The "Sounds" of a changing market. REDO

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I can’t believe I wrote this 2 1/2 years ago!!! has it really been that long already since the market changed?


Sometimes, market changes are best understood by the sights and sounds around us. On Saturday I posted my "sign post" that gave a true visual of how the market has changed. Today, I’m going to write about an occurrence that has happened to me, three times in the last two weeks. Three deals, three selling agents, three phone calls, one question. "I’ve changed companies can we change the name of the selling brokerage on the purchase contract to my new company?"

Now folks, in Florida all business is conducted through the Broker. Brokers own the listings and Brokers own the deals. Agents must work under a Broker and can only be paid through that Broker. So asking to change the name of the company on the contract, without Broker approval, is a big no no, both ethically and legally.

The first agent, that asked, was entitled to a referral fee from me for a listing that I sold. He figured, that since he now worked for a 100% company, if he could be paid direct, he could avoid paying his previous Broker and avoid his new $395.00 per transaction fee. Nope, ain’t going to happen on my watch. Give your Broker his due .

The next two were very similar in that both agents had switched companies in mid-transaction. One had actually removed (white out) their old company’s name from the contract, wrote in a new company name and delivered it to the Title Company. Fortunately, Cara, my closer called me on this and I let her know that the agent cannot do that. Give your Broker his due.

At least the next agent called me and asked me the question. Her explanation was a little more revealing about current market conditions. She also works for a 100% commission company and pays a $395.00 per transaction fee. Supposedly, her and several other of the agents, for this particular "rent a Broker" (her words not mine), have not been paid for their last few deals. It seems the Broker has been using their commissions to pay the bills. I guess, when things are slow, $395.00 per transaction won’t cut it.

So here we have the "sounds" of the market . REALTORS® constantly switching companies looking for greener grass. Brokers not paying their agents promptly, or at all, so they can use the money to try and stay in business. And agents trying to cut their Brokers out of the deal.

What surprises me about this is that my business is booming . I’m listing and selling houses constantly. And I’m not the only one. The REALTORS® that have been in the business for years are still marching right along and in fact are excelling in this changing market. Maybe, its because we never stopped doing the things that made us successful . When things were booming, we still advertised and still kept in touch with past customers and clients. We never lost our momentum. We don’t wait for business to come to us, we go and find business.

So folks, if you are struggling in your business, don’t change companies or try to cut your Broker out of the deal. It’s not the company, it’s you. Wake up tomorrow morning and do these things:

  • Put a smile on your face. It’s much nicer than a McDonald’s uniform .
  • Mail every expired and withdrawn listing in your market a letter.
  • Implement a FSBO drip campaign .
  • Review the listings you do have and figure out why they haven’t sold yet, then make a change.
  • Call ten people from your data base.
  • Call your current customers/clients and ask then for a referral.
  • Preview three active listings in your market area.
  • Go to lunch in your market area, visit five business owners and drop off your biz cards.
  • And anything else you can think of that’s proactive.

The next morning, repeat and keep at it. For how long? Forever. Remember if your business is slow, then your job is finding business. And if your business is booming, then you job is finding business. It’s a simple plan but it works.

I say , "get off your butt and go to work". What say you?


"All Things Are Difficult Before They Are Easy"

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS


OK so my new partner is suckin’ up again!!! She’s good at it too. Check it out………..


Via Wendy Rulnick “Its Wendy!” Destin Short Sales (Rulnick Realty, Inc.):

Short Sale Class by Wendy Rulnick and Broker Bryant


A few weeks ago my life started to change.   I was asked to step outside my boundaries and outside of my comfort zone.   What happened?  I “met” Bryant Tutas otherwise known as “Broker Bryant” on Activerain.   You may have heard of him- he’s one of the best-known real estate bloggers around.   His writing is insightful, direct, witty and often very funny.   He’s got quite a following.

Anyway, in the past several months I started to notice Broker Bryant’s comments on my blog posts and others.   I noticed we were “simpatico”, of like-mind, on many topics, notably short sales.   We exchanged a few emails, and a couple of months ago, Bryant asked me if I was interested in doing a joint venture. Among other things, he wanted to know if I would do a live webinar with him about short sales.

Well, ignorant me, I did not even know what a webinar was!   I had to look it up. If you don’t know– a webinar is an “online live educational presentation”.   Bryant and I would teach real estate agents about short sales.   That idea scared the heck out of me, but how could I say “no”?   I love short sales!   I love discussing them, analyzing them, doing them and answering questions about them.   I welcome calls from agents in my area or around the country looking for information or direction on short sales.   I love helping the consumer with short sales.   And that is what I do all day.   So does Bryant.

But what would we have to offer that would be different?   There are a lot of “classes” about short sales.   The difference here is that we are both practicing real estate agents who spend 90% of our time listing and selling short sales.   And we do them from beginning to end.   Bryant and I do all our own negotiating, we don’t refer out to a law firm, title agency, assistant or loss mitigation company.   (Not that there is anything wrong with that).   We are the ones on the telephone on hold with the negotiators- every day, getting sales closed.   We think that our practical experience with the day-to-day workings of short sales can benefit others.   We want to share what we’ve learned in a forum to provide concrete knowledge.

Enough about that.   I am still nervous.   We’ve never done this before- although Bryant has appeared on other webinars.   So forgive us in advance if we goof up a little, or pause or stutter (especially me).   What you will get, I promise, if you sign up for our webinar- is practical, usable, comprehensive information on short sales. 
The first session of our five-part series is Saturday, June 27 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.   Join us.

Short Sale Basics

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker Rulnick Realty, Inc.

It’s not the Lenders job to get you paid!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

$27 a monthHi folks. I want to address Jim Paulson’s recent post……….

Realtors need to stand up to lenders on short sales!

In his post Jim is talking about the frustration with Lenders changing our commission on Short Sales AND Brokers changing the co-broke offered in the MLS based on what the Lender will allow. Please stop over and read Jim’s post. It is “Member’s Only”.

Here’s the deal. MLSs should not allow the co-broke to be altered. This is wrong and needs to be changed. But……

As for the lender adjusting the commission, this is NOT what they are doing. The lender has no authority over my listing agreement. They do however have authority over how much of THEIR money they will pay TOWARDS a commission.

If you have an agreement with your Seller to pay you x% and the lender will only allow y% then the Seller simply pays the difference UNLESS you decide to let them off the hook. The lender’s decision does not alter the listing agreement. Thinking it does….is a myth. Unfortunately it’s one that most agents just roll over and accept. Not me.

If you are on the Buyer side of the short sale then simply have an agreement (BBA) with the Buyer where he will pay you a minimum commission. That way if the co-broke is reduced the buyer can pay the difference. If the Buyer can get a good deal on the purchase then this should be no issue. If it is….the simply explain you can’t show him Short Sales.

I had a lender, GMAC, try to reduce my commission yesterday. They explained to me that it was their policy and there was nothing they could do about it. what I said was:

There are 3 agents being paid out of this x% commission. Why am I being asked to reduce? I did my job and I’m only making a little more than $x,000 on this deal. GMAC needs to get in line with market conditions. Realtors(r) are working our butts off to help GMAC avoid the cost of a foreclosure only to have money taken from us. I won’t change it. Who can I talk to that can make that decision?”  

They left it alone.

We are in complete control of our compensation as long as we remember who is paying us and write our commission agreements (BBA or listing) accordingly. And don’t just fold when asked to reduce. Stand strong and voice your opinion. They may just agree. If they don’t then discuss it with your Seller….after all that is who you have the agreement with.

Now having said all this…..I have taken less in the past and I’m sure I will in the future BUT it’s a decision made between me and the Seller NOT the Lender.

AND…..whatever I get paid……I will fully honor the co-broke being offered in the MLS. It’s the fair way to handle business. If you don’t have the ability to get paid then I suggest you offer a lower co-broke. One that you know you can honor. Better yet….learn how to negotiate. Isn’t that why we get paid? What say you?

Want to learn more?

$97 Webinar

Copyright © 2009 | All Rights Reserved

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

***The content of this blog is solely my opinion***

A Loan Modification May Cost You 50 Points on Your FICO Score!!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Florida real estate broker


Hi folks. I just read this and had to share……

“Unfortunately, the “Big Three” credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – have issued new guidelines that allow lenders to report new mortgage loan modifications as “partial payment status,” a designation that could lower an individual’s credit score by more than 50 points.”

It’s my opinion that being penalized for doing a loan modifcation is just BS to the nth degree! It’s like why bother? Why not just go ahead and do the short sale and move on with your life?

What will they think of next?

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

***The content of this blog is solely my opinion***

Copyright © 2009 | All Rights Reserved



How to list a property that’s already listed.

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

for saleDo you ever take post dated listings? What I mean is, a potential Seller calls you up and wants to get together and discuss placing their property on the market, the catch is, they are currently listed with another company. What do you do? Well, I’ll tell you what I do, I go over and take the listing. Did you know this was perfectly ethical?

What you can’t do is try to convince them to cancel their existing agreement or bad mouth their current Realtor. Also, you must post date the listing agreement. But other than those three things, this is an acceptable way to do business. I actually run across this quite often in my business and never hesitate to take the listing.

My feeling on this is that, these Sellers just want to sell their house, if their current situation is not working out for them, then, I am more than happy to give them another option. How do you feel about this? Do you do it?

Would it make you angry if I did this on one of your listings?

Well, I’ve never had it happen on one of my listings but don’t think it would bother me at all. I too want my Sellers to sell their house and if for some reason I can’t get the job done, I would want them to seek another REALTORS(R) services. Heck I may even make a recommendation to them.

Here’s the section in our Code of Ethics that covers this situation.

Standard of Practice 16-6

  • When REALTORS® are contacted by the client of another REALTOR® regarding the creation of an exclusive relationship to provide the same type of service, and REALTORS® have not directly or indirectly initiated such discussions, they may discuss the terms upon which they might enter into a future agreement or, alternatively, may enter into an agreement which becomes effective upon expiration of any existing exclusive agreement. (Amended 1/98)

So, the next time this situation presents itself, go take the listing. Don’t feel bad about it, just do it. It’s all a part of good business practices and it helps the consumer out. And that really is what it’s all about. What say you?

Short Sale Approval letters

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Tutas Towne Realty, Inc

Hi folks. Ever wondered what your Short Sale Approval will look like? Wonder know more. I have embedded several Short Sale approvals that I recently received for my sellers. These will give you an idea of what to expect when you sell your Central Florida Short Sale.

I have included:

  • Wells Fargo Short sale Approval
  • Green Tree Short Sale Approval
  • HomEq Short Sale Approval
  • ASC Short Sale Approval
  • 1st Horizon Short Sale Approval
  • PNC Bank Short Sale Approval

I have also included a sample Promissory Note. Folks, if you need help avoiding foreclosure in Central Florida then give me a call. I CAN help. OK?

Short Sale Approvals

Florida Property search

Available Short Sale Agent Training:

Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Are you a Florida REALTOR(R) looking for a change? Check it out.


Copyright © 2009 | All Rights Reserved Weekend Update

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Good morning fellow and future Short Sale SuperStars,

First Wendy and I would like to welcome all of our 25 new members this week. We also had 611 Unique visitors this week and 5,282 page views. 23% of our traffic is coming from the search engines. What that means is that we have buyers and sellers visiting the site.

In fact, we actually had a couple of sellers join this week. So…..we want them to be able to search for a Short Sale SuperStar. With that in mind we have made a couple of changes this week to make it easier to use the search function. But in order for the search function to work properly we need your help.

Please go to your personal main page*** (My Page) and right under your picture click on manage my page. Then click on profile. If you scroll down you’ll notice we changed the profile questions. Add your first name, last name, State and city.

  • ***What? You don’t have a personal main page? If I were doing Short Sales or wanted to learn howe to do Short Sales then I know that I would pop over and join the site. It’s FREE!!!

OK now where was I……..Now you may already have your name on the site but go ahead and do it again. Also, you can add more than one city. Just separate the cities by commas. For example: Kissimmee,Orlando,Haines City.

Once this information is there people can use the search function under “Members” and pull up Short Sale Agents by State, city or name. Also, we’ll be adding a Google site search to the front page. So making these changes to your profile is very important. OK?

A couple of more items. We created a ShortSaleSuperStars fan page on Facebook. You can become a fan by clicking on the “Fan Box” in the right hand side bar of the main page of the site.

OK….I think that’s it. As always Wendy and I appreciate your feedback. Good or bad we want to know. Pop us an email.

Almost forgot…..thanks to everyone that purchased The Negotiator Interview, Short Sale Agent Training or the Short Sale Listing/Submission Package this week. The little bit of income Wendy and I get from these products helps to pay for the running of the site. And hopefully the products offered have helped you in your business. We will be launching new stuff in the near future.

We hope everyone has a great week. Don’t forget to invite a friend to join the site. We want to have 1,000 members by the end of the year.

Until next week…..Learn, Know and Grow.

Together we CAN make a difference!

Wendy and Bryant

7 months after submission we have Short Sale approval from Chase!!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS


Yep….7 months ago I submitted a complete Short Sale Package to Chase on April 27 2009. After many months of frustration I received another Chase Short Sale Approval yesterday. We are closing on 11 December.

You know sometimes I am left just scratching my head. This one should have been a no brainer. The Sellers are both retired and disabled. They were able to purchase this home in late 2005 using a $100,000 cash settlement they received from a wrongful death suit for their son. Their son had always wanted to live in Florida so they took the $100,000 and put it down on a house that was selling for $183,000.

Of course what they couldn’t have predicted was that their daughter who was supposed to move in with them and help with the mortgage payment decided after living in Florida for 2 months that she didn’t like it. So she moved, Mom and Dad were now stuck with a house they couldn’t afford.

When I first met them they were very depressed and couldn’t wait for a buyer to come along and pay them $150,000 so they could move back home. Their mortgage balance at the time was about $90,000 and they didn’t understand that their property was worth far less. How could they be upside down on their mortgage already?

These folks had done everything “right”. They bought a house that was priced OK and put 60% down. Who would have ever though that within 24 months their equity was gone. And this wasn’t just paper equity that we hear about so often. It was $100,000 CASH!

I sure wish I would have met them before they placed all the money they had into a property. Telling people of this age they have lost everything is by far the worse part of my job.

Eventually I was able to get them to understand that all of their equity was gone. They needed to pack up and move back to NY to be with friends and family. So that’s what they did. Almost 80 years old and having to start over while living with their daughter. My job is so sad some days.

And to make it worse. They told me the only reason they were even doing the short sale was so I could get paid because I was so honest with them. WOW!!! Incredible strength in the face of adversity. It’s almost over Alline….I promise.


  • Kissimmee Poinciana Florida


  • 1st mortgage with Chase for $100,000. They agreed to accept $35,000 (35% or what’s owed)


  • The biggest one was getting Chase to understand that these folks were disabled living on Social security and did not have bank accounts and did file tax returns.
  • Keeping the same Buyer on board for 7 months.

And there you have it. Another successful Short Sale approval from Tutas Towne Realty. 

Do NOT be foreclosed on! Avoid foreclosure. Short Sales DO close.

Want to find out more?


The BIO for Bryant Tutas

Copyright © 2009 | All Rights Reserved



Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I love my new partner Wendy. There I said it!!!!

Via Wendy Rulnick “Its Wendy!” Destin Short Sales (Rulnick Realty, Inc.):

It was a hectic year for short sales, but there was some good news, big and little, that brings hope for 2010.  Here are my top short sale stories for the past twelve months, some personal, some national.

Best Destin Short Sale
1.  The first story is a Happy Short Sale Saga.  One of my Destin Florida sellers regained employment, so did not have to sell the home he and his family desperately loved!  I gladly withdrew the property from the market.  Specializing in short sales is often more than closing the sale.

2.  HAP – The Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) is a government program expanded to help our military members who have orders to relocate from bases such as Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field.  Many of these servicemen are upside-down in their mortgages, and HAP is supposed to cover 90% of their loss so they can avoid foreclosure.  HAP has not helped many yet and is flooded with applications. The good news is that they are improving their information and refining their system, so hopefully more of our military will be helped in 2010. 

3.  HAFA – The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative Program is supposed to get short sale lenders/servicers on board to speed up approvals for homeowners of primary residences.  It offers guidelines and incentives to pre-approve short sales and forgive deficiencies.  We’ll watch carefully in the spring to report on HAFA progress- or not.

4.  Short Sale Training – My first webinar marked the beginning of my business partnership with Bryant Tutas.  I prepared for the webinar with nervous trepidation, but ended up loving doing these classes! Simply put, it was a blast!  Not only did Bryant and I educate others, it helped me grow personally. We have since incorporated as REGrow, LLC.  Expect more good things in 2010. 


Short Sale Superstars


5.  is the community Bryant Tutas and I founded to help short sale agents across the country “Learn, Know and Grow”.  In little over five months, our group is now almost 750 members strong.  Here, short sale professionals jump in to share secrets and information about every and any lender or short sale situation you can imagine.  Here, they are unlocking the knowledge to save more homeowners from foreclosure and do it at the highest levels.  This is a tight community of giving short sale leaders that is open for membership. If you have not yet joined – we welcome you to come with us on this exciting adventure.

As a final note, for 2010, I hope we all find greater solutions to the foreclosure and home ownership crisis that is touching the lives of every one of us.

It’s Wendy!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR     Rulnick Realty, Inc.

Destin FL Real Estate

Destin Short Sales & Pre Foreclosure Help.

Read Wendy’s Destin Real Estate Blog for agents

Call toll-free 1-877-ITS-WNDY (1-877-487-9639) or local 850-650-7883 ext 204

Email Wendy:

Wendy is a short sale and pre-foreclosure specialist and has been featured in “Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine” and “Florida Realtor Magazine”. Call Wendy Rulnick, Broker/Owner,to list and sell your home or condo on the Emerald Coast of Florida in Walton, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa County-  Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Crestview, Rosemary Beach, Mary Esther, Shalimar, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field. 

Lock and load, baby!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 1969 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Let’s talk about listing presentations. From what I’ve been reading lately I guess there are two schools of thought on these, one appointment listing presentations and two appointment listing presentations. I have to be honest with you, I had never heard of a two appointment listing until recently. You see, I have never had any training in Real Estate. When I first got my license 12 years ago I worked for a vacation rental management company and was the only one that had a Real Estate license. From there “The Lovely Wife” and I opened up Tutas Towne Realty and we had always worked by ourselves, until she retired about 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve gone solo. So no training. I have been through the GRI series, attended quite a few educational classes at our local board and of course, licensee and broker classes, but I am mostly self taught through trial and error when it comes to actual sales techniques.

Anyway, two appointment listing presentations are foreign to me and I am not able to advise on them one way or another.

There aren’t too many things that I do well but pricing and taking listings are two things I do very well. And since I have never done it any other way, the one appointment listing presentation is what I’m good at. These are the steps I take to get in and out in 90 minutes, with the sign in the ground, all photos, measurements and paperwork complete.

Please remember this may not work in all markets. My market is limited to one PUD, it just happens to have 65,000 people and most of the homes are fairly similar in style. And I have sold hundreds of homes in this neighborhood. Some homes I have sold three and four times. Okay, so here goes.

1. Pre-qualify the Sellers on the phone prior to meeting with them. This includes finding out their reason for selling, mortgage balance, how long they have lived in the house and details about the home. Do not under any circumstances discuss pricing or commission on the phone. If this comes up the answer is “I have to see your house in order to give you an accurate opinion of value” and “Commissions vary greatly from company to company. We can discuss this once we get together. Right now, I want to concentrate on how much money I can put in your pocket. That’s’ really the only figure that matters to you, right?”

2. Prepare your CMA based on public records and the information they have already given you. You should be able to come within a few thousand dollars of true market value, subject to verifying the condition of the house.

3. E-mail them this information in advance if they are able to receive it. Do not give them your price opinion or commission rate. Just comps, marketing info and such.

4. Prepare the listing agreement, MLS data sheets and disclosures in advance with your commission and all other information except price. Make copies. This should not be hand written. If it’s typed they are less likely to question or change things. Like my commission.

5. Day of presentation arrive exactly on time. Not five minutes early and not five minutes late. This is very important. You want them to know immediately that you do what you say, when you say.

6. The first thing I do is let them show me the house if they want or I look on my own. You can even take notes on a pad or talk into a recorder. They like that. This takes about 5 minutes.

7. Then guide them to the dining room or kitchen table. No breakfast bars and no coffee tables. A big table, with them sitting side by side across from you. And start out with chit chat. Get to know them. Listen to what they are telling you. You are fishing for their hot buttons. This takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.

8. Then I start my presentation by telling them a little about how I do business and what they can expect by working with me. I am trying to hit on their hot buttons at this point. Win their trust. This takes about 10 minutes.

9. Next I get into pricing, going over my analysis, what happens when we get an offer, pre-qualifying buyers, possible closing issues, inspections and answering any questions they may have. Notice how I’m already talking as if I have the listing and the house is already under contract. About 20 to 30 minutes.

10. Then I hit them with the close “I’ll need a key today. I have my sign in the car and a lock box in my briefcase. Here, you guys sign here and here and while you are doing that I’m going to take some pictures and get my measurements, so I can get you up and running today.” Then fill in the price and slide over the paperwork and two pens and get up and start cutting on lights and taking pictures. I do not explain contracts to customers. I am not an Attorney and that is not my job. I may give them a brief summary limited to: here’s the price, here’s the length of the agreement and here’s where I get paid. Also, here’s the Property Disclosure Statement with a self addressed stamped envelope, complete it and mail it back to me.

By the time I am done taking photos and measurements they have finished signing everything, including their copies, and have placed a key on the table. 30 minutes.

I thank them and tell them I am hurrying back to my office to edit photos and get them in the MLS, so they are up and running before the morning’s hot sheets hit the system. Put on my lock box, stick a sign in the yard. And I’m out of there in 90 minutes. Next!

Usually, I will even call them on the way back to my office(home) to tell them how excited I am. And of course they will be hearing from me everyday.

Oh, by the way, I truly am excited. I love helping Sellers sell their homes. I want to do everything I can to get this done for them.

So that’s it. Broker Bryant’s, 90 minute, one visit listing presentation. Lock and load baby!

About us

I am a licensed real estate Broker in the state of Florida. My opinions on real estate have been formed from my experiences and 15 years of working in the business. My opinions are in line with Florida Real Estate laws and the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics. Your State’s laws may differ. So do your own homework before implementing any of my business practices into your business.