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Santa, I’ve been Naughty, And This Is What I Want In My Stocking!



Santa's Little HelperYes, I am a demanding little girl, even with Santa.

For 2010, I just have a few little things on my list, not too much to ask for I don’t think!

  1. That Panoramio would get a better picture uploader.  Come on!  One at a time?  Why don’t you just ask iPhoto for a quick upload button like Flickr has and we’d all be happy. (I also will add to that list more robust profiles for contributors)
  2. The Foursquare, Brightkite, Gowalla or DailyPlaces would create a map-widget showing all my check-ins in real time with links to photos, etc.  First one to make it goes on my blog!
  3. That someone would come up with a really good Word Press plug-in which allows me to show a map of ALL my geo-tagged photos, blog posts, etc. for my blog.  This I really really want (pout!) (sssshhhh  I am currently investigating something that might come close, stay posted!)
  4. That Posterous would push to Foursquare, Brightkite, Gowalla and/or DailyPlaces so I can REALLY have One Push Publishing
  5. That the GPS Locator in my Coolpix P6000 would move FASTER than a turtle in a molasses mud bath! (but otherwise I <3 my Coolpix)

Now, if you are a good little Elf and know that I am going to get any of these things or where I can find them if Santa thinks I was too naughty to give them to me, please speak up below before I have a full blown tantrum.

Have you been naughty or nice? Have something on your Santa List?  Let’s hear it!

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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  1. Ken Brand

    December 23, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Sounds reasonable to me. C’mon Santa, deliver the goods, Janie’s been a good girl.

    #3 sounds super cool, I’m putting that on my Christmas List too.

    Cheers and Happy Holidays.

  2. Janie Coffey

    December 23, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Thanks Ken!

    I really really am hoping for a great WP Plugin like that. There must be one out there. But just think if you could have a mash-up map (or hyper-local maps) of your communities, showing pin points and links to your photos, blogs, restaurants, listings, etc. All the info is there, it just needs to be pulled together. I think we will see it for sure in 2010.

  3. Lani Rosales

    December 23, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I wish there was a way that all pictures I take with a Palm Pre would automatically upload, geotag, etc. to my desired destination (Posterous as a photo blog) without having to do anything besides click. As it stands I have to email it which is the simplest method but still takes extra time!

  4. Tim McDonald

    December 23, 2009 at 11:06 am

    For #3 try I hoping they make it a little more user friendly, but it does display map with points referenced in your blog posts.

  5. MIssy Caulk

    December 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I want a Kindle DX… hope I’ve been good. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Janie.

  6. Susie Blackmon

    December 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I want a geeked out Airstream so I can go ‘camp out’ in Montana and Wyoming and blog, write, do more photographs, chase Cowboys, and feed my horse website (and maybe start a new RE site!).

    All the best in 2010 Ms. Janie!

  7. Rafael

    January 6, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Hi Janie, missing your Florida POIs… I love Posterous and pushing from this service to Dailyplaces is on my wishlist to. As for the WordPress/Widget thing: we can already build such things since we have a real mature Developer API. For instance the Website and the iPhone App are using this API and the uprising Android App is doing the same. The only problem is: time ;-(

  8. Janie Coffey

    January 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

    HI Rafael

    What an honor to have the co-founder of Dailyplaces visit my blog! I have requested the push from Posterous, I hope they listen 😉 As soon as you have the time for the WP plugin, let me know, it would be such a super great tool for bloggers to be able to highlight their adventures via on their blogs. I know quite a few real estate bloggers would be all over such a feature!

    Keep up the good work, and I’m sorry for the vacation, but I just posted a new POI, check it out from Frozen Florida


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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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