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ATTOM Migrates Its Property Database To The Cloud

ATTOM Data Solutions and Managed Microsoft Partner Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting (DCAC) jointly announced the successful completion of a 50 Terabyte migration to Microsoft’s Azure platform. The engagement included:


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>>Consolidation of multiple legacy SQL Server databases

>>Migration to Azure

>>Conversion to SSIS catalogued project model

>>Sizing and choosing the correct VM for the Azure environment.


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Post migration, ATTOM Chief Technology Officer Todd Teta estimates the company is now saving 30% of their budget on infrastructure.

ATTOM’s Chief Data Officer Richard Sawicky commented, “We now have the flexibility to scale, expand, and consolidate all of our operations and be nimble as we take on new projects, new datasets, and better serve our customers on a modern platform capable of enrolling a lot of the Azure functionality.


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DCAC principal and Microsoft MVP Joey D’Antoni commented, “The ATTOM migration was quite challenging as there were lot of moving pieces. Richard and I worked really hard to ensure we had a solid checklist for migration, and outside of a single small error we saw immediately after migration, the process was seamless.”

“There were a ton of moving parts, and Joey D’Antoni and Denny Cherry were there to quarterback us through it all,” Sawicky added.  “There is no way that we would be sitting here 100% in Azure without those guys.”

Property Search Tool Gets An Upgrade

ATPR Inc., a provider of technology based solutions for the real estate and settlement services industry, announced several functionality enhancements to its property search solution, SmartProp. Here’s the scoop:

“These new functionalities will make the entire order-to-delivery process seamless, to the benefit of title agents,” said ATPR president Alok Datta. “Agents can now place orders for reports in a manner convenient to them, as single or bulk orders on the portal or via e-mail.”

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SmartProp also offers integration to one of the leading title production systems, making it even easier to allocate orders. The upgraded dashboard gives users a real-time update on the orders placed, providing transparency and allowing quicker decision making. The complete process is automated, eliminating redundant and manual follow-ups.

“Delivering accurate property reports is critical to every title agent,” said Timothy Moreland, SVP of US Sales & Operations for ATPR. “The turnaround time demanded by most lenders creates enormous pressure on the title company’s operations. With the added convenience offered by SmartProp, title agents will now be able to access the portal online to be in complete control of the orders they place. Once they experience our best in class product delivery, accuracy & turnaround times, we are sure that they will keep coming back for more.”

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The new dashboard within SmartProp has a built in feature for bulk ordering, enabling clients to order more during the volume surge, without increasing their fixed cost. Along with the capability of taking on increased business, ATPR clients will have access to the company’s personalised and customised offers & promotions.

Data Suggests A Housing Slowdown In Some States

Summit Valuations, LLC, a full service valuation company, announced today the release of its latest Residential Real Estate Market Overview, this time using information collected during March, the most current available industry data. The report includes analysis from Summit’s Chief Valuation Officer, Mark Melikian, author of the report.

“The statistics from March suggest a slower increase in the number of homes sold and sales prices over the next 30 to 60 days,” Melikian said. “Data published by the NAR shows the pending home sales index increased 1.4%, month over month and year over year. However, we see variations in this rate when we look at the index on a regional basis.”

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The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator of housing activity that measures housing contract activity. Homes go under contract 30 to 60 days before they are sold, meaning the Index leads Existing Home Sales by that amount of time.

The Northeast had the highest percentage of increases both month over month (3.2%) and year over year (18.4%). The Midwest and South reflected month over month gains (.2% and 3%, respectively) and the Midwest experienced a year over year gain of 4%. In contrast to these increases, the South and West showed a decrease in year over year pending sales (declines of .6% and 7.9%, respectively) and the West experienced a month over month decrease of 1.8%. On a regional level the South had the highest number of existing home sales and the West had the highest median price, while the Northeast had the largest percentage increase in sales and price, month over month.

In March 2016, the industry saw the month’s supply of housing, the federal unemployment rate and mortgage rates all decrease, year over year. The median sales price, the seasonally adjusted annual number of homes sold and the pending home sales index all increased during the month.

“In the next month or two we can expect an increase in the number of homes sold in the Northeast, Midwest and South, along with a decrease in the number of homes sold in the West,” Melikian added. “It should be noted that since the West leads the nation in median sales prices (see figure 9), affordability gaps (see last month’s report) may be contributing to the current decline in pending home sales.”

Summit’s report provides data made public by the U.S. Government, the National Association of Realtors and Freddie Mac. Melikian has been appraising real estate since 1987 and has been active in nationwide valuation services since 2005. He has successfully led teams of analysts, developed valuation services to meet client needs and represented buyers and sellers in secondary market loan tie out meetings. Much of his recent experience has focused on forensic reviews of REO properties for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Melikian holds a B.S. in Business Administration from San Diego State University.

New Real Estate Index Emerges

RealtyTrac released its first-ever Registered Criminal Offender Risk Index, which shows that average home values and home equity were lower — while average foreclosure rates were higher — in zip codes with a higher offender index than in zip codes with a lower offender index.

The report also shows that average home price appreciation has been slightly stronger over the past year and five years in zip codes with a higher offender index than in zip codes with a lower offender index, but only zip codes with an offender index in the bottom 20th percentile have seen home prices rebound above levels from 10 years ago.

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“This new index provides concrete evidence that registered criminal offenders pose not only a potential safety risk for homeowners and their families, but also a potential financial risk for what is likely a homeowner’s biggest asset,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “This is clearly evident in the significantly lower home values and significantly higher foreclosure rates in zip codes with a higher offender index, but it may not be as evident in the home price appreciation numbers, which are actually slightly stronger over the past year and five years in zip codes with a higher offender index. However, the 10-year appreciation numbers demonstrate home values in the lowest-risk zip codes for offenders were not hit as hard during the housing downturn and have rebounded more quickly back to their previous highs – even exceeding those previous highs.”

The index is based on the number of registered criminal offenders (including sex offenders, child predators, kidnappers and violent offenders) as a percentage of total population in 10,358 U.S. zip codes. The offender data is collected from each state’s criminal offender registry online and is available on RealtyTrac subsidiary www.homedisclosure.com, where offenders living within a half-mile radius of a home can be identified.

The index ranges from 0 to 100, with a higher index indicating a higher percentage of offenders. Zip codes were placed in one of five risk categories — each representing 20 percent of all zip codes: Very High, High, Medium, Low and Very Low. Publicly recorded real estate data collected by RealtyTrac was also included for each zip code to analyze information about home values, homeowner equity, home price appreciation and foreclosure rates in each zip code.

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A Creative Use Of Public-Record Data

CoreLogic has signed an agreement with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services to provide public record parcel data for every state and county in which Howard Hanna operates, including sold data going back 10 years. With more than 7,000 sales associates and 205 offices in eight states, Howard Hanna is the fourth largest real estate company in America.

“Today, only third-party websites have a page for every parcel,” said Chris Bennett, General Manager of Real Estate Solutions for CoreLogic. “Look up any address on a portal and they have a page of information built regardless of the property being an active or recently sold listing. If you looked on HowardHanna.com for an off-market listing last month, you would have received a message that the property was not found. With the help of CoreLogic, all of that has changed. Now every property has its own permanent page.”

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CoreLogic offers data for 99.9 percent of U.S. property records, representing more than 3,100 counties and 5,000 data fields, many of which are updated daily. In total, CoreLogic has more than 4.5 billion records spanning 50 years.

“We fulfill three enormous strategic goals for Howard Hanna with this data acquisition,” said Howard Hanna Executive Hoby Hanna. “First, from an SEO perspective, we will develop more authority for every property in our marketplace. Secondly, consumers will find information on every property in the market place, not just active listings. This will inform what transactions have happened in the neighborhood around a subject property and when. This leads to the third benefit of creating landing pages to develop opportunities for our company to invite homeowners to generate a seller inquiry on their property.”

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“Howard Hanna is striving to maintain its website as a center of excellence that differentiates its services,” said Bennett. “Public record data is the next frontier for brokers who intend to compete for consumer engagement online. By licensing CoreLogic data, Howard Hanna is aiming to beat the big portals at their own game and invest in long-term success.”

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

Flipping Is Still Popular

Research shows that flipping is still a popular strategy. Auction.com findings for the first quarter of this year reveal a 6.5 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in favor of flipping overall. However, investor intent varies considerably by the type of auction (live event versus online auction) and by investor profile. Survey respondents who indicated that they were making a one-time purchase still preferred a hold-to-rent strategy, while respondents identifying themselves as full-time “real estate investors” and those indicating that they were working on behalf of another investor favored flipping.

“It seems clear that the unusually low inventory of homes for sale has led to higher home prices, which makes it challenging for investors to rent homes out at a rate that’s profitable, and still affordable for tenants,” said Auction.com Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “So in states like California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona a large number of investors have decided that the best opportunity today is to meet the demand of prospective homeowners by buying, fixing and re-selling investment properties.”

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Investors bidding at live events appear to be more likely to flip the properties they purchase based on survey responses collected in the first quarter of 2015, with respondents indicating a preference toward flipping over holding to rent in every state where Auction.com conducted live events. Of the states represented in the survey, the widest margins occurred in the West and Midwest.

Conversely, responses given at online auctions in the first quarter of 2015 show that investors bidding online in every region are more likely to hold the properties they purchase. This preference has increased slightly from the previous quarter for every region except the South, which instead saw a 9.5 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in flipping intent.

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Less active investors (those indicating that they purchase one or fewer properties per year) demonstrated a preference for renting properties, while flipping was prevalent among investors who purchase multiple properties per year. Investors indicating that they purchase between two and 49 properties per year showed a growing interest in flipping, up 7.4 percent from the previous quarter. “Historically, individual investors have owned over 95 percent of the single family homes available for rent,” Sharga noted. “It looks like these investors are coming back to the market, and filling a growing market need for rental units.”

About The Author

[author_bio]

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.

The Crisis In Rental Housing

On March 9, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro gave a speech before the City Club of Chicago that was astonishing – for all the wrong reasons.

In his speech, Castro lamented that the nation was experiencing an “affordable housing crisis” and noted that more than 7 million low-income households that are not on government assistance are paying more than half of their income on rent.

“That’s roughly equal to the number of people living in Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas combined,” Castro said. “We are talking about folks who are spending so much of their precious dollars just to keep a roof over their head that they can’t invest in their children’s education or begin to build up savings.”

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Closer to Castro’s new home in the nation’s capital, the absence of affordable rental housing is particularly acute. A study released this month by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute found the availability of affordable rentals in Washington is virtually nonexistent. And while low-income families are experiencing significant financial woes in relations to housing – 64 percent of low-income Washingtonians pay half or more of their income to rent – that particular rental market was also creating havoc with the more prosperous residents.

“In 2013, the typical middle-income renters earned $46,000 a year, a gain of $4,000 since 2002,” the study said. “However, this gain was outstripped by rents for moderate priced unites that rose almost $5,000 per year, from $900 to $1,300 monthly. For D.C. households in the middle, typical rents are about 34 percent of average income … Rents also rose for apartments in the upper half of the city’s rental market. But the gains in income were higher than the rent changes. For example, rents at the highest end of the market rose from $2,045 a month to $2,700 an increase of $7,900 a year. Average income for this group rose by $14,000.”

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Indeed, the lack of rental units is a problem impacting everyone from the low-income to those that display the outward signs of financial stability.

“We need 300,000 to 400,000 new apartments each year just to keep up with resident demand, yet we’ve chronically under-built for years during and after the Great Recession,” said Daryl Carter, chairman of the National Multifamily Housing Council and CEO of Avanath Capital Management, in a press statement released earlier this month. “For example, in 2013, we completed 186,000 units, which is only about half of what was needed to meet resident demand for that year alone. After bottoming out in 2009, apartment starts have increased nationally almost to the point of meeting annual demand, but the lengthy development process and years of backlog mean that completions aren’t likely to hit the necessary level for a couple of years. This increase of available apartments will also help address affordability challenges that we see in many markets across the U.S.”

What Carter did not say was that multifamily housing is now in great supply because so many people cannot qualify for mortgages thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act. But for low- and moderate-income individuals that would rather leave their rentals and their own homes, the stagnation in wages and the miserable nature of the post-2008 recovery (with its wealth of poorly-paying jobs) is making homeownership all but impossible at this time.

But back to Castro. In his speech, he acknowledged that there was a $26 billion backlog in repairs needed to the nation’s public housing and that 10,000 public-housing units were disappearing annually due to disrepair. And what can HUD – and, by extension, the Obama Administration – doing to fix this crisis?

“The cold, hard truth is that federal dollars are scarce and won’t be able to fully address these issues any time soon,” Castro said.

Uh huh. Let’s get this straight – after being in power for a little over six years, the Obama Administration’s initial promises of fixing the U.S. economy and improving the lives of the American people has resulted in a housing situation that the HUD secretary calls a “crisis,” but the White House is not taking any leadership role to fix this mess because they insist that there is absolutely no money to devote to this matter? Not one dollar? Nada, zilch, naught?

At no point since January 2009 has the Obama White House made any effort to show leadership in housing policy. While Castro deserves some degree of credit for admitting that the state of rental housing is a disaster, the fact that he cannot or will not agitate for the delivery of something resembling a solution is a testament to his irrelevance as a bureaucrat and his superior’s incompetence as a president.

About The Author

[author_bio]

Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.

Executive Spotlight: Robert L. Reich of Keep

Robert L ReichThis week, the spotlight is on an entrepreneur with a new real estate marketing concept. Robert L. Reich is founder and CEO of Keep, a post-close marketing tool for real estate and lending professionals that provides homeowners with regular financial updates about their homes and mortgages while helping real estate professionals to capture repeat business by notifying them when their clients may be back in the market.

Q: What was the inspiration for Keep? 

Robert L. Reich: In addition to my technology background at NextDeal, I also have a finance degree (BBA from Mercer University), and in my first career I was a financial consultant in Orlando. My experience providing targeted content to homeowners via NextDeal for title agents for the last six years eventually led me to create a real estate agent product that would rid the world of refrigerator magnets and calendars. My finance background spoke loudly to me a year ago and the concept of Keep was born: true and accurate financial reporting to homeowners on their largest asset similar, but much easier to read, than what you would get from your investment counselor.
Q: The concept of Keep makes perfect sense for real estate and mortgage professionals. But do homeowners genuinely wish to keep in touch with these professionals once they close on their homes and move on with their lives in their new residences? 

Robert L. Reich: NAR statistics (which vary year-to-year) show 80%-90% of homeowners would do business with their real estate professional again – and about 10% can remember who they were.
Q: How are you marketing Keep? And what kind of reaction are you getting on this product? 

Robert L. Reich: Our marketing consists of direct marketing to mostly real estate brokers and lenders and relationships with industry influencers who are introducing us to their contacts. We are actively exploring integration opportunities with complimentary technology providers.

The reaction has been off the charts. We have received hundreds of inquiries just from a 30 second pitch I did on stage at Inman.
Q: While Keep makes sense for the real estate world, are there other similar applications that can be used in other industries? And are you looking into pursuing these applications? 

Robert L. Reich: There are other potentials applications – insurance agents and financial services come to mind immediately. Any professional wishing to improve their client relationship post-sale to improve repeat business and referrals through valuable data driven content is a candidate for Keep.

Keep is online at www.getkeep.net.

Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.

Executive Spotlight: Jared James of Jared James Enterprises

Jared-JamesThis week, our spotlight focuses on motivation, and our guest is one of the most respected and influential motivational speakers in today’s real estate finance world: writer/real estate agent/training coach Jared James, who runs Jared James Enterprises out of Milford, Conn.

Q: What inspired you to become a coach/trainer for the financial services and real estate industries?

Jared James: It is not something you ever plan to do, it just kind of happens. After I had achieved a lot of success in my own career, I started getting asked a lot to speak at events – first locally, and then nationally. Before I knew it I was getting rave reviews from the audience and getting asked over and over again if I offered coaching.

You only have to hear that so many times before a light bulb goes off and you realize that other people see something there and wanted me to offer coaching and training. It started small, like anything else, but grew very quickly once I was able to communicate a repeatable process to follow for predictable results.

Q: How do financial and real estate professionals benefit from your input, especially your weekly coaching services?
Jared James:
I make it a point to keep our weekly broadcasts short and to the point. There is no fluff. Our students tune in every week to get specific strategies to grow that they can implement right away and the motivation to follow through. For anyone that isn’t available live, the broadcast is recorded and available all week on their dashboard on demand.

Q: How would you categorize the mood of your target audiences? Do you see them as optimistic, apprehensive or cautious?

Jared James: It really depends. A lot of times I end up speaking at events where I already have some context with many people in the audience due to things like social media. People are able to follow me and connect all throughout the year which creates a great excitement at the event. Other times I get up in front of audiences that I have no context with and have to spend a little more time in the beginning gaining their trust and making them feel like I’ve got something that they are going to want to hear. There is something about that challenge that I still love.

Q: What have been some of the measurable results that have been tracked back to your training and motivation?

Jared James: This is really what my company is all about: results. That’s why in addition to the coaching and training that we offer, we also have a marketing department that does nothing but create leads for our clients.

The best thing about creating leads for people is that you can’t fake results. They are either getting them or they aren’t which makes that part of our company so measurable. We also get testimonials every day from our coaching/training clients in our private Facebook group, by email and in other ways telling us about things that have happened in their businesses because of strategies they have implemented as a result of being in our program.

Just yesterday, I was stopped by a lady in New York who told me that she wouldn’t have been in the business any more if she hadn’t of joined our program last year. It’s gratifying, to say the least.

Jared James is online at www.jaredjamestoday.com.

Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.

Executive Spotlight: D.J. Gluck of Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty

DJThis week, we are looking at New Jersey’s real estate scene, with a focus on attracting Millennials to this market, with D.J. Gluck, owner of Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty in Margate, N.J.

Q: A recent survey found New Jersey to be the state with the highest number of people moving out of a state to another location. In view of this, why would the Jersey Shore be seen as a hot spot for housing?

D.J. Gluck: Yes it is true, New Jersey residents are moving out of the state seeking retirement homes, lower taxes and work opportunities. With that being said, the Jersey Shore – especially the South Jersey Shore – is an extremely hot housing market and is in high demand.

The South Jersey Shore is comprised of a series of Barrier Islands stretching down to Cape May. The homes and land on these Islands are considered a commodity with very few undeveloped areas. Most of these Islands have more than 65% summer occupancies. As the economy continues to improve and second and third homeowners’ net income continues to rise, we are expecting to see more Buyers looking to make purchase decisions in these areas as well as a wake of older homes coming down in lieu of more modern luxury new construction.

Q: New Jersey also has some of the highest property taxes in the country. How does this impact first-time homeownership?

D.J. Gluck: Higher real estate taxes are certainly an issue in the state. The majority of the counties with highest property taxes are located in North Jersey and in some of the larger cities.

First-time homebuyers represent a segment of the housing market that will need to improve in 2015. Real estate taxes will directly impact their purchasing power. On the other hand, first-time home buyers will be able to take advantage of some of the best mortgage rates we have seen in years and more importantly, some advantageous pricing in certain markets. First-time buyers will be the beneficiaries as our housing market continues to improve and recover.

Q: How can Millennials overcome the burdens of high student loan debt and low wages in order to experience homeownership?

D.J. Gluck: The high amount of student loan debt is a macro issue that is going to impact our overall economy moving forward. Without some intervention, it will cause a similar situation to the mortgage crisis post-2008, only on a smaller scale.

As long as the country is able to create new jobs and lower unemployment while increasing the GDP, and as long as rents are increasing while mortgage rates are staying low, the housing market will enjoy the perception of a good value, allowing Millennials to take advantage of homeownership. This will also allow step-up buyers fuel to the housing recovery and increase property values. First-time homebuyers will see an increase of appreciation, equity and net worth.

Q: What opportunities exist for Millennials seeking housing in the ailing Atlantic City region?

D.J. Gluck: Recently, there have been four casino closures in Atlantic City. But three of the four casinos have already been purchased and there is going to be an influx of non-gaming development in the Atlantic City area.

If Atlantic City is able to adapt to these changes, we will see an increase of new jobs and employment for these Millennials. As long as there are employment opportunities, we will see younger folks entering into the housing market throughout the Atlantic County area.

Better Job opportunities in 2014 led to a very positive influx in employment for the under-35 population. In 2014 they saw a job growth rate that was 60% better than overall employment. This surge of jobs towards the young will help drive the housing markets this year even as home prices are expected to rise 4% to 5%. The expected growth in rents of about 3.5% annually will also push millennials towards buying homes. Soleil SIR representative DJ Gluck says, “the turbulence in the economy in recent years has deterred millennials from entering the housing market. Now they are the biggest benefactors of the economic uptick, and will use that to their advantage as the largest group of first-time buyers in 2015”.

This year because of the increased amount in inventory the amount of competitive pressure for buyers will be reduced. Instead that pressure will be put on sellers, which is good for first time buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, a 2009 American Housing Data survey put the average age of first-time home buyers at 34, and then a report from them in 2012 estimates the average age for first-time buyers at 31.

Soleil Sothebys International Realty is seeing a similar trend in New Jersey shore towns as well. These positive trends across the Jersey coast mean that millennials will be able to start building their portfolios and developing strong investments.

Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty is online at http://www.soleilsir.com 

Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.