In response to John Flaniken’s blog – The Short Sale Conversation that hit the ground running last Thursday night – Yeah John!
To find balance in a Real Estate career, and take the time to try to plan that balance in what you’d like your business to look like, while still have some semblance of a life at age 30 in this Real Estate market brings up quite an opportunity. How much of your business do you want to be based in Short Sales, how much in REOs and how much as conventional sales?
Working on planning your thought process around how to create such balance in your work, based solely upon what is supported by studies and figures, that explain the pain so to speak, doesn’t give you too much of a choice. Short Sales are here to stay, at least the next 2-3 years and to not reel them into at least 50%-70% of your business is to cut yourself out of the market and to cut yourself off from making the difference for your clients and yourself, thereby leaving yourself out in the cold.
Not all Realtors are still in their 30s. Many of us have been establishing our business and personal lives for many years. Many of us have been through lay-offs for as much as several years, draining all finances. Additional opportunities to plan our business (in the minds of many at least) might not be as wide spread an opportunity.
In an effort to be fair to the Realtors and Brokers that do not have a mortgage banking background, which is the greater portion of the folks in the industry that we work in, I want to say–good on ya!–because taking on a short sale without knowing the intricacies of how to prep the package and approach the bank or get inside the head of an investor and how they can change the life of a homeowner with one swing of their axe on a note that’s gone bad…I wholeheartedly applaud you!
I don’t spend too much time around the water cooler, but I do work with a great many Realtors and Brokers who did not surf the tsunami of the mortgage meltdown and are just plain not prepared to handle today’s tough Short Sale transaction. The few Realtors, who have grown the stones it takes to take it to the wall, struggle and learn, in the guise of a trial by fire, if they can hang on through the next few years, they may create a size-able business for themselves. But they may also find themselves emotionally bankrupt.
I worked for ten years as a Senior Mortgage Banker and the last three years as a full time Realtor/Short Sale Negotiator, so speaking from some rather intense experience, you have to have either had x-ray vision to know what was coming at the beginning of 2007 (which none of us truly did) or have grown nerves of steel to survive the pain of the last two and a half years, working full time closing Short Sales, in order to have gained the type of experience it now takes to keep going, day after day. Closing Short Sales, one right after the other, is excruciating work, with some transactions taking months to close.
Without having the kind of financial background and experience it takes to be creative in making the number puzzle pieces fit together for a short sale transaction, left out in the cold might not really seem like such a bad thing. Although those agents who choose not to take on Short Sales may be feeling a different type of pain and that pain may show up in the form of lack of income.
Trying not to sound too flip, happily, there has been some education at the local Realtors boards. There are credentials to be obtained, like SFR Certification, for instance. The process of which is described on the CAR website as follows:
To receive the SFR Certification, you must complete the one day core course and successfully pass the exam, as well as view three 1-hour Webinars (available free of charge), and submit completed application ($175 application fee).
OK, so did you read that?
ONE day and 3 Webinars is all it takes to be credentialed as a Specialist! Oh yeah, I almost forgot, you get a SFR logo for your marketing is included!
The SFR certification sounds more like being thrown to the wolves while wearing a logo! It’s a good attempt at giving the licensed Realtors and Brokers the tools they need, but it’s like going to therapy to discover why you are having such a tough time in life. You end up having to go for a couple of years, and now you know, but therapy never tells you what to do with the knowledge after you do know!
To the credit of Realtors and Brokers that have not worked in the financial lending arena, the financial aspects of Real Estate is something that they have always felt “should be handled by the client’s lender” and I hear that being said in the hallways and around that water cooler in my office to this day!
There is a choice to be made here with regards to taking on new clients or serving past clients. I still have my lender head and I generally attempt to put my clients first and my pipeline second–sometimes to my detriment. These people, my Short Sale clients, are going through one of the hardest things they will ever go through (as are a good many of our brethren) and it’s important to also keep that in mind while also finding a way to balance your business and personal life.
Short Sales are not the type of transaction that can be taken lightly or that you can grow into overnight. It takes planning, experience and finesse. I’ll even cop to not always being the best at the finesse portion of the program, however I have negotiated my way through the greater portion of my 56 years and recognize it as one of my strongest skills. After completing over 200 Short Sale negotiations in the past three years, either my own listings or that of plenty of other Realtors and Brokers as their third party negotiator, I am fully aware that Short Sales are the greater portion of my business. It is a part of who I am and most of what I do. And I do it well.
I would be lying if I said that I have not felt like I had been flung up against the wall of frustration in the last few years, but have learned a few things. To get things done successfully from the onset, plan your end goal. In Short Sales, as in life, doing most of the work on the front end is the trick. And, especially in Short Sales, make sure to never let the bank be the driving force towards the end result.
My name is Ellen Carter. I am a Realtor and Senior Short Sale Negotiator and this is Ellen’s House.