Short Sales: The honest, open truth from top industry players

Sep 22, 2011 3:31:00 AM

By Roger Higle, KWU Course Writer, Keller Williams Realty International Support Center

If you haven’t heard the news in REO and Short Sales yet, here it is—top KW performers are sharing their success tips openly and widely. They are much more than agents now—they are business managers and teachers on a big scale. This morning, four of them—Danny Seybert, Henderson, NV, Natascha Tello, Pembroke Pines, FL, Brett Tanner, Phoenix, AZ, and Fred Weaver, Tempe, AZ—provided an outpouring of suggestions for success in their specialties. The common themes: great people, well-defined roles, excellent systems, and a heavy dose of persistent relationship-building.

Denny Seybert emphasized building a great REO business is really about forging relationships with the asset managers who have thousands of foreclosed properties to assign. He traced his success to his dogged pursuit of asset managers at conferences across the country. “I watched who the asset managers were chatting with in the hallways, and went right after those agents—to give me introductions, “ Danny said. “Successful people are willing to share,” he added. “Be a connector. In the REO business, you need to get on the asset managers’ radar, and stay there.”
He explained how networking pays off. Getting one assignment in REO, and doing a great job, not only makes you look good to your institutional client, it’s a compliment to the agent who referred you. That’s how more assignments—and more referrals to other asset managers—start flowing.

Top REO agent Natascha Tello talked proudly about how her team has systematized every aspect of an REO assignment—from the first email from the asset manager, to the hour of closing. She shared how their early basic approaches matured into a seven-level matrix of tasks, assuring everyone on the Tello Team knows exactly what to do at every step—in the processing, marketing, and selling of an REO. Today, their team works hand in hand with virtual assistants on the other side of the globe who handle some of the routine assignments, easing the workload in Florida and speeding the flow of properties to market, and to closing.

In the short sale world, transaction volume is growing across the U.S., and Brett Tanner’s team is benefitting in that short sale explosion. Banks have learned the dollar value of a short sale over a foreclosure. At the same time, economic pressures are pushing more homeowners into default.

Brett is all over it. He’s built what he calls a “telemarketing center” that focuses on lead generation seven days a week. His philosophy about reaching out to distressed homeowners: “Call them until they tell you to stop calling them—then call them one more time.” Persistence pays.

Brett’s team is on a path to double their units sold this year—to an amazing 700! Negotiating all those transactions happens through a “pod” system in which two person teams of negotiators and administrative people guide 50-75 short sales each through the process to closing.
Fred Weaver, who partners with Kevin Kauffman in their short sale business, shared top tips for short sale negotiation. “You must know three things, “said Fred. “You’ve got to learn the value placed on the property by the bank, as well who the investor is that owns the loan and who the mortgage insurance company whose policy protects the investor’s loss.”

Why? Explained Fred, you can’t bring a successful offer without knowing what the bank is expecting to receive—and you can’t problem solve issues unless you know who has the final authority to say “yes’ to a deal.

The largest banks really control only about 20% of their mortgage portfolios. The other 80% are loans they service for other investors. Investors are the ones who must approve the deal—and mortgage insurers (who wrote policies to protect the investors) are now playing an approval role—especially in the markets with the biggest home value losses. Fred’s message, “Get on top of the process with the bank in the first 30 days, and push hard to get the answers to the three biggest questions.” Fred‘s bumper sticker on short sale negotiation is persistence pays—“never take ‘no’ for an answer.”