Breaking Down Housing: The 2017 Industry Outlook

December 30, 2016

The future of property preservation in the mortgage servicing industry is bright as preservation companies, servicers, and investors collaborate to enhance preservation efforts to continue to reduce blight in communities across the country. The need for this partnership and aligning guidelines and best practices is stronger than ever to manage increasing oversight and legislation. The industry has come together to implement new standards of preservation and develop a system of checks and balances through technological innovation.

One of the main goals of property preservation is to ensure that neighborhoods are not overcome by blighted abandoned and vacant properties, in addition to protecting the properties themselves. Because those properties that are abandoned early in default can deteriorate over the course of the long foreclosure process, investors and servicers have recognized the need for extended preservation efforts for pre-sale properties that mirror those in REO (real-estate owned).

One example of this is the recent announcement from Fannie Mae at the 2016 National Property Preservation Conference on November 3 that it now requires clear-boarding securing products over plywood window coverings for its pre-sale properties. Prior to this announcement, Fannie Mae only required clear-boarding for those properties post-sale. It is nearly impossible to know the difference between a property pre- or post-sale based on appearance; therefore, it is imperative that all vacant and abandoned properties are maintained to the REO standard and not stand out as a target for vandalism and crime.

Additionally, technology–specifically mobile offerings–has made property preservation work more efficient and reliable over the past few years. There have been several major advances in the mobile platform to enhance location validation, and to avoid costly mistakes, and guided or “smart” scripts for contractors to follow in the field to assure a comprehensive reporting of a property’s condition is provided. The goal is to create a real-time two-way conversation between property preservation companies and their contractors utilizing the latest advances in geo-location technology, GPS, and smart scripting. Smart scripting is no longer a back-office function for property preservation contractors in the field. They now are able to capture the property condition in real-time on-site and communicate it back to the preservation company within minutes.

Through Safeguard’s own beta testing, we have learned that video technology also is going to be the future for documenting property condition and “telling the story of a property,” and we also appreciate that the video app and corresponding business process to review the results must be carefully designed for simplicity and speed. The result for servicers is going to be a game-changer in terms of quality and the ability to effectively communicate property condition.

Source: DS News (Breaking Down Housing: The 2017 Industry Outlook [pdf])


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