – The dynamics there are interesting, read this post by Paul Chaney who is trying to figure it out (yes Paul, another plug….you know I love you).
    Twitter observations and conjecture

  7. Jacksonville Real Estate

    February 11, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I am with Chris. There is just not enough time to explore the new social media platforms that come out.

    I think social media has peaked. Beta was better then VHS but people didn’t want to change. Even with no new cost involved, a new social media platform may come out that is better but who has the time to play around with it?

  8. Paul Chaney

    February 11, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Ines, I’ll take any and all plugs! You’re the BEST!!! I heart you too…as well… also. :->

  9. Hi! I'm Rudy from Trulia. Nice to Meet you...

    February 11, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Ines!

    Thanks for the invite. I’m now on board…..

    I’ve been reading Fast Company for years. This should be interesting…..

    Have we reached the peak of social media? I don’t think so. However, for many people, it’s really challenging deciding where and how often to participate.


  10. Steven Stearns

    February 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Rudy-Good to see you here!

    I was in a room full of Realtors when some asked me what the three main mistakes were in blogging and social media.

    I told them: not getting into it soon enough, not having consistency and not being connected.

    Just throwing this out there for everyone.


  11. Hi! I'm Rudy from Trulia. Nice to Meet you...

    February 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Steven!

    I like hanging out with geniuses. It makes me feel good 🙂


  12. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm



    While the first two are potentially within grasp a new blogger when is ‘soon’ – soon enough? Are all bloggers new to the starting with assumption that that they have 30% chance of failure? What mm/dd/yyyy was the cut off?

  13. Jay Thompson

    February 11, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Twitter, Facebook, social media. What the hell are you people talking about?

    Apparently I have no friends as no one has sent an invite to Fast Company. [sniff]

  14. Maureen Francis

    February 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I was inspired by Jay to start a new Facebook Group. “Boo Hoo Hoo, I haven’t been invited to any new social networks today.”

    I only sent out a few invitations. Please join and invite others so they don’t have to feel bad. Jay and Ines, I would be honored to have you both as officers, should you be up to the task.

  15. Steven Stearns

    February 11, 2008 at 5:17 pm


    “While the first two are potentially within grasp a new blogger when is ’soon’ – soon enough? Are all bloggers new to the starting with assumption that that they have 30% chance of failure? What mm/dd/yyyy was the cut off?”

    “Soon Enough”: Waiting for tomorrow to start is no longer an option -the sooner the better- Time and the growth of SMM and the option of entry points no longer allow hesitation.

    “Assuming a 30% Chance of Failure-You need to look at it as a 70% likelihood of succeeding! If you are failing at one thing and the SMM you are doing does not fit your market or business plan, you need to enter SMM at another level. You can blog, be in a social community/utility and comment in the forums, or read the blogs and be a commentor. Apps like Blogger, Google Analytics and Twitter make it possible for anyone to get started in SMM.

    “What mm/dd/yyyy was the cut off?”-There is no popular, accepted cut-off date. If I had to pick two to choose from, it would be January and February 2008 – January, when a Realtor had his listings pulled at Facebook and February, 2008 a local Realtor association shut down a group of Realtors for basically improper use of trademark. Joel Burlsem wrote about the January incident in the FOREM and Inman news covered the latter event.

    While not industry or web-wide, both these events are very important. Syndication and distribution of listings (and Web 2.0) depends on submission of user generated content to create some value for the hosting site.
    Any constriction of the free flow of content, from the inside or outside, is a negative force on the marketplace.


  16. Steven Stearns

    February 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm


    I am not a genuis,

    …but I know you were probably not referring to me…


  17. Ines

    February 11, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Paul – you know I’m a fan – and a sucker for hearts! 🙂

    Rudy – “for many people, it’s really challenging deciding where and how often to participate. ” -I think for many of us is challenging to find time to actually work 😉

    Steven – I have to tell you that I started on Active Rain and it was definitely a great place to get my feet wet – I was afraid to go our into the real “blogosphere” and now it feels good – I wish I would have gotten started sooner and the success we’re having with blogging is beyond any expectation I might have had.

    Jay – that’s what I call a guilt trip – check your inbox

    MF – LOL! that’s hilarious! count me in.

    Steven – 70% likelihood of succeeding is enough for me

  18. Hi! I'm Rudy from Trulia. Nice to Meet you...

    February 11, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Steven – Genius is in the MIND of the beholder 🙂


  19. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 11, 2008 at 6:27 pm


    Did someone forget to lick the stamp? 🙂

  20. Ginger Wilcox

    February 11, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I guess I will be hanging out with Jay in the boo-hoo group. Some of these groups have been really worthwhile, others I don’t see the point. I definitely don’t think we have reached the peak. It amazes me how many people think a blog is myspace. That is it.

  21. Ines

    February 11, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Larry – I have to tell you that I love your sense of humor, but sometimes it takes me a while……

    Ginger – same here, but just be patient, one day the idea jumps out at you – I still don’t get facebook but see how some people are using it. I did find a long lost British cousin though.

  22. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 12, 2008 at 12:38 am

    sorry Ines……. lot of disconnect when there so many comments. I was referring to #13

  23. Just had to be said.

  24. Maureen Francis

    February 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Jeff “Ubiquity” Turner. I like it.

  25. Steven Stearns

    February 12, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    …we have been Turnerized…not a bad thing to be!

  26. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Tool boy Turner in the house! trying??? did you say trying to achieve ubiquity?? you are already there my friend….without a doubt.

    MF, I like it! What other names can we come up with?


  27. Brian Columbus

    February 26, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Social Networking is still in its infancy and the audience is immature. You don’t judge a person’s career by their kindergarten report card. We’ll see what things look like when the kids get the keys to the car.

  28. ines

    March 26, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    There may be a lot of them, but they are sure bringing us business!

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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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