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Twitter widgets that display your updates on your website



twitter widgetWhy should you care that Twitter has widgets that allow you to display your updates on your own website? Because cross-pollination of your social media efforts is a top priority. Why stand on three street corners when you can do the same thing on one? Why wouldn’t you want to gain more contacts from your blog by letting them know what you’re up to on Twitter?

This column was originally published here on on July 24, 2009.

This isn’t just another widget. Most widgets are static meaning they don’t move and they don’t update unless you update the page. This particular widget developed by first hand scrolls updates live on your sidebar and is fully customizable (text, colors, and size).

You have two widgets to choose from so far and you can use both. Use the “profile widget” to show website visitors your twitter updates and use the “search widget” to display all tweets from all users about whatever search term you deem worthy- your brand, your name, your city, etc.

Search Widget


So above, you can tell your widget what to search for as well as alter how you present it (you don’t HAVE to use the existing title text). Below, you can see how to adjust colors of the widget.


Below is a screenshot of how easy it is to get the embed code for the sidebar of your website and voila, a simply copy and paste job and you’re up and running.


Profile Widget

The setup is the same as the search widget but displays results of everything you’ve said. The only downside is that profile widgets are not compatible with private twitter accounts. Here’s what it looks like (remember, you can change the size and all colors):
pro widget

Ideas for Search Widget

There are infinite options for the search widget and you’re allowed to search for multiple terms, like your name, your brokerage, your city or an event/conference you’re attending. What search term do YOU think real estate agents should use for a sidebar widget for live twitter searching?

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  1. tomferry

    July 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I like the profile widget best. We’re going to change to that from what we have currently (Tweetboard). I am not seeing any interaction on it, so I think what you’re suggesting is a better idea!

    Thx Lani

  2. Erion Shehaj

    July 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Love the idea of a self-updating widget in real time… One use I could definitely see for hyperlocal real estate blogs, is to display a search widget for neighborhood related keywords i.e. “Rice Military”

  3. Chuck G

    July 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Lani —

    THANK YOU for the great tip — I didn’t realize that Twitter updated their widgets. I was using one of their older ones, and these are much better. I also like the ability to post a Twitter search on the area that is germane to one’s blog. Just another great way to “keep it local.”


  4. Norm Fisher

    July 25, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks Lani,

    I love the simple look of the widget and it certainly is easy to customize. I noticed though that the profile widget seems to link my profile picture to a user by the name of “undefined.” It did that on my page and I notice it’s doing the same on Chuck’s. I can’t find any setting to affect that.

  5. Chuck G

    July 26, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Ouch…Good catch, Norm. I also am not crazy about how it lists the tweets in reverse chronologic order (i.e. oldest to newest) It’s counter-intuitive to how everything else is presented on a blog. You just expect the newest tweet to be at the top, and the oldest at the bottom.

    Good thing I saved the code of my old Twitter widget 😉

  6. Lani Rosales

    July 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Norm, Chuck: try uninstalling then reinstalling it and see if that helps. Erion had problems too but reinstallation seemed to fix it.

    As for loading, it typically loads the newest first then that scrolls to the bottom, so I think the thought behind it is that when a page loads, they see the newest tweet up top (also, if they did it backward, readers would never see the most recent tweets, especially for someone like me with thousands of updates).

    Let me know if it works for you guys, I’m surely interested!

  7. Sal Antsipenka

    July 26, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Here is the deal, guys. Social media game is important, but after a very close scrutiny of my real estate business competition and just real estate websites in general I have found out that most websites which reached number one, two and three position in important local key word searches, say “Naples real estate” in my situation, used popular blogs like Activerain, AgentGenius, Inman News. In case of ActiveRain they published at least one article a day for 6 or more months and commented very heavily on other blogs. Next most important thing is the website. Most agents make a mistake of having just a couple of pages and then search as the most important feature of the website. However, most successful and competitive real estate websites have thousands of CONTENT pages. How can you achieve that? Quite simple. Have a page for a community and then individual page for every subdivision in this community with subdivision name in the URL extension. That’ll give you a lot of pages. One more important SEO “must” is press releases and articles – at least three a week in at least 5 PR sources. It’s a lot of work, but trust me, much more effective than just Twitter. By the way, if you are looking to get a lot of quality followers on Twitter, upload as many real estate themed videos on YouTube as you can and hook them up to Twitter. Works as charm.

  8. dzynz

    September 6, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    I tried to display two different profile widgets on one page of my website, and no matter how I table it, separate the code, they turn into this homogonized mess of only one display. If I use the blog-style ones on the website, they load separately as intended, but they’re harder to load on the page. Frustrating!

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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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