Pinpointing Property Preservation Hot Topics
Safeguard in the News
December 28, 2020
Source: Property Preservation Executive Forum (Winter 2020 Newsletter PDF)
What do you see as the key takeaways from the 2020 National Property Preservation Conference (NPPC)?
The COVID-19 pandemic was an important topic at this year’s National Property Preservation Conference (NPPC), with property preservation companies and government officials offering updates on managing work while ensuring contractors remain safe. Although the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums were hot topics, the bulk of the discussions focused on preparing for when they are lifted. Speakers and panelists addressed the critical need for businesses to embrace technology to stay relevant and successful in an evolving world, in addition to increased data security as much of the country works remotely.
The discussion also focused on the presidential election and how it will impact servicing, in addition to how to prepare for the predicted influx in volume, foreclosure moratoriums, and post-COVID-19 practices. Participants discussed scaling businesses to align with market conditions. They also addressed the primary drivers of book loss and reducing the loss associated with adverse property conditions, particularly in FHA portfolios.
Other key takeaways from this year’s virtual NPPC focused on improving communications with code enforcement officials to mitigate violations and build relationships. Critical legislative updates also were discussed, including Maine’s Abandoned Properties Act, New Jersey’s proposed maintenance requirement for interior of vacant properties, and New York’s proposed restrictions on property registrations. Best practices for ensuring claims are submitted correctly and timely were explained, specifically for damage reporting, what gets the most disputes on property preservation invoices to servicers, and reporting that has been developed for servicers and property preservation companies to identify gaps in damage assessment process were discussed.
Why do you feel it is important to gather industry professionals to talk about property preservation?
In 2003, Safeguard Properties’ late Founder Robert Klein noticed a lack of industry conferences focused solely on property preservation. While often a topic of conversation, at that time preservation was always a small part of a larger conference. Looking to provide an outlet for industry leaders to collaborate and innovate, Klein began formulating a plan that would bring together all facets of the mortgage field services industry to discuss pressing issues and develop solutions.
In November 2004, the first annual National Property Preservation Conference (NPPC) was held in Washington, D.C. The two-day conference drew leaders from HUD, the GSEs, mortgage servicing, and property preservation companies from across the country. Historic in its spirit of partnership, the conference gained the support needed to ensure its continued success today.
Since the inaugural conference, much has changed. Major disasters, such as hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, Sandy, and countless others, have destroyed communities forcing the nation to come together in restoring those hardest hit. The economy and housing market crashed and continues on a path to recovery, while municipal, state, and federal laws and regulations evolve and change, driving the industry to adapt appropriately.
This year’s pandemic has completely changed the way we preserve properties, so it was imperative to continue these conversations to establish and refine best practices moving forward. As we continue to work our way through the aftermath of these events and changes, one thing is clear: the NPPC continues to be the only outlet for the mortgage field services industry to collaborate on how to best preserve and protect vacant and abandoned properties.
How can attendees leverage what they have learned at this year’s conference?
NPPC always draws the top housing industry officials as both speakers and session panelists. The knowledge that is shared can be applied to day-to-day mortgage servicing and property preservation business practices. The discussions fostered each year also allow for serious change and viable solutions.
From information regarding the pandemic to legislative and election discussions, attendees were given tried and true suggestions on adjusting their in-house practices and becoming more efficient with their businesses processes during this year’s NPPC.
What will be the biggest trends in property preservation in 2021?
Technology will continue to trend in property preservation into 2021 as the focus remains on mobile and automated solutions. It already has given property preservation providers the ability to communicate more efficiently from the field and build our network for scale through aggressive recruiting online. This is imperative to the scalability of processes as we anticipate an increase in REO volume once the moratoriums are lifted.
The expiration of the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums will play a big role in property preservation in 2021. To prepare, property preservation companies continue to provide services through the moratorium as permitted, but also are gearing up in anticipation of spikes so that high quality work continues to be delivered. We have been working on perfecting recruiting techniques. We have also added vendors since COVID-19 at the fastest pace in the history of our company. We continue to shape our scoring, so we have the best vendors spread across our networks and have the best vendors prepped for additional volume.