882: Short Sales Uncensored with Nicole Espinosa, The Short Sale Queen

February 17, 2020
With thousands of successful closes on short sales (and 146 of them just last year), it’s no wonder why Nicole Espinosa is known as “The Short Sale Queen.” On today’s podcast, Nicole gives her no-holds-barred take on short sales in 2020 and explains what agents need to know before representing distressed sellers. Nicole also shares her thoughts on what it takes to build a real estate business, how to generate more referrals, and why there will always be a need for short sale experts.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • About Nicole and her business [2:20]
  • How short sales work [3:37]
  • Tips for taking on your first short sale [7:35]
  • Questions to ask at a short sale appointment [10:23]
  • What you NEED to know before taking on a short sale [16:53]
  • Why there will always be short sales [17:55]
  • Nicole’s sales figures [20:24]
  • How to run a referral-based business [24:10]
  • Advice on expansion and business growth [27:02]
  • Why hiring the right people is so hard [33:29]
  • Nicole’s advice to new agents [35:50]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Nicole Espinosa
Nicole Espinosa best selling author of “Short Sales Uncensored” is the leading short sale expert based out Dallas, TX.  Before Nicole did short sales she has a background as an REO manager working with over 50 lenders. Nicole has closed thousands of short sale transactions successfully and continue to process hundreds a month for clients nationwide. Nicole has been negotiating short sales in the DFW and Houston market since 2011 and launched her company “The Short Sale Queen” in 2019 allowing her team to process short sales nationwide.
Nicole has been featured on several real estate panels, podcasts, and TV segments. She also teaches classes on short sales to other brokerages, title companies and realtor associations. Nicole’s extensive knowledge in distressed properties has made her the market expert when dealing with difficult transactions. When she’s not working on real estate transactions, she is a mentor to her real estate team, and mom to her 2 adorable children, Elias and Emma.
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Matt: Hello, Rockstar Nation. This is Matt Templeton, your host for today on Real Estate Rockstars. Today, I have an amazing guest, Nicole Espinosa. She has a really interesting niche market and a ton of education for you. Nicole Espinosa is the short sale queen. She did over 146 short sales last year and carries almost that many listings at any given time, helping sellers that are in distress. Today, we’re going to unpack Nicole’s business and find out how you can maybe enter that market or as you find those people, refer them to the right person to take great care of your clients. Nicole, tell us a little bit more. I introed a little bit. You’re the short sale queen. What do we need to know about that?

Nicole Espinosa: You definitely hit the nail on the head. It’s definitely a niche. Even though I am a real estate agent, I’m in a completely different world than most agents that really just don’t even understand because most of our conversations are with lenders and dealing with lost litigation and things like that, terms you usually don’t hear on a daily basis. We are nation-wide. We process short sales in nine different markets right now. We got a little bit ahead of ourselves, and we were in ’19, and then like, “Wait. Stop. That happened too fast.” [chuckles]

We were going wide, trying to narrow it down. It’s all we do, and because it is so specialized, I think it’s really important that just in general, that agents are specializing in something, but with short sales specifically because it’s so different than normal transactions. We really don’t have time to do anything else. It would be a disservice to our clients.

Matt: Wow. You and I have been around for a while. We’ve seen several different markets. I was doing some stats the other day on the National Association of Realtors and realtors in the market. More than half the agents that are in the market right now have only been in the business for three years or less. We’ve got all these agents that they don’t remember back to ’08, ’09, 2010, 2011 when short sales were really popular. Tell those agents that may not even know what this means, what is a short sale?

Nicole: Absolutely. What it would look like for a real estate agent is that they are going on a listing appointment and the seller is telling them, “Hey. I owe,” let’s use real numbers, “I owe $150,000,” and they’re looking at the comps and they’re like, “I can’t list your house for more than $100,000.” Then what do you do at that point? The seller doesn’t have any money to come to closing with, and there’s only so much we can do as realtors to reduce our commissions or try to make it work. In those situations, when you’re dealing with the expired listings, because they couldn’t sell, because of price, or you’re trying to help out a homeowner that owes more than the house is worth, that’s a short sale. If they’re behind, they have some type of financial hardship. That’s what it looks like for a real estate agent.

Matt: Got you. It’s a negotiation with the bank to take less than what they owe on that property, and the seller has a hardship so they’re needing to get out of that situation.

Nicole: Correct.

Matt: Now, how long does a short sale normally take? What’s the time process for that?

Nicole: That is a great question. It’s everybody’s question, but it’s so hard to answer because it really depends on the person processing it. The agent has so much control of the process. They have control of whether they’re submitting the right documents, if they’re talking to the right people, if they’re asking the right questions. For us, our average is three months from start to finish, which is really great because the industry standard was a year, and that’s if it gets approved. There’s so many moving parts and so many variables, but that’s our average timeframe.

Matt: Three months that we’re in the seller’s living room to the seller is closed or the seller is-

Nicole: Correct.

Matt: -approved. The seller’s closed. Three months on average from they raise their hand and say, “I need help. I’m in a bad situation,” to we’re out of your bad situation moving onto the next thing.

Nicole: Correct.

Matt: I know you don’t work with a lot of buyers. You have team members that work with buyers that come off of those listings. When a seller does a short sale, how soon can they buy again?

Nicole: Credit is a revolving factor. We got to make sure that the rest of their credit is good, but, after completing a short sale, a seller can purchase a property two to two and half years after closing. It’s really good for them because they need that time to rebuild. I always tell our clients, “Hey, look. This is the perfect opportunity to fix everything else” because usually when they’re behind on one thing, it’s a domino effect. They’re behind on everything else. They spend those two years leasing, and then they can end up purchasing again.

Matt: Awesome. Keep those people in your lead pipeline. They’re going to turn into buyers again two to three years from now.

Nicole: Absolutely.

Matt: Great. I know that oftentimes when we’re working with a short seller, or someone’s doing the short sale, really we’re talking to the bank most of the time, and banks, are you seeing are doing the majority of short sales? Who’s the easiest bank to work with? I’m just curious what you’re seeing out there in the market.

Nicole: They’re all equally a pain in the butt. [chuckles] There’s not one that sticks out. I can say that it changes just because the guidelines change. It’s really not about the servicer. I think the better question is who is the worst to work with because they’re all equally terrible. As far as the easiest, on top of my head would probably be, only because they’ve been in so much trouble legally, that they’re a lot easier to work, and we have contacts there. Then I can say the same thing about Wells Fargo because we have contacts there too. They’re just extremely picky. It depends on the day. Usually, I’m upset at one more than the other on that day.

Matt: It sounds like you have the inside scoop on this, and obviously you’ve done it. You know the process. You know the documents. You know what’s going to happen, what’s going to go awry. I run Keller Williams offices and have Keller Williams things, and oftentimes I’m talking to agents, and they’ll have a seller that’s in distress and they say, “We’re going to have to do a short sale.” They’ve never done that before. What are the pitfalls? What are the problems with that? You’ve got a lot of experience. Where do you see that going problematically?

Nicole: The best advice I can give to an agent that’s thinking about taking one on is to make sure that you either have resources, that you have somewhere to go to to ask questions because here’s what ends up happening. It’s like the blind leading the blind. The banks are not going to tell you what they need. They’re going to tell you after the fact, “Well, we shut it down, because you didn’t send us this.” Most agents take the approach of, “Well, I submitted it. I’m just waiting for them to get back with me.” Then the client ends up getting foreclosed on. Exactly.

Matt: “Waiting for them to get back to me.” [laughs]

Nicole: Just like any real estate transaction, your success is in asking the right questions. If you don’t know the questions to ask, how are you going to be successful in the transaction, especially because every short sale is different? For example, if you have an FHA Wells Fargo, it’s going to be a completely different process than a Wells Fargo that’s a conventional loan. If you don’t understand that, you don’t even know where to start. If you’re going to take on a short sale, either get the information that you need, maybe someone that’s already done them before, but don’t practice on someone that’s in foreclosure, because to you it’s a listing that’s lost. To the person, they’re trusting you as the professional, and now they lost their house because you didn’t know what to do.

Matt: Wow, and we know that– You just said, with a short sale, they can buy in two to three years. With a foreclosure, what? Seven years or more, sometimes?

Nicole: Seven plus from the time the deed’s recorded, and sometimes it takes years to do that. A lot of times, we’ve seen 9, 10 years. Short sale is definitely a lot better option. Not only that, but we are settling their debt. They’re no longer worried about the liability of that difference. That’s really important because that way these homeowners truly get to walk away free and clear and have a fresh start.

Matt: It’s interesting. I have my coffee mug and on it, it says, “For the love of real estate and for the lives of our people.” When I hear you talk about that idea of this is their life, this is their home. I always want to convey this idea to new real estate agents or even agents that have been in the business for a while that have gotten very transactional. Yes, we can get a lot of volume. We can sell a lot of houses, but these are people’s lives. We love real estate. Let’s really do this at a high level. Let’s create amazing customer experiences, not just, “Oh, we tried our best and wash our hands of it,” and, “I didn’t make a commission. Oh well.” This is a big deal. This is a big, and important

Now, obviously, you’ve already convinced me that I just want to refer my short sales to you or someone else and I don’t want to touch this. I stopped touching short sales after the last time that short sales went out of vogue. What question should the agent be asking if they’re on an appointment and they realize this is going to be a short sale? What things do they need to get– What data do they need to get right away so that they can get it in the hands of someone like you?

Nicole: Absolutely. The first thing I would ask is, are they in foreclosure, or do they have a foreclosure date? This question is so important because if you don’t know that you have a timeline, a lot of times clients or homeowners will reach out when it’s too late with– They only have a sense of urgency because they have a foreclosure date set and use the professional. They may not tell you. Of course, you’re going to get some clients that are trying to pull one over on you, but most of the time, it’s ignorance. Most of the time, new sellers, they don’t open their mail. These are a different type of client.

Most agents are used to homeowners that the homeowners are driving the bus. The homeowners are the ones, no. In the short sale, you’re driving the bus and the transaction. It’s a completely different perspective and mind shift change. A lot of agents, we can’t get on board with that, and they’re like, “Well, the seller didn’t tell me.” Well, you’re the professional, you have to ask.

The number one thing that I would ask is there a sale date? That way you know if you’re up against a timeframe. Then I would find out who the lender is and what type of loans. What’s owed against the property? That’s really important because you could be dealing with multiple lenders. You could be dealing with a lot of different things that you are responsible for negotiating. I would start there. Those are two really important questions if you think that this client is a potential short sale.

Matt: I want to recap that because that last two or three minutes is golden for those of you that are talking to distressed homeowners. Is there a sale date? Are we in foreclosure yet? Do we know yet? That was huge. Who is the lender because if I’m going to hand this off to Nicole or another short sale person, I’ve got to know who we’re going to be dealing with, and maybe I need to figure out who the specialist in that area. Sorry.

Nicole knows all the banks but Ocwen and Wells Fargo, she’s got people at. I go under that. Then what type of loans? FHA, conventional VA, uninsured, et cetera. What type of loans because that’s going to matter significantly? Then what is owed and, specifically, is there more than just the principal balance? They may give you one statement and then there’s a second loan, a heel lock on there too and you don’t even know that you’re going to go negotiate the second one.

Nicole: Let’s take it a little bit further. Not only what is owed, but what’s the actual payoff because most people look at their mortgage statement and they see their unpaid principal balance but what you need to understand is that if somebody is behind, that unpaid principal balance is only based off if someone was current. Taking a step further, there have been times where the seller is convinced that they owe $200,000, and then we’ve gotten the payoff and it comes back at $260,000 and you’re like, “Oh crap. I was basing all my numbers off of that $200,000 and now–” Always get a payoff. Sometimes when we’re at the appointment, we just have them call right then and there because they don’t know.

Matt: Rockstar Nation, that is some of the best advice. Even if you’re dealing with traditional real estate, oftentimes, people don’t know what their is. They see the mortgage balance. Even if they’re not behind, they’re still going to own some interest on that closing. They’ll get to closing and they’ll say, “That’s not what my balance in my statement said.” You’re like, “No, that’s what the bank told us the payoff was.”

Knowing how are calculated and especially if they’re behind or if there’s judgments, if there’s other things, knowing that the payoff is going to be higher than what they were thinking. Then your job as the real estate professional is to set those expectations, to help to clarify what– It’s their situation. You didn’t create the situation, but now you’re helping unfold it, explain it, clarify it, and set expectations around it. That payoff recommendation is huge.

Now, the next question I want to ask you, Nicole, because I’ve been doing a lot of traditional real estate and selling a lot of homes, and the market is amazing. I think, “Why short sales? Isn’t everybody appreciating? Their homes are going up in value. Short sales are for when the market’s going down and things are getting worse. Are short sales still necessary in such a good market?

Nicole: Oh, absolutely. I would disagree on that it’s such a good market just because I feel like this last year, we were preparing for a major downturn because we’re seeing foreclosure and default rate go up and it’s shifting to a buyer’s market. When that happens, sellers lose the power to be able to sell and sell quickly. In these situations, that’s where you see more and more short sells, but when we were in our prime, when you were getting out of short sales, and I was still doing it, when you were talking about earlier, I remember my broker at the time and he’s like, “What? You specialize in short sales? There’s no short sales around here.”

I was trying to explain to him, I was like, “Look, in any market, there’s going to be a need for short sales because it’s not just based off of the price or the market going up. It’s based off of someone’s financial situation.” You’ve got people that are always going to have hardships. The reason why they get themselves in a no-equity position is because they get into the trap of loan modifications. They get into the trap of forbearance.”

That’s a whole other podcast, [chuckles] talking about loan [unintelligible 00:20:41] because I can get on my whole spiel about them. Just understand that that’s the main reason why. Now, of course, the market has a play and whether there are more short sales because if the prices are going down drastically, and people have to sell, they lose the power to be able to do that. The majority of the short sales are because of the financial hardship, not because of the condition of the house, which is a huge misconception because most people think short sales are these gutter disgusting homes.

We just sold the $900,000 short sale. Most people are just like, “What? This is a short sale?” I’m like, “Yes because the seller did bankruptcy and lost his job and had nothing to do. The house is absolutely beautiful.” That’s a huge misconception.

Matt: You hit the nail on the head and I set you up for that one. I know that oftentimes we think that it’s just about distress in the market. Also, there’s other forms of distress specifically in the homeowner and the person. Thank you for that. Short sales are still coming. They’re still all over the place. I want to take it a little bit into your business and some of the numbers of this and you shared with me that you focus on the listing side, the short sale side. You get for the buyer side. How many units did you guys sell last year?

Nicole: Total with buyer and with the listings, 221.

Matt: Awesome.

Nicole: Now, with just short sales, 146.

Matt: Wow. You’re very listing heavy, very short sale heavy?

Nicole: Yes.

Matt: Are most of your buyers coming from like signs and from leads from those short sales? Where are those buyers coming from?

Nicole: It’s a mix of both? The buyers are coming from, of course, just made calls because we have so many listings, but it’s also coming just from sphere of influence. I’m really out there on social media, people referring over. I’m going to be honest, I don’t even know where my super key is. [laughs] I don’t know buyer like years. I think the last buyer was my sister and I told her, “Figure out where you want to live.”

Most of it just comes– I refer everything out to the team because I practice what I preach. I don’t do anything else but short sales. I tell my agents and the people I mentor, I’m like, “You have to focus on one thing and go all in. That’s how you’re really going to be successful on a high level.” I think that answered your question. I so much.

Matt: How many active listings do you have right now?

Nicole: We’re at a little bit over 147. It’s in that range. It’s crazy because we’ve had massive growth in the last 18 months. We went national a year and a half ago. When we did it, I did it Nicole style, I just went all in. I was like, okay, just kidding. We can’t go into that many markets at once because I’m a salesperson too. I’m the CEO, but I’m a salesperson at heart. I’m saying no to business. No, we’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out. Then it caught up to us and I was like, okay, we have to narrow it down to these markets where we have boots on the ground because it’s not just in Texas anymore. It’s definitely been crazy. We’re actually trying to get up to 200 listings a month by the end of the year. That’s the 2020 goal.

Matt: Wow.

Matt: Now where are your listings coming from, if you don’t mind? Where are these leads coming in from?

Nicole: 100% referral. I’m 100% referral. We’re doing this on a high level and it’s from realtors, from investors. We now because of our growth and our influence on social media, I’m now getting homeowners coming directly to us but I built my entire business on 100% referral, which is a huge deal because running a business on a high level, it’s a couple of things. I get asked all the time, “How are you able to do that with consistency?” Because you don’t know– The thing is when you’re cold-calling and you’re prospecting, you can gauge, “I got to make this many contacts and then I’m going to get this much business” that when you’re a referral, you’re like, “Have my phone rang today?” [chuckles] Exactly.

It’s consistency with building relationships. Here’s another very simple concept, it’s doing what you say you’re going to do. Having realtors refer to us was a huge deal and it took a really, really long time to earn that trust and respect because most realtors are like, “I’ll figure it out myself.” We’ve been 100% referral for five years now. Before five years, I was getting some referrals. Then I was cold-calling and I’m grateful I don’t have to do that anymore. [laughs]

Matt: There’s a nugget there, guys. If you’re going to work by referral, you must do what you say you’re going to do. In order for that to keep going, that pipeline will dry up if people don’t believe that you’re actually going to fulfill on what you said you were going to do. I’m going to put you on the spot. For those nine markets you are in, what are they so that if we’ve got people that know people there they can refer them to you? What nine markets are you in right now?

Nicole: Pretty much all Texas. Anywhere in Texas, we can service. I just count that as one big market. We have a physical office in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio but we’re all over in Texas. New Jersey is another market that we’re in. We have a couple of agents there. Florida is going to be our second biggest market and specifically, Miami, Orlando, and then now Tampa. Look I’m doing my cheat sheet on my board. Wisconsin, we are in Boston, Massachusetts, and then I can send you a whole list. That’s all I remember at the top of my head.

Matt: Awesome. Can they find that on your website as well?

Nicole: Yes, they could find that all on my website.

Matt: Awesome, which is?

Nicole: It’s thessqueen.com.

Matt: thessqueen.com?

Nicole: T-H-E-S-Squeen.com and then you’ll have our YouTube channel about us, how you can refer leads to us, how you can get free education. We put a lot of different stuff on there.

Matt: Awesome. Now, I want to ask you a few more things about your business. Obviously, this is going to take a lot of systems to run. To do that many transactions, it’s going to take people, it’s going to take processes. What are some systems, some tools, some technology, people? What have you learned in this process in running a big real estate business?

Nicole: I wrote a book about short sales. It’s called Short Sales Uncensored. I only mentioned that because I could write a whole other book of what not to do when scaling because that has been the biggest pain in the butt, especially as entrepreneurs. I think we assume that if we’re really good at sales, that we have the capacity to be able to run a team at a high level and most people fail because we’re not good leaders and we’re not good at implementing. We’re the visionaries but we’re not the implementers. That has been a crash-and-burn learning experience for me. I think when you’re growing, you have to figure out, why do you want to grow? What is your intent to grow? Is it just because you think bigger is better because I promise it’s not, it just means more bodies, more stress, more everything. My main focus has been now profitability and less growth, which sounds crazy because we equate growth to profitability, but it’s not. You can grow massively and your bottom line sucks, where it’s like, “Why didn’t I just stay small.” That’s honestly been this whole journey, as we expanded, of less focus on growth and more on being profitable. That’s been a huge lesson learned.

As far as systems, I can tell you that if I had to start– This, again, is a whole other podcast of me rebuilding my business. The short version is that I had fired everyone and started over because I was at a capacity of 30 or 40 listings a month and I’m like, “Okay, I can get the business, but why can’t I grow?” It was because I was still in every part of the business. I could not grow, because I’m only one person. I wasn’t hiring intentionally for those roles. I started over. I hired my operations manager.

When you talk about the right people, the best advice I can give if you’re trying to grow a team, or if you’re trying to grow period, is to really figure out who you are. What’s your leadership style? Are you an integrator or are you a visionary? Because if you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you’re going to try to take on a bunch of things that you shouldn’t be. I have the ability to learn new things, but why should I if I need some counterpart, someone else to be able to fill that role, because they’re going to do it better than me, and half the time.

That was really important because, again, I’m a huge visionary. I’ve always seen this big picture but it was so hard to get there. I was failing the entire way to get there, like stumbling, crawling. I was trying to get there because of implementation, because I couldn’t see like, “Okay, well, how do we continue to streamline?” Because that’s not the way I think. The way I think is, “Hey, we’re going to get it done. It may be sloppy, it may be whatever, but we’re going to get it done,” and we could not scale that way.

With this many human beings, which is, by the way, a lot [laughs] of human beings on a monthly basis, the only way that we could scale was integrating this system. We use Infusionsoft. That’s our CRM, and it was waking down my business and saying, “Okay, what are things that we do multiple times a day?” If you look at it that way, you think, “Okay, how can I implement a system, a process, so that we don’t have to keep having the same conversation? Do we record a video? Do we, put, a link there, where people can go there instead?” Things like that, and that was a complete game-changer.

I wish that along my journey, that I would have gotten over myself, and learned from people that were doing this at a high level because I would have come at the place that we are now a lot quicker, and probably would have in a lot less during the way.

Matt: [laughs] I’ve got to unpack some of that because some of that was just so valuable. There was so many good pieces there. I want you guys to hear this, for our listeners, anything that we’re doing multiple times per day, do we need a video? Do we need a checklist? Do we need a system? How do we make this more streamlined, more automated, more leveraged, more simple, so that we can not keep repeating ourselves multiple times per day? I would even go as far as to say, even if we’re doing it multiple times per week, or multiple times per month, if I have to do anything more than three times, we should have a system for that. How do we document it, make it easy? Someone else does it or the computer does it.

Another piece that we’ll go back to was the visionary versus integrator and recognizing who am I? Now, I have to give Nicole props because she’s obviously implemented a lot of things despite being more of the visionary role. Early on, you just scraped by and figured it out. We’re going to get it done. That was her motto.

Nicole: That’s the hustle.

Matt: The hustle. You got to have hustle. If you’re a beginner, you don’t get to get away with no hustle. Don’t hear me that if you’re a visionary, you can just have the vision and never actually do anything. Yet, the visionary puts the hustle in place and then as quickly as possible, finds the next person, the operations manager, that integrator, and says, “Please help me because I’ve got this big vision. We’re going somewhere, but I need you to help me implement those systems.”

There were several but the other nugget that I really want to unpack is why do you want to grow? What’s the real reason you’re growing? Is it ego? Do you need to humble yourself and let somebody else help you? Do you need to just have a small business because growing would not be profitable or will not be beneficial for you? I think sometimes we grow because, “I want to look cool. I want to have those big units. I want to be like Nicole and have 220 units that everyone looks and thinks I’m so amazing.” Instead of saying, “Did I put money in the bank? Did I invest in real estate? Am I building a life for my family? Did I work too many hours I work?” Why do you want to grow?

I can already see that– Maybe Nicole’s learned this, just like I have from the lessons of dealing with people that eventually, you start to grow and you start to grow for the people, for the people that are in your business. Then we as soon as we grow because it’s our ego, and then we realize, “If I don’t like these people, if I’m not making their life better, then I better not be doing this. It’s not worth the time, the energy, the lives, the souls that I’m having to impact unless I have that more altruistic like, okay, we’re going to grow for the people that we’re able to serve, and the people who get to be part of our world. Let’s make sure we get the right people on the bus because otherwise, it’s a sucky bus.”

Nicole: Definitely.  [laughs]

Matt: Totally. I love that other piece. We usually ask what your favorite piece of system or technology is and you said Infusionsoft is what you guys use. I’ve used Infusionsoft for a long time as well.

Switching gears for a second, what’s one of the biggest problems that you’re dealing with, that you wish you could solve, or that you would wave a magic wand and try to solve?

Nicole: At the level that we’re at now, honestly, and this is something that is going to be a continual thing, it’s not going to ever change, is hiring. I think that anyone really on a high level is going to tell you the same thing. It’s finding good people because I’ve always had a great culture. I’ve always had phenomenal human beings, but in the beginning, it was they didn’t have the capacity to keep growing. They were great at this certain level but when we kept growing, they couldn’t grow with us. It was understanding people, what their role should be versus what they want it to be.

I think the biggest challenge, honestly, is just human beings. Finding people that align with your vision, that buy into it, and that really care as much as you do because they understand the bigger picture. If I could wave– It would just be like, “Can we hurry up and put the right people? It’s always looking for talent. I think that a lot of times, people find their immediate need and they can’t project their future hires. That’s something that is huge because a lot of times, we just say, “Okay, well, we’re drowning right now. We have this body, okay, we’re good.”

In order to avoid constantly, that drowning, overwhelming feeling, you have to continually look for talent so that you can project the highest for your organization. That was a huge thing for me because I was just like– Again, that whole hustle, get it done mentality really changed my perspective of saying, I don’t want to– I have a business of chaos anymore. I don’t want to have a business that’s stressful, there’s always a fire to put out. There always is going to be even if you don’t do short sales, just in traditional real estate, there’s always going to be fire. Get over it.

Just understand going into it that that’s going to happen. You’re going to be the solution provider in the situation. That would probably be our biggest battle always. Also, it’s exhausting interviewing, it’s exhausting training. It’s just, the whole thing.

Matt: That’s amazing advice. I’m not saying, no, I don’t want to go back. Going back to the very early version of you, the rookie agent version of the brand new agent, what advice would you give yourself that you know now and you wish you knew back then?

Nicole: Well, first of all, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re already a step ahead of me. I’m just going to put that out there because when I was in the business, we’re so in a world where it’s so blessed to have access to knowledge like this. People are willing to give back because when I got in the business, we had YouTube, but it wasn’t a high level. There wasn’t podcasts that I was aware of, or at least it wasn’t a thing. It was very difficult. Only a few went to seminars and things like that. Even then, they were only giving you like shallow information.

Honestly, there’s no excuse not to educate yourself. There’s no excuse to not dive in and to learn from other people. I wish that I would have valued that more because, again, we go back to ego. I don’t think it was ego, like, “Oh, I could do it all.” I think it was more of, “I’ll figure it out. I got this. I’ll figure out.” That stood in my way of growth for years, and it was very expensive. It was so expensive because I’d be like, “Oh crap, I just threw a couple of grand there. Not getting an ROI. Oh, crap. This system sucks. I should have done it like this.”

Really humbling myself and it wasn’t until I fired everyone that I was like, “Okay, starting from scratch. Let’s figure this out.” I got to the point where I was so overwhelmed. I was broke. I was making a crap ton of money on paper, but I was broke because I was putting all the money back into the business the wrong way. It wasn’t till I got to that point where I was like, “Okay, I can either start over and do this the right way so I can continue to scale or I just quit.” I’m too stubborn to quit. I figured it out.

Matt: That’s awesome. Maybe another piece along this because it goes with that. Would you give any advice to agents to increase their sales? If somebody’s struggling to actually sell the amount of homes they need to make money, what one piece of advice would you give them?

Nicole: Go out there. Get out there. You’re not going to sell houses on your computer at home. You have to be out in the world. We as human beings love to overcomplicate things. We love to try to figure out– People think, “I have to have the perfect website.” Reality check, I was eight years in the business, and then I got a website. Seriously.

Matt: I’ve literally told people that. I’m like, “Website is six months in. Don’t worry about how [unintelligible 00:40:33] three years in. Don’t you worry about a website, just go.” Then you have a business card. Just tell people like, “Oh, I ran out of business cards. Let me text you.” That’s so funny.

Nicole: I don’t even carry my business cards. Yes, I have a big presence on social media, but I stopped doing that a long time ago because I realized from day one that this is a relationship business. How do you build relationships? It’s not figuring out how to order business cards and stressing about your website. Don’t get me wrong, in this day and age. yes, it is fundamental if you’re in luxury or whatever. I can tell you from just in any world or any niche that you’re in, you just have to take action.

If you’re not making sales, it’s because you’re not having enough conversations. It’s because you’re not doing the actions or the income-producing activities that you’re supposed to be doing every day. Not on the days you feel like it, not on the days that you decide or get excited about it. If you’re not seeing the results, it’s because you’re not putting in the right kind of work. The best advice I can give you is to just go out there and have more conversations. It really is that simple.

Matt: That’s amazing. Seriously, I was taking notes as I go. That’s the message that everyone needs to hear. It’s about relationships, and if you’re not getting the success you want, you’re not having enough conversations. It’s not that you didn’t hand out your business card enough. It’s not that you didn’t have a website. It’s that you didn’t have enough person-to-person conversations that resulted in that person trusting you for real estate and then you becoming their advisor, the person that helps them. I love that. You’ve got to have more conversations. You’ve got to build those relationships.

Nicole, I’m going to do a big ask because I heard you mentioned earlier about your book, Short Sales Uncensored. I’m thinking that there’s probably a lot of value in that. Is there a place that our listeners can get access to that? We always like to give something away. Actually, would you be willing to give us the PDF version of that? We’ll put it in the Dropbox and those agents can get access to that.

Nicole: Absolutely.

Matt: Sweet. We’re going to make sure we get Short Sales Uncensored. Now, there’s probably some other resources at your website as well. Again, that was T-H-E-S-Squeen.com and they can check out those other resources. There’s so much. I feel like we could do three podcasts worth of short sale knowledge.

Nicole: I know. [laughs]

Matt: You gave us so much basic value. I do think that if someone’s interested in short sales, or they want to know how to help those people and get maybe referrals off of that, they should go read Short Sales Uncensored. Is there anything, any final thoughts, or any parting wisdom? You gave us so many little value drafts, anything else that we should know?

Nicole: Absolutely. If this is something that you’re wanting to learn more about or figure out if this is what you’re wanting to do, head to our website, thessqueen.com. We have the course. You can buy the book, Short Sales Uncensored. Then the easiest place to go to is YouTube. You subscribe to The Short Sale Queen. We do weekly videos with other top producers, tips on if you are processing short sales. Definitely subscribe to the channel. We’re trying to put out as much value and content as possible to just help the community and put that out there.

Matt: Awesome. Thank you so much. You’ve Been amazing. This has been a great interview. I can’t wait to have you on again. We really appreciate you, Nicole. Talk to you soon.

Nicole: All right. Thanks for having me.

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