Archive for the 'Fun' category

The Top Ten Simple Rules

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Yesterday was Foreclosure day in GA. For the 5th time, I saved one of my listings that has been going through a Short Sale process since April 2009.  I spent over 4 hours calling Bank of America and then arriving to extreme measures to be able to beat the incompetence that we Agents live with every day with the people who answer their phone.

I was asking the person who answered the phone for the 6th call in two days if she can tell me a number, just an estimate number, of the Foreclosures they have every month because their Departments do not talk to each other…. Obviously I did not get an answer. I think the number is BIG.

I’d like to use this forum to generate a top 10 list of our own.  The Top 10 Ways make the people who work in lender Loss Mitigation departments more productive.  What do you think?

If you have done short sales for a while, there’s no doubt that you have your own suggestions for what could make the process easier for all involved. We all know how bad the problem is. And it is growing worse.

Lender Loss Mitigation Departments are overwhelmed.  Anyone who has been negotiating with the large lenders over the past 3 to 6 months, I am sure, has seen the same change I have seen. The Loss Mitigation Departments cannot keep enough trained people on staff to process the workload. Response times are getting longer and longer. The responses are getting less and less competent. The incidences of just plain rudeness or clear demonstrations of a lack of training of their representatives is increasing in frequency; but remember those folks are paid hourly regardless of whether they do a good job or not. As a consequence, our buyers are walking away, and our Sellers are going to Foreclosure.

It is not right that the incompetence and in adequacy of the lender’s management and training programs cause us to work harder for even less money. But what can we do? They’re the lender. They have the money. They have all the cards and control the process.  It’s their way, or the highway.

But what if…?  What if we could make the rules?  What rules would we make up?  I would like to use this post to spark a contest.  Please post by way of comment on this blog your suggestions for how the lenders can improve the short sale process.

And let’s have some fun with it too. While this is a serious subject, one which affects our livelihoods, there’s no reason why we cannot enjoy ourselves in building up the list of suggestions for our favorite whipping boys in the loss mitigation departments of major lenders.

I would ask you to keep it short; no more than two sentences for a rule. The rule should be focused on loss mitigation departments.

This could actually be the start of something big… It might become the vehicle by which we developed a referral network specifically targeted at short sales; or maybe an industry-specific focus group. There are many ways and many directions in which this can grow. Let’s start with some simple top 10 rules for loss mitigation departments, and see where it goes.

Let me throw out one simple example rule just to get us started:

  • Answer the telephone with a smile and the honest intent to help the person on the other end. If you can’t do this, then work on your files and computer screens until you’re in a better mood (kind of hard with the increasing incompetence…)

So share your ideas for rules with us. Let’s all hear what can be done to make our lives easier. Who knows, maybe Bank of America is listening. Maybe one of us has the ear of the senior executive at Wells Fargo or Bank of America and can present this list of them. Or maybe, just maybe, reading through a bunch of humorous rules will lighten the day of our fellow agents.

So let’s have some fun, and if it can be productive fun so much the better!

Interviewing an Agent for your Short Sale

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Some days ago, I was interviewed by a prospect looking for an agent to sell his house.  I appreciate that interview – everyone should interview the person they will employ to sell their house.  This gentleman, however, was having financial problems and most likely was going to lose his house if we did not start the short sale process very soon.

Some of his concerns were whether to work with the “Expert in this neighborhood” who knows his neighborhood (I had not sold a house in his neighborhood before) or to work with an expert in Short Sales, whether the photographs would be taken by a professional photographer, and how impressive the flyers and brochures would be.

I want to share with you some interesting facts and also some of my thoughts that came out of that interview:

  • There are 78 houses for sale in that neighborhood today, 7 of which are foreclosures
  • There is one other short sale in that neighborhood
  • There are 38 different Agents with homes listed in this neighborhood
  • On average, the active listings have been on the market for 8 months
  • 15 houses were sold in this high-end neighborhood (600k-1M) in the last 6 months, 7 of which were foreclosures
  • Each one of the 15 houses was sold by a different Agent

It seems to me that someone looking for a Real Estate Professional, and a specialist in Short Sales, should not be looking for the façade the agent presents – the fancy car and that big joke in the industry about being “the specialist in your neighborhood”.  You have to always have in mind that you are hiring that agent to sell your house not your neighborhood.

You can believe that every time I send in a Short Sale package to begin the negotiations with the lender, the forms do not ask what type of car I drive, if I go for a manicure every week, or how popular and known I am in that neighborhood.  What they focus on is how complete the packet is, how accurate the numbers are, and most importantly the negotiations I have had with the Buyer and their Loss Mitigation Department.  They want to know they are getting the best deal they will get, and that the deal will happen.  In this, the majority of these lenders know me because of the volume of short sales I do with them and the skills I have developed.

You might be tempted to ask me what kind of car I drive and how often I go to the Parlor?  Well, with the price of gasoline today, I get to choose between my Nissan Sentra and my Ford Explorer.  As for the Parlor, I would love to go see a manicurist every week – but how would I be able to give each of my clients all my attention if I went that often?

I can promise you that, rather than a fancy façade and polished prose, what you will get from me is a professional and knowledgeable team with a caring sense of service and accurate numbers you can rely on.

So what are you looking for in an Agent?  What interview questions would you ask?  Post them here and we will select the best one.  The winner will receive their choice of gift certificates: for a manicure at their favorite salon or a car wash for their fancy car.