Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Quick Q&A with industry leader Floyd Wickman and Short Sale Specialist Will Weaver

By Julie Escobar, Floyd Wickman and Will Weaver

In this time of constant economic change, understanding how to service your clients and your market area to the best of your ability with expansive knowledge, real solutions and true compassion for homeowners facing overwhelming decisions can make you the ‘go-to’ agent in your marketplace – and more importantly – give you the quiet peace of mind of knowing that you have helped customers help themselves.  I had the opportunity to expound on this topic with both Floyd Wickman and his protégé, Will Weaver for a look at the questions asked by agents across the nation as they seek the timely tools necessary to solve the financial dilemmas facing consumers in today’s market.

Q:  First off Floyd, what made you decide to get into the business of Short Sale Seminars?
FW:  Well, I’ve been hearing about Short Sales for several years and never really learned much about them until now.  When I saw a real need in the industry, I put together a team of gentlemen: Sham Reddy, Bob Daniels and Will Weaver who collectively have experienced more than 600 Short Sales in the last five years.  In my opinion, that makes them industry experts on the do’s and don’ts of Short Sales.  With them, I fine-tuned a seminar to teach some fundamental principals and skill sets to the real estate industry.  Unlike some Short Sale seminars you’ll find out there in today’s market, ours is designed to be both Seller and Lender-friendly.  What I mean by that is that it is designed to help sellers possibly save their credit and perhaps even stay in their homes and helps the lender settle for a fair sum.  Most of the other seminars on this topic that we have experienced are basically designed to show investors how to “steal” houses and that’s not what we are about.  We’ve always been in the business of helping people.

Q:  All right guys, I guess we need to start at the beginning, and Will, I will address most of these questions to you, OK?  Now, what exactly IS a Short Sale?
WW:  The best answer I can give you Julie is that by definition, the “short” in the title of Short Sale refers to the fact that the payoff amount agreed to in the transaction is indeed, shorter than the mortgage balances on the property.  In other words, there is more owed on the home than what it will sell for.

Q:  Why should a seller do a Short Sale?
WW:   Well the reason a distressed seller would consider a short sale is that they are really faced with a big decision and only a few real options:
1. They could let the lender foreclose, ruining their credit.
2. They can use an agent to help them negotiate a Short Sale, which would be a charge off on their credit –- so a “bruise” if you will– rather than a foreclosure, which gives them the option to buy again within two years.
3. They can choose a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, which means they sign the house back to the bank.  This is only an option however, if the bank wants the house back.  In a declining market, lenders are more apt to suggest sellers find an agent and consider a short sale.
4. They can reinstate their mortgage by coming up with all of the past due monies, interests, penalties and fines.  Obviously, that is not an option for most consumers in this position.
5. They can try what is called a Forbearance Agreement.  In other words, they then take what is owed and move it to the back of the loan and start all over.  This would depend largely on their credit, their payment history, how long the lender has carried the loan and if they feel comfortable enough with that particular homeowner to take the risk.

Clearly, if a homeowner is truly in tough financial turmoil, a Short Sale can be a viable option to get themselves out from under a bad situation and back to rebuilding their lives and credit.

Industry expert Bill Barrett shares valuable trend-watching advice for today’s agents.
Second in a series of Q&A articles focusing on current tough-market challenges.
By Julie Escobar

The ability to keep a close eye on the horizon and a finger on the pulse of market and economic trends is no longer a “sometimes” skill needed by industry professionals; rather, it is now a necessary tool of the trade.

Our team of trainers and I have been fielding hundreds of questions from sales associates seeking to circumvent the tough market syndrome that seems to overwhelm so many agents. They’re tapping into the knowledge and resources all around them in an effort to uncover the NOW strategies needed to stay inspired, motivated and ahead of the competition.

When it comes to trend-watching and overcoming challenges, our friend and industry leader Bill Barrett is the man in charge. I recently turned to him to get his insight and ideas on maximizing momentum in a changing market. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Q: I have always admired your ability to accurately read and communicate market trends to your audiences. What do you feel is the most significant trend in our market today?

A: Like you and your team, I hear that question a lot. I would say the single biggest item that agents need to focus on today is getting their listings priced correctly. And the single biggest challenge is that the market is still going down.

This is a very unusual time in our economy. Real estate is a leading industry today, instead of a following. In other words, in the past, interest rates have gone up, unemployment goes up and corporate rates go down. Now, interest rates are good, unemployment is down and corporate rates are fine—but the real estate market in many pockets of the country has plummeted. Why? I think what we are finding is that prices went very high—too high, in fact—and now we are seeing a dramatic “normalizing” of the market.

Q: What does all of that mean to agents on the street?

A: Well, I think there is a real problem right now in the industry, psychologically. There are so many articles out there talking about how the market is down, bubbles bursting, etc., and I believe it may continue to decrease and may be that way for a year or so. That is why it is more important than ever for agents to stress to their sellers the importance of pricing their homes correctly. Otherwise, they run the risk of missing target buyers altogether.

Q: I remember a charting tool you suggest your Superstars use to help communicate this point effectively with sellers. Can you share that?

A: Sure! I tell my students and audience participants to develop a 5-Year Chart for their market area. Down the left side, I suggest writing:
• 5 Years
• 4 Years
• 3 Years
• 2 Years
• 1 Year
• 6 Months
• Today

Then I have them make the following column headings across the top and write in the statistics for each time period above:
• Average sales price
• Average days on the market
• Amount of inventory
• List-to-sell ratio

Now, instead of “selling and telling,” agents are better able to “educate and inform.” Then the real estate agent becomes the messenger.

We need to educate sellers on the fact that real estate is still a local event and that not all “national trends” are applicable to their particular area. For example, look at the Portland and Seattle areas, which are currently seeing 8% to 12% increases. Develop your local stats chart, and become both an advocate and an educator for consumers in your area.

FloydIndustry icon Floyd Wickman shares insight, ideas and inspiration
for staying at the top of your game in a changing market.
 
By Julie Escobar

The going is most definitely tough in many parts of our country. I have talked to hundreds of agents lately who are seeking the inside secrets to maintaining momentum (or simply surviving) in a changing economy. Having been around this industry long enough to have some of the best minds in the business on speed dial, I let my fingers do the walking to answer some of the most difficult questions. Floyd Wickman was the first to come to mind. Having weathered the storms and surges of every possible market condition during the past 40 years—and having trained, motivated, coached and cultivated hundreds of thousands of agents and managers—there was no doubt that this industry icon would have a few thoughts to share. Here is how our conversation went:

Q: It’s no secret that the market is tough. What are some of the biggest challenges today’s agents are up against?

A: Like you and your ProspectsPLUS! account executives, our team has been inundated with questions just like this. I guess if I had to say what I hear agents struggling with the most right now it would be, first of all, getting their deals closed or pending sales that do not go to closing. Second, agents have more inventory than many are used to handling. And third, the length of time between listing and sold is much longer, making it more difficult to manage.

Many agents are simply not used to these challenges and, in a lot of cases, neither are their managers. Many managers have just not been in the business long enough to have experienced market conditions like this, so where do agents turn?

Q: I guess they turn to us! So pretend I am a struggling agent. What advice do you have for me with regard to a higher percentage of deals NOT closing?

A: First, I would have you look at the reasons why deals are not closing. Understand why lenders are pulling back and changing the way they do business. The increased foreclosure rate makes them more likely to turn down loans and less apt to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to appraisals. Buyers, too, have an attitude that there are unlimited property choices and are more demanding, sometimes even to the point of arrogance.

Second, master the art of straight-line communication. It is more essential than ever that the buyer is met in the office, pre-qualified, pre-approved and PREPARED to expect the worst AND make a decision. Choose your words wisely. For example: “Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, we are going to start today with a meeting of the minds. There is a lot of inventory available, and I am going to ask you to make a decision if you find something you like—and to be reasonable when you make that decision. I am not in the business of helping steal homes. I am in the business of finding the right homes at the right price in the shortest period of time.”

I love to see agents get buyers pre-approved through their own suggested mortgage source, because it gives them more clout when it comes to keeping the process moving. In the case of a buyer who has been pre-approved elsewhere, you might say, “Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, if there is a better deal out there, it doesn’t hurt you to find out. Let’s talk to my lender and see what they have to say as well, and you can choose which works best for you.”

Remember, too, that “pre-qualify” does not just mean what is the best they are looking for, but what is the worst, as well. Find the urgency, and you can communicate the value of making a decision quicker and negotiate the subtleties of helping them accept rather than settle. In other words, accept a property and get settled into what they need, not necessarily all they want.

By Roberta Ross, National Speaker

Every day, our world becomes more and more focused on the benefits of choosing a more organic—or green—lifestyle. Cleansing the environment of toxins found in our daily lives is a tremendous way to protect our earth, but imagine if you took it just a step further and adopted that same green effect into your personal mindset.

You may have already gone organic in your diet and in your home—choosing organic groceries, purified water and a switch to green mountain energy—but what about your mind? Have you gone organic in your thoughts? At any given point in the day, if we placed a camera in your mind, would it be a place of peace and serenity or more like a scene from The War of the Roses?

In a changing market, our natural inclination is to focus on dropping market values, rising interest rates and tightening loan qualifications. We worry about the business we don’t have or the prospecting pipeline that has all but dried up. We drone on about money that is lacking and wonder if this is the beginning of the end of our chosen career. These are the most critical times to mind your mind. As important as our diet, the air we breathe and the water we drink are, the ability to cleanse our minds of the toxic waste we allow to pollute our thoughts enables us to enjoy a much healthier lifestyle and career.

You might have seen or heard a great deal in the media lately about the Law of Attraction—the premise being that what we focus on is what expands in our life. Your thoughts are the seeds you plant in every moment of every day. If you’re choosing thoughts of doubt about why something won’t work, should it be any surprise when it doesn’t work?

For example, if you say to yourself, “The market is a disaster, and I can’t pay my bills,” then NOT being able to pay your bills is exactly what you will get. If you say, “Nobody is buying,” then NO BUYERS is what you’ll have. Or, if you tell yourself, “I’m not going to make it in this business; I should get a job,” then a job is what you’ll get.

These poisonous thoughts set in motion a downward spiral of events. Always remember that your thoughts determine your outcome. Your past performance was, in large part, a result of the thoughts you chose in the past. The thoughts you choose now will determine your future performance.

By Julia Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing

Trick or Treat? I know it’s a changing market, and there’s much to worry over, struggle with and think about. But truly, who needs haunted houses and horror movies when you can get a real fright just listening to a few of the agents in the office! Spooky tales of declining markets, terrorizing sellers, freaky FSBOs and the real estate version of Chicken Little’s “The sky is falling!” are almost enough to make you want to hide under the covers until it’s all over!

Choose to treat yourself instead by shaking it off, my friends. Develop a wicked sense of humor, and know that it doesn’t take the supernatural or super sleuthing skills to be a Market Whisperer! What it does take is a passion to succeed, a commitment to consistency, an eye on the trends and the ability to tune out the depressing drone.

Step away from what they say. Have you ever noticed that the ones most caught up in the drama and doom were never really all that productive or successful, even when the market was booming? The truth is that in any market, there will be homes sold and homes bought and clients who need your expertise and–quite frankly–could use an optimistic self-motivator over the profoundly pessimistic. After all, who would you rather talk to?

Look to those who refuse to get caught up in the chaos and continue to track real results month after month, market after market as your mentors or examples. How do they stay on track regardless of trends? They sustain the right mindset, continuously develop new skill sets and maintain their momentum.

What GOOD happened today? Take some time each day to chronicle your business–and your day. Some of the world’s top motivators recommend keeping a journal as a way of staying on track and maintaining perspective. Don’t be the one to lay your head down at night filled with regret, doubt or fear. Whatever life hands you–good, bad or indifferent–there are lessons to be learned.

Gratitude is an incredible gift we put forth in this world. It blesses those we are grateful for and fills us with warmth. Did you close a deal, list a home, talk to a friend, tell someone you loved them, hug a child, realize a goal, make someone laugh or have an incredible meal today? Look at each day for the good it brings. Count your blessings, large and small, and write them down as a reminder of how full life can be. It will enrich your life more than you can imagine.

Commit for the duration. Don’t be afraid to commit for the long haul. Your ability to see past today’s trouble and recognize tomorrow’s opportunities will give you the traction to be a fierce competitor and provide much-needed peace of mind when the going gets tough.

Consistently staying in touch with your BusinessBASE™ or book of business is not a suggestion; rather, it is a must-do for agents who want staying power throughout their careers. Clients are as inundated with market trends as we are, and they need to know that you are there with the answers.

Adopt the “what have you done for them lately” mindset, and make sure that you touch everyone on your VIP list at least monthly. Send them something, call them, see them in person. Mix it up, and make sure they know that you are not a fair-weather agent, but someone who takes your career and your commitment to clients seriously enough to weather whatever comes your way. Need ideas on what to say and when? Tap into your BusinessBASE™, filled with reasons to call and ways to stay in contact–found in the Lead Masters section of your ProspectsPLUS! software. Or you can download your FREE copy today by visiting www.prospectsplus.com and clicking on BusinessBASE™.

Scare up some new business. First, take the time to reach out to your customers. Segment your database to those who are most likely to need you or refer a friend in the next six months. Look to people who have been in their homes for at least six years, are tops on your list of referring clients or who you know have special circumstances.

Open your conversations by letting them know that you are available to answer any questions they have about today’s changing market. What can you help them with? What do they find most challenging? Let them know that you are there if they need you and are happy to assist their friends and family with questions or concerns, as well. Remember, people don’t care what you know until they know that you care, so show them that you are there for them–always.

Find a new audience. The key to expanding your business is to expand your base. Keep what you have, but add a new avenue. What demographic really interests you? What new segment would you like to tap into? For some it’s new home owners, for others it’s investors, and still others like the feeling of helping hometown heroes such as teachers, firefighters, police and military.There is a tremendous feeling associated with really loving what you do. Find the people you most love to work with, embrace that challenge, be the best at helping them, and your career will be exciting, challenging and rewarding on more levels than you could possibly count.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Go ahead! Exercise new techniques and reach out to new segments. This market is only scary to agents who are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their success or failure. Those who are accustomed to seeing what is wrong can’t possibly search out what is right. That is not you.

Picture Glinda from the classic Wizard of Oz, asking in that oh-so-high pitch, “Are you a good agent or a bad agent?” Being the BEST agent in your marketplace reminds your clients–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that there is no place like home.

Above all, keep your sense of humor. Each day is an opportunity to share who you are and what you do, and it never hurts to laugh along the way. It’s easy to fall into the drama, but know that happy is the life that is filled with humor. It is a tremendous equalizer known to put people at ease, release tension and forge friendships. In the words of Will Rogers, “We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.” Don’t buy into the scary; expect the extraordinary instead.

Whether you are part of the trick-or-treat crowd or are enjoying the cooling climate, keep your wits about you, pass the Milk Duds, and go conjure up a few customers. The only thing scarier than a tough market is not having the ability to reach out to the people who matter most to us. Know that we believe in you. You are remarkable, resilient and ready to realize all of your dreams. And we are here to help you every step of the way!

Download our FREE BusinessBASE™ system and learn more creative ways to boost production while saving time and money at www.prospectsplus.com.