How to Be a Homeowners Advocate

06/11/2014 01:56 PM (CST)

handshakeThere are plenty of real estate coaches teaching various techniques of door-knocking. The truth is that door-knocking is very time consuming and has a terrible response rate. Furthermore, exhausted door-knocking real estate agents tend to ruin the slim chance they had to connect with the homeowner by showing up with dollar signs in their eyes, desperate to score a listing.

For those tired of door-knocking, we recommend Lee Honish’s Monster Marketing System. It works seamlessly with RealtyProx and National Closing Center. The Monster will get you face-to-face appointments with homeowners; RealtyProx will help you track and manage transactions once you secure a listing, and National Closing Center’s processors will make sure your short sale closes and you get paid.

The easiest way to get short sale listings is by going back to your roots as a real estate agent. Remember that fiduciary duty that you as a real estate professional owe to your client? If you reach out to a distressed homeowner as their consultant and advocate guided by your fiduciary duty even before you have signed anything with them, you are going to win them over sooner or later.

Remember, if the homeowner is late with their payments, you’re not the only one contacting them. In fact, scores of real estate agents and investors have probably spoken to them and definitely spammed them with their flyers. So how do you differentiate yourself?

By being an advocate.

Here are some useful tips on how to be your advocate self during the meeting with a homeowner.

Do not try to convert the homeowner during your first meeting. How many times you trusted a complete stranger that you’ve never seen before with something as big and important as your home and financial security of your family?

“I have a loan modification…” Just accept that and move on as a consultant and advocate, not a real estate agent.

Don’t sign anything with the homeowner in terms of you being responsible for handling their loan modification.

Do ask them if it’s OK for you to look at their mortgage documents and bank correspondence and follow up.

Do encourage them to contact the bank and tell them what questions they should ask (“Is my loan modification being processed?” “When can I expect an answer?” “If I have a sale date, is it possible that I have a loan modification in progress?”).

Do ask them if they are willing to show you their correspondence with the bank and keep consulting them during their attempts to get a loan mod.

Let the homeowner succeed or fail with the loan modification. Don’t pretend to be a loan modification expert, just a homeowners’ advocate who may know a thing or two.

In the end, their loan modification is going to get approved or denied. If it’s denied, the homeowner is not going to blame you for the failure and will most likely be open to explore other options (short sale, for instance).

Guess whom they’re going to choose as their listing agent? Yes, someone who has held their hand and helped them navigate through the loan mod without taking it over and making it their legal responsibility. At that moment, the homeowner will see you as an advocate without the commission breath and dollar signs in your eyes!

If the loan modification gets approved and they get the trial mod, it’s very likely that they are going to re-default. Once again, guess whom they’re going to contact once they do.

Also, you should have their phone number and email address at this point, so don’t forget to check on them once in a while and ask if everything is OK with their loan mod, did the bank send them anything else that could use another set of eyes?

Continue being engaged, but in a manner of an advocate and with clearly established boundaries that you’re here to help (for free!) and consult, but that you’re not here to give legal advice or become responsible for the outcome of the loan mod.