Monthly Archives: April 2017

Services and vendors in one place

Qualia, a real estate title and closing platform, announced the launch of a new marketplace as an extension of its title settlement software.

The company integrated national and local vendors into its online marketplace. Qualia members are now able to simplify the procurement, management, payments, fulfillment and reconciliation of vendor transactions for services such title search, surveys, release tracking and notary.

Qualia announced the launch provides real estate professionals with these services through its online service, called Marketplace:

  • A selection of services and vendors in one place
  • Visibility and transparency into all vendor performance to optimize efficiency
  • Fulfillment and accounting automation that eliminates manual mistakes and time-consuming tasks
  • Transparency and audit trails that provide easy and thorough access to all of your data should a question or potential lawsuit arise
  • SOC 2 security accreditation that demonstrates established cybersecurity processes and practices and provides a distinct competitive advantage for title professionals

“Stakeholders in real estate closings are in a constant struggle to comply with the highly regulated lending environment, stay on a rigid timeline and lower operational costs,” Qualia CEO Nate Baker said. “The core of our real estate title and closing platform is changing how the industry is doing business but that doesn’t stop us from developing new and innovative ways to reduce unnecessary work and increase value in the real estate title business.”

Rich properties hits 14 million in Q2

Home equity is growing as home prices rise across the U.S., and the number of equity-rich properties increased by 1.6 million from last year, according to the Q2 2017 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a multi-sourced property database.

By the end of the second quarter, ATTOM recorded more than 14 million equity-rich properties, properties where the combined loan amount secured by the property was 50% or less than the estimated market value.

This increase is up by nearly 320,000 properties from the previous quarter and up 1.6 million properties from last year to 24.6% of all U.S. properties. This is up from 24.3% of properties last quarter and 22.1% of properties last year.

The report is based on publicly recorded mortgage and deed of trust data collected and licensed by ATTOM Data Solutions nationwide along with an industry standard automated valuation model updated monthly in the ATTOM Data Warehouse of more than 150 million U.S. properties.

The report showed that about 5.4 million U.S. properties remain seriously underwater, where the combined loan amount secured by the property was at least 25% higher than the property’s estimated market value, by the end of the second quarter of 2017. This is down 64,000 from the previous quarter and 1.2 million from last year.

These properties represented 9.5% of all properties with a mortgage, down from 9.7% in the previous quarter and 11.9% from the second quarter 2016.

“An increasing number of U.S. homeowners are amassing impressive stockpiles of home equity wealth, enjoying the benefits of rapidly rising home prices while staying conservative when it comes to cashing out on their equity, homeowners are staying in their homes nearly twice as long before selling as they were prior to the Great Recession, and the volume of home equity lines of credit are running about one-third of the level they were at during the last housing boom,” ATTOM Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist said.

Individuals to perform appraisals

A former real estate appraiser from Kentucky will spend the next 10 months in either prison or home confinement after admitting in court that he lied on federal appraisal forms and used unlicensed individuals to do his work for him.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Matt Garner pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to a federal agency.

Court documents showed that Garner, a former licensed real estate appraiser, made false statements about appraisals he submitted to lenders in connection with federally backed mortgages.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Garner owned and operated Garner & Associates, a company based in Lexington, Kentucky. From 2012 through 2016, Garner’s company was paid to do more than 700 real estate appraisals in various counties surrounding Lexington and Owensboro, Kentucky.

But, in pleading guilty, Garner admitted in court that on many of those appraisals, he paid unlicensed individuals a small portion of the appraisal fee to perform the appraisals on his behalf.

Then, Garner falsely certified on various federal appraisal forms that he personally visited the properties in question and conducted the appraisal, when, in reality, he had not.

Earlier this week, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Hood sentenced Garner to five months in prison and five months home confinement. Federal law dictates that Garner must serve 85% of his prison sentence.

After his incarceration is over, Garner will also be under supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

Garner was also ordered to pay a $5,500 fine.