With housing prices falling and the number of vacant properties on the rise, banks are under pressure from regulators to improve their loss mitigation success rates.
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There are also a number of preforeclosed properties that have yet to be foreclosed upon that impacts banks and servicers. According to a Standard Poor’s report, it could take four years for the housing market to work through the current shadow inventory.
Therefore, the REO maintenance and property preservation company Field Asset Services has created a preforeclosure inspection tool called Avert that has the ability to reduce default expenses for banks and servicers.
“As the shadow inventory of at-risk homes continues to swell, banks and services are faced with numerous challenges and need solutions to prevent these preforeclosures from becoming foreclosed properties,” said Dale McPherson, president and CEO of Field Asset Services, Austin, Texas.
“With Avert, FAS can provide banks and servicers with the right knowledge and tools to improve the loss mitigation process, reduce expenses and build greater collateral intelligence well in advance of a property becoming a foreclosure asset.”
McPherson said instead of a “fly-by” inspection report that is conducted by driving past the property and submitting information with poor quality, Avert’s technology solution includes a certified service record that shows where and when a picture was taken.
By using either an Android, which McPherson said has the best camera and flash, or any other type of smartphone, vendors can complete their entire inspection from their mobile device in which GPS stamps confirm the location and date of the photos.
“We will deliver real, objective information about the property and that information will be meaningful because it is generated by an insurance compliance inspector who understands what a piece of collateral is supposed to be like, what it’s made of, how it’s built,” McPherson told this publication. “In addition to delivering an accurate occupancy information, we can deliver a quality condition report, too.”
Once the pictures are submitted, Avert assists banks and servicers to determine where the preforeclosure property meets the needs of the loan servicer in resolving that particular loan default.
Through Avert, banks and servicers can target short sales prospects that were trying to sell a property for more than it was worth because the photos can compare the MLS list price with the current value of the asset in order to help clients avoid foreclosing the house.
Other features Avert offers is that it can pre-empt hazard claims, mitigate potential fines and liens by communicating with municipalities, HOAs and agencies and prevent unnecessary foreclosures.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the certified service record and the use in the court of law between two hazard insurance underwriters in settling claims and settling code compliance issues is going to become the way to draw the line in the sand and realize you can’t argue with this because it is no longer subjective,” McPherson said. “We know when and where this photo was taken and we can prove it because it is certified.”