Let me admit to one very important fact…I am old. At least I assume I am since I am over 60. In any event, much of what I know about the cyclical nature of real estate is not based on any scholarly papers I have researched and presented, but rather it is due to the fact that in my professional career I have seen four different downturns in real estate and from that I have gained what is known as real world experience. In other words, I am old, but my memory still works.
appraisers Blog Posts
Recently I had the opportunity to work on a Class Action case. The case settled, and there are confidentiality agreements for both sides, so I cannot reveal any details. I will summarize the allegations and findings, as well as the scope of work performed.
I should say also that before being hired, I was interviewed, and vetted. Every reference provided, was contacted, as well as a records check and background check.
It has been awhile since we updated the appraisal community on developments in the wave of lawsuits filed by Llano Financing Group LLC (Llano). Our last update was issued on February 18, 2016 so here is what has transpired since then.
Let’s say you are a publicly traded company integrally involved in the residential mortgage business as a lender, wholesaler, correspondent, warehouse provider, and servicer. Let’s also say that not too long ago your company had a near death experience…as in your stock price in November of 2008 hit $00.05 per share (yes, that is 5 cents).
We are happy to report that the walls are slowly tumbling down on Llano Financing and the Ganter brothers (Chris & Ben). If we sound biased it’s only because we are. When any entity like Llano is on the losing end of close to 100% of the cases in both state and federal court, it becomes very clear quickly to both the judiciary and the general public that something fishy is going on.
If you are reading about this for the first time, here is a very brief background summary to give you some perspective. Beginning several years ago a number of entities owned, controlled, or run by two brothers from Texas have been acquiring the remnants of defaulted mortgage loans and then suing appraisers all over the US. The brothers are Chris and Ben Ganter and the entities involved (at least those we know about) are:
In February 2014, we reported what we saw as a potential scam involving letters being sent to appraisers by a group called Savant Claims Management. Since then, a lot has happened and we want to provide an update on the latest activities by entities related to Savant and give some tips to those who have actually been sued by First Mutual Group, L.P. from Plano, Texas. (First Mutual Group, L.P., is a Delaware limited partnership whose members are Alternative Capital Strategies, LP, (a British entity) and First Mutual Group, GP LLC (another Delaware entity).
Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. In light of recent actions in the mortgage lending industry, we all may be able to experience the thrill ride of 2007-2009 all over again…soon. You may wonder what actions I am referring to so let me share a brief list of what I will call the top ten contributing factors to the downturn I see happening by July of 2017.
Today, NDC (National Data Collective), a leading national provider of property data for real estate professionals, has released a new and improved export tool for a la mode customers only called Shift.
Shift allows NDC users to export NDC’s highly-rated collective property data directly into a la mode’s industry leading form filling software with just a push of a button. The tool is compatible with the legacy WinTOTAL system, TOTAL 2013, and the upcoming release of the next-generation TOTAL Titan.
The Network of State Appraiser Organizations has prepared a letter to Melvin L. Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), addressing the concerns appraisers they represent have with FNMA's Collateral Underwriter (CU) program. The Organizations' stance is that since the data is originated and collected primarily through appraisal reports it should be made available to appraisers in addition to lenders, mortgage companies, and AMCs. We agree.