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RISMEDIA, February 4, 2009-In Power Teams: The Complete Guide to Building and Managing a Winning Real Estate Agent Team, we encourage real estate agents to implement a team-based model to improve efficiency and customer service. This team-based model can also come in handy to fight the foreclosure epidemic and perhaps even open the doors to new opportunities in your market.

If your market has fallen victim to the mortgage meltdown and the bursting housing bubble, consider forming a team of professionals to fight it-a team of Foreclosure Busters. Members of the team could include the following professionals:

Real estate broker or agent: The broker/agent knows the marketplace and can present information on property values, market trends, the pros and cons of selling to avoid foreclosure, the basics of short sales, and tips for selling in a down market. If clients choose to sell their home, the broker/agent can handle the listing and even negotiate short sales with lenders to help the homeowners get out from under a house they really cannot afford without taking a loss on the sale.

Foreclosure attorney: The foreclosure attorney can educate homeowners and fellow team members on the rules and regulations that govern foreclosure in your state and provide legal assistance to clients who are about to lose their homes in foreclosure.

Bankruptcy attorney: The bankruptcy attorney can educate fellow team members and homeowners on the pros and cons of bankruptcy and the considerations to make in determining whether filing for bankruptcy is the best option.

Mortgage broker: The mortgage broker can provide information on possible ways to refinance out of trouble and offer expert insight into the state of the mortgage lending industry. The mortgage broker can also assess prospective clients’ financial situations to determine whether they would likely qualify for refinancing. The mortgage broker should also be aware of any government sponsored programs available for helping homeowners keep their homes.

Credit counselor: Most homeowners in a default situation with their lender or facing foreclosure can use help with budgeting. A qualified credit counselor can offer information and advice on how homeowners can get a handle on their finances, start paying down high-interest credit card balances, and work out solutions with their creditors.

Loan modification specialist: A loan modification specialist, preferably an attorney, can educate homeowners and fellow teammates on the basics of loan modifications and can help homeowners determine whether a loan modification is a viable alternative for their situation. If the homeowner is likely to qualify and wants to pursue this option, the loan modification specialist can offer representation.

You can structure your team as an association of sorts, in which you all agree to work together to educate homeowners in your market on all of their options and equip them with the tools they need to decide for themselves which option(s) would be best for them. Your team can act as a mini referral network, in which everyone on the team refers prospective clients to the professional best qualified to pursue their option of choice.

You may also want to team up with local community organizations and call for volunteers in the community to assist you in your efforts.

Tip: Your team may consider creating its own website or blog for posting detailed information from all team members. In addition, consider hosting foreclosure self-defense seminars or workshops, in which you educate homeowners in your community on the foreclosure laws in your state and the various options they have to cure mortgage loan defaults and avoid foreclosure. By pitching your seminar as an educational offering to the general public, you may be able to attract more people than if you pitch it as something exclusively to homeowners facing foreclosure. Otherwise, homeowners may feel too embarrassed to attend.

Don’t sit back while the mortgage meltdown and foreclosure epidemic ravishes your housing market and threatens your career. Team up with other professionals in your area and with homeowners in your community to fight back against foreclosure and preserve the American dream of homeownership.

Ralph R. Roberts is a consumer advocate, host of KeepMyHouse.com, and author of numerous books, including Foreclosure Self-Defense For Dummies. Roberts is based in Sterling Heights, Michigan and can be reached at RalphRoberts@RalphRoberts.com.

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