Safeguard Properties COO Michael Greenbaum Featured in DS News
Safeguard in the News
November 23, 2022
Source: DS News
The property preservation sector has always served as a critical arm of the housing and mortgage lifecycle, ensuring that vacant properties are maintained on their way back into the market, as well as helping combat urban blight during the period when they sit empty.
However, this sector has seen significant pain points in recent years, as the economic impacts of COVID-19, inflation, supply-chain issues, and other headwinds have presented challenges for those companies that continue to serve in this arena, even as those same factors have driven other companies under or forced veteran prop pres workers to seek out other industries entirely.
Continuing a long-standing fall tradition, DS News, this month, speaks with a roundtable of property preservation executives to learn about how they are tackling these issues and working to ensure that our nation’s stock of REO and vacant properties are attended to, as well as ensuring that the property preservation sector has the manpower and an economic model that will permit it to thrive going forward.
COO, Safeguard Properties
What regulatory issues or impacts are most challenging for the property preservation sector? How are you navigating them?
State licensing requirements are one of the most challenging issues that impact the property preservation space. They create barriers to hiring new personnel from outside of the industry and reduce our ability to drive competition within an existing vendor network. We navigate by spending significant marketing dollars in these areas to attract and retain talent.
A recent National Organization of Mortgage Field Services survey identified a significant exodus of vendor partners that provide direct boot-on-the-ground services. Are you experiencing challenges maintaining necessary labor or vendor partnerships, and if so, how are you combating this?
Yes, we are experiencing this to an extent. To combat this, we have placed a focus on recruiting new talent, as well as developing retention programs for both the current network and new hires just starting with Safeguard.
How are you and your team working to improve efficiencies within the industry to attract and retain new talent and improve the economic model for those that have remained in this sector?
We have focused on clear, honest marketing in our recruiting efforts, including true testimonials from our long-term, loyal vendor partners. We have adjusted payment for services in response to inflation to help reflect the current economic environment.
One thing we’ve heard about is an ongoing demographic shift to a higher concentration of rural versus urban properties that go through the foreclosure sale process and are taken by the investors/insurers back into inventory. Have you seen this, and if so, what challenges are presented by this higher concentration of properties in “hard to serve” areas?
It is true that the distance between properties has increased significantly over the past few years. The additional mileage increases windshield time, and thus, reduces the percentage of time spent completing tasks that directly generate income. When you take into account the surge in gas prices, that inactive time becomes even more expensive to the network; it costs more to get to fewer properties in a day. This has a huge impact on daily revenue and daily costs.
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