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LinkedIn and Social Media are Great for Business

Social media has been all the rage for the last several years, especially for anyone in business. From MySpace to FaceBook and Google+ being the big players in that technology, with dozens or hundreds (maybe thousands) of other smaller sites in play, too. There is one that was here before all the others that is often the most forgotten….LinkedIn.

I want to share some of my thoughts about this particular social media platform that was first and foremost a business-to-business relationship builder. I first joined LinkedIn in 2004 after reading about it in an online article that told me that I had to join this service. This article was about this new technology coming out called “social media” and how it was going to change the face of business. Little did I know at that time, that years later almost 80% of my information and news would come from these social media sources.

Back then, LinkedIn was only about connecting with people you already knew or had already done business with. It was basically an online résumé. You were limited in how many people you could “connect” with....

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Don't Steal My Photos Man!

Don't Steal My Photos Man!

Those who have worked with me any amount of time know one of my biggest pet peeves....... DO NOT STEAL MY PHOTOS FOR YOUR LISTING!

As a easier way to keep up with my local market, I have myself set up in the MLS's to get daily updates of new listing as they come on the market, like all good agents should, right? This morning I get my usual 5 or 6 emails from the MLS on new listings and one of them has one of my old REO listings that expired in June that was just re-listed. No problems, I expected the bank to assign a new agent as I had that troublesome property for over a year and was ready to get rid of it.

As I was looking at the report I noticed that the photos looked familiar, so I pulled up my old listing and sure enough, they were my original photos..... ALL of them! There is NO description of the house, no private comments other then “See attached documents”..... which there were not any. And other important information was missing like “No Certificate of Occupancy Issued”, etc. (new construction)

Well, I'm still a pretty good friend with the bank's property manager, so I sent her an email. One to check on her to see how they weathered the current hurricane and to let her know that she needs to tell the agent that using photos from another brokerage is against MLS rules, not to mention it's just plain lazy!

Then I looked up the other listing we had of developed building lots. He did a little better there, but I guess he did not like my photos because it looks like he just rode through the subdivision taking pictures of any open space he THOUGHT was a building lot. The funny part is he had 3 or 4 pictures of properties we SOLD last year that the bank no longer owns! The listing has no information on lot numbers that are for sale. And had a nice picture of a STOP SIGN! Lol

New Construction REO's take more research then a normal listing. And I would have gladly given this agent my folder on this property.... before now. But don't steal my work because you are too dang lazy to take a few photos of your new listing!

I want to say to any asset manager who might read this, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE double check your agents! You have no idea how much liability or lost sales these “Lazy” agents are causing! If you do not have the time to do so yourself, hire an agent in that area to “shop” your listing agents. They will tell you real quick if there is a problem! A quality listing agent will not mind at all if they get “shopped”, it helps them stay on their toes! I welcome it any time!

Steve Adkins - REALTOR®
Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Metro Brokers
Residential - Land - Commercial - NFSTI Certified REO Specialist
5886 Wendy Bagwell Pkwy, Suite 221, Hiram, GA., 30141
404-843-2500, Fax 770-439-4848
"Professionalism, Integrity & Ethics Are A Way Of Life!"
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That Troublesome Contract! ..... part two

That Troublesome Contract! ….part two

For part one of this “mini-series” please see:

As you see from Part One, this all started the week after Christmas, yes...Christmas of 2009. But let me get you up to speed with the latest.

Finally, after weeks of back and forth between the buyer's agent and the bank's asset manager, we come to an agreement on terms. Which were pretty good on paper, key phrase here is “on paper”. The deal was $4000 over list price (no competing offers) so the buyer could get more closing cost paid. The bank normally would not pay more the 3%, but the buyer needed up to 6% to make the deal work according to her lender. Red flag #4 or 5, not sure as I had stopped keeping track by now as we were in the second month of this transaction and still do not have a binding agreement. Almost all the delays were cause by the buyer's agent, having him re-write the offer 7, yes 7 times, before he got it right!

I get the A/M to finally understand what was going on and their net did not change, this only took 3 or 4 emails. The A/M send me the contract back to have the buyers initial off all the changes to the contract before he signs it. WTH? Why didn't he go ahead and sign it? But anyway, I roll with it and send it to the buyer's agent with instructions on what to do. This bank's division does not use addendums, they just mark out what they don't like on the original contract and initial all the changes. I've gotten use to it but some agents get very confused about this. I tell the agent the buyer must initial each and every change or it will be sent back to him. Well, it took 3 attempts to all the initials in the proper places, still not sure if it was the agents fault or the buyer's but I'll blame the agent anyway, he should have known better!

So after 2 more weeks I send the contract back to the A/M for his final signature. Shouldn't take more then a day, two if he's busy...right? Wrong again! Three WEEKS later I get the signed contract back and guess what, now we have got to re-negotiate the closing date as by now we only have 8 days to close a FHA loan. Finally, a closing date is set for April! Or so I thought.

Well, by now the buyer has swapped lenders, another red flag! I called the lender to confirm the approval letter like normal, “no problems” says the lender “we can close by the 20th”. COOL! Or so I thought again. This was early mid-March so I thought they had plenty of time to get this done. Wrong again!

Two weeks before any closing I usually start calling the buyer's lender to see how things were going and if there were any snafu's popping up. Well, when I call the lender his office phone number has been disconnected (red flag # 30 something by now?) but he answers his cell phone. Kids and a TV in the background, he quickly tells me he is swamped and would call me back in 10 minutes. Three days later I call him back, same story...will call you back in 10 minutes. I then call the agent, he says he will talk to the lender and call me back in 10 minutes. LOL, this is starting to become a funny game. Two days later he calls me back and says “no problems, we will close on the 20th”. It was around the 15th, (the closing was the 20th) so I say COOL! (I have got to stop saying this)

On the 20th the agent calls me early in the morning to say there is a problem. No kidding? There has been a problem since the very start! I told him he gets one shot at extending the closing date, talk to the lender and see exactly what the problem was and how long he needs to get this done and closed. That afternoon he calls me to say that the lender told him that the buyer's credit score was 613, that they were working on some credit repairs and would need an additional 21 days. WTH? This “lender” issued a letter of approval knowing that the buyer is not qualified? And I believe the agent knew this all along!

After I calm down and come off the ceiling, I tell this agent that this was unacceptable and that he needed to find a way to get this closed by the end of the week, 7 days max. To send me a closing extension request form before 4pm. Well I get it at 10pm that night.....requesting the 21 days I told him earlier he would not get. Needless to say that the bank rejected the request and I prepared the Termination of Contract and Release of Earnest Money form, sent it to the A/M on April 21 for him to sign, the day after the scheduled closing. COOL, I think to myself, I can get this back on the market in time for the last week or so of the tax rebates. Which did prompt a lot of activity locally.

Well, not so fast there big boy! Even so the A/M said that the bank wanted the earnest money ASAP because the buyer failed to close, and I sent the form to the A/M last month for him to sign and send back, I'm still waiting. The contract is still active and I cannot put it back on the market because in Georgia, contracts do not automaticly expire if not closed. It MUST be terminated in writing, no if's, and's or but's. This was explained to the A/M when I sent him the form.

I inquired again this past week with the A/M, as now I'm getting nasty letters from our business office wanting the paperwork or threatening to fine me. Again the A/M says that the contract has expired because it did not close, to send him the E/M ASAP. Now I can understand that keeping up with contract laws in multiple states can be overwhelming and hard to do, no problems. He tells me that other agents in my state do not require this form, why am I?

Because it's Georgia contract law and these other agents are wrong, not to mention breaking the law. I was only trying to protect them from any future legal liability. He did not believe me and requested documentation on this, so I found an article written by the very attorney who writes the contract forms for the Ga. Assoc. of Realtors (GAR) that states exactly what I have been telling him. Still not good enough and they call one of the partners in the mega law firm that handles all of their closing services.

That was Thursday, I'm still waiting for a one page form needing one signature and fax/emailed back to me and I'll take care of the rest.

I'm starting to think this house is jinxed! This is the third contract that has failed to close, I've had to fire a team member over it (that's for a whole other blog there), and now I expect to be fired by the bank because I refused to break contract law. Not to mention that I'm about to get a $50 fine for not turning in paperwork that the A/M has refused to sign.

I'm hoping that Part Three is a much shorter story to write!

Steve Adkins – REALTOR®

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers


Hiram Office

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Alarming News for Short Sale Negotiations

By Ann Bone

(This is posted with permission from my brokerage, un-edited)

I’ve been peppered with questions about a rather alarming article being circulated over the past couple of weeks, written by a well-respected real estate attorney in the Atlanta market area. The thesis of the article is that real estate agents may be committing a felony when assisting sellers seeking short sales by participating in any negotiations with the sellers’ lien holders. This is supposedly because the Georgia Residential Mortgage Act of 2007 requires any person who negotiates mortgage loans to have a mortgage license (which 99% of real estate licensees lack) and that working with the sellers’ lien holders is “negotiating a mortgage”.

Why raise this alarm now, in 2010? It’s being whispered that some (not all) mortgage brokers and lenders are angry at being required to become licensed in Georgia and are looking to make examples of real estate practitioners who they see as encroaching into lender territory.

March 31, 2010 marks the “drop dead” date by which mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders and the independent contractors working with them who solicit, process, place or negotiate mortgage loans for others or who work on renewing or refinancing mortgage loans for others must be licensed by the state or exit the mortgage business. The state and federal exams each applicant must pass are onerous, to say the least. I’m hearing that over 70% of the applicants are not passing either the state or federal exam and having to retest prior to March 31, 2010. It’s high stress time in the Georgia mortgage business, especially for the less reputable mortgage companies.

Why would real estate licensees be suddenly singled out for retribution? Well, could it be that REALTORS, those real estate licensees who join a Board or Association of REALTORS and pledge to adhere to a National Code of Ethics, were supportive of the efforts to force licensure upon the mortgage industry?

Real estate practitioners have been required to be licensed in Georgia since 1925. Anyone printing a business card or setting up a web site could call themselves a mortgage lender until the 2007 passage of the Act. And those active in the mortgage business prior to 2007 were “grandfathered” until the upcoming March 31 deadline.

Coincidental to the 2007 passage of the Act, the mortgage meltdown gained momentum in Georgia.

Reasonable people have discerned that unknowledgeable buyers and homeowners over-borrowed on over-valued properties. No one wants to allow that to ever happen again and the reins have been tightened by all parties involved in the real estate financing transaction – the real estate licensees, the appraisers, the lenders, the closing attorneys and the title companies. Please note that all the participants listed were licensed by the state in 2007 except the lenders.

Please don’t misunderstand me; this is not a blanket criticism of mortgage lenders. The reputable lenders will survive both the licensing process and the current economic downturn.

Today, though, real estate licensees are being threatened with prosecution for listing properties with outstanding mortgage obligations in excess of the current market value and assisting those owners in the process of proving to their lenders that an offer to partially pay off the total indebtedness may be better than forcing the lender to eventually foreclose on the property.

Since when is paying off a loan “negotiating”? And, since most mortgage loans have been packaged, sold and resold, perhaps multiple times, exactly which lender would negotiate with the final mortgage holder of a specific mortgage? The mortgage lender which originated the loan? And are they still in business?

Keith Hatcher, the Governmental Affairs Officer for the Georgia Association of REALTORS (GAR) has stated that it is his opinion and the opinion of key elected officials who serve on the Ways and Means and Banking and Finance committees that it would be a stretch to interpret the Act in this fashion and that this is not the intent of the Act. GAR is, in fact, working with the chairman of the Ways and Means committee to draft an amendment to the Act which would clarify that it is not a violation of the law for real estate licensees to assist in the negotiation of short sales.


Granted, this story is about the State of Georgia, but because some of the licensing for lenders has federal connects, it may apply to other states. I did get word this afternoon (after this was written) that State Law Makers addressed this issue early today but an official statement should be released soon. More to come as I get it.

This should not be considered Legal Advice in any form, I only wanted to bring this to people attention as we all may be affected by this. Scary to say the least!

Steve Adkins - REALTOR

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers


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Master Your Craft!

Here's a blog I "borrowed" (with permision of course) from one of our company blogs. It hits home with some of the discussions around here lately that I have been reading and thought I would share!Mastering Your CraftBy Michael McFaddenOnce you find yourself doing what it is you enjoy, always practice, practice, practice on getting better. Remember the Allen Iverson controversy (2006) “practice, we talking’ about practice”. We’ve heard that statement many times before with how important practice is, but so many times we get very complacent with our performance.We do just enough to get by! Just enough so that everyone thinks we’re working hard. Do you know what separates the best from average? Practice! I’ve said it a thousand times before, what does Tiger Woods do when he’s not playing golf? Practicing. What do athletes do after a big game? They go back and watch tape and you guessed it…Practice.But so many times, we get complacent with where our performance level lies, because you figure that, if I work any harder, it won’t make a difference. Trust me, successful people don’t think like that. They’re always looking to improve their craft.I recall hearing Joel Olsteen say “if you read about your profession an hour a day, for 2 years, you become a professional in the profession.” And the word smartness is “an ability to absorb new facts” according to Bill Gates. Ask an insightful question, have a capacity to remember, to relate things that may not make sense at first, like algebra – (still haven’t got it yet?). That’s smartness.How do avalanches start? One small snow flake at a time and over a period of time, they begin to pile up on top of each other, creating an uncontrollable force that’s unstoppable.Whether it’s reading, attending training classes, listening to other speakers and even hanging around other people that share the same interests as you, that’s what improving your craft is all about.Remember this: Amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do, or how smart you are, always strive to be better at it!If we want to call ourselves "Professionals" then we need to work on it everyday! Real Estate is NOT a part time job that you do on the weekends when you have nothing better to do! But yet we see more and more folks do just that. Lucky for the Real Professionals, this market has been weeding these "part-timers" out as we go.Thanks for reading!Steve Adkins - RealtorNFSTI Certified REO SpecialistThe Adkins GroupBetter Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro
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