Home Appreciation To Slow

Veros found that while residential real estate appreciation trends continue to march up steadily, the previously rapid acceleration of values is starting to slow down. This insight is from the company’s VeroFORECAST real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending December 31, 2014, updated quarterly and covering more than 1,000 counties, 345 metro areas, and 13,770 zip codes.

Veros’ future home price index (HPI) forecast indicates that, on average for the top 100 metro areas, Veros expects 5.1 percent appreciation over the next 12 months, up from last quarter’s 4.8 percent forecast. This is the sixth consecutive quarter where the index has shown forecast appreciation.

“The future HPI forecast continues to show good appreciation, but the markets appear to be topping out for now,” said Eric Fox, Veros’ vice president of statistical and economic modeling and author of VeroFORECAST. “The continued appreciation demonstrates the overall health of the real estate market, but it is important to note that this is just a slight increase from last quarter’s national forecast, indicating much slowing in the forecasted rate of increase. Currently, most areas in the country are expected to see price appreciation with few areas forecast to show declines.” Fox added that the split is slightly over 90% for markets with appreciation compared to a bit under 10% in depreciation.

“All markets in the Top 5 now have strong appreciation forecasts, although they are weaker overall than last quarter’s top markets, which topped at 15 percent. Moreover, although depreciating markets are still present, they are all exhibiting small depreciation trends such as -1% or -2%,” Fox noted.

Enhancing & Measuring Appraisal Scoring

*Enhancing Appraisal Scoring*
**Updated Method**

measurement***Veros, a collateral valuation technology, enterprise risk management and predictive analytics provider, has updated its appraisal risk scoring tool, VeroSCORE. The updates focus on the complexity of the appraisal assignment and include several new scoring factors within the tool’s credibility score component to help lenders better assess appraisal risk.

****“Automating appraisal review in a safe and judicious manner requires the ability to understand the overall complexity of an appraisal assignment,” says David Rasmussen, senior vice president of operations for Veros. “Lenders can better mitigate repurchase risk if they can increase their level of confidence that the appraisals they are using to fund loans are defensible. The new capabilities of VeroSCORE are helping lenders get a better handle on the appraisal in the most efficient manner possible.”

****Among other enhancements, the new complexity component within VeroSCORE measures the expected difficulty of the appraisal assignment. It does so by analyzing a number of factors within the appraisal report itself in conjunction with external data and analytics.

****Appraisals and appraisal review practices are under increasing regulatory scrutiny and there are many problematic factors that contribute to appraisal risk, making the job of a chief risk officer, chief appraiser or chief valuation officer more challenging. VeroSCORE carefully examines factors in the actual report that may result in risk for the lender and factors outside of the report that a reviewer may not be privy to which could ultimately result in risk. In addition to an appraisal risk score, VeroSCORE also includes an overall risk score that takes outside factors into account, including the report’s new data integrity score component.

****This data integrity component examines key factors pertaining to the subject property and to the comparables selected by the appraiser, and verifies those factors against qualified external data sources. “In today’s climate, it is surprisingly easy to be misled by data, and that can lead to issues in valuation reliability,” explains Rasmussen. “When we live in such a data-heavy environment and the tools exist to cross-reference for assurances of data integrity, it is to the advantage of both appraiser and lender to use them. VeroSCORE brings needed clarity and confidence, and when a manual review is needed, the report also provides a wealth of useful information from qualified data sources to speed along that review.”

****VeroSCORE is designed to run on a fully automated basis when the appraisal report is received from the provider, checking the report for completeness, compliance, credibility and complexity. The resulting report includes a numerical score for each of these factors along with a suggested routing decision and clear messaging correlated to each reviewed field in the appraisal report. When used in conjunction with valuation workflow systems like Veros’ Sapphire, the appraisal is automatically returned to the vendor for correction if the report fails to clear certain hurdles, such as required fields left blank, invalid data, and other problems within lender-set thresholds.

The CA Market Leads The Way Back

*The CA Market Leads The Way Back*
**New Data Emerges**

california***Veros has announced that San Francisco and other metro areas in California are poised for the country’s strongest levels of appreciation in the coming year. The forecast also reports select markets in the Northeast will continue depreciation trends, though these trends are lessening. This is the conclusion of the company’s VeroForecast real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending June 1, 2014, updated quarterly and covering 969 counties, 324 metro areas, and 13,502 zip codes.

****Veros’ future home price index (HPI) forecast continues to show significant strengthening and improvement across the nation, particularly in the west, including Texas. The HPI indicates that, on average for the top 100 metro areas, Veros expects 3.1 percent appreciation over the next 12 months. This is the fourth consecutive quarter where the index has shown forecast appreciation. In a dramatic improvement, most areas of the country are now expecting to see appreciation with far fewer areas showing price declines. As of this forecast update, nearly 90 percent of U.S. markets are expected to see appreciation, while the remaining markets (approximately 10 percent) are expected to experience declining home prices. This is a highly positive national trend given last quarter’s split at 75% of markets appreciating and 25% of markets depreciating.

****Projected Five Strongest Markets

****1. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA +12.7%

****2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA +11.6%

****3.  San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA +11.1%

****4.  Midland, TX +11.1%

****5. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ +10.9%

****Projected Five Weakest Markets*

****1. Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY -2.9%

****2. Kingston, NY -2.1%

****3. Norwich-New London, CT -1.9%

****4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT -1.8%

****5. Atlantic City, NJ -1.6%

****Essentially, all markets in the top 5 positions now have double-digit forecast appreciation, with the re-emergence of California markets taking over three of the top 5 spots.

****San Francisco is experiencing a serious housing shortage, with supply down nearly 80% from its peak in 2008. Although prices are still relatively expensive compared with much of the U.S., affordability is back to 2004 levels. This low supply, historically good affordability, relatively low unemployment of 6.7% (compared to the 7.5% national unemployment rate) and continued low interest rates are propelling this market to the #1 spot with 12.7% appreciation forecast. Similarly, the Los Angeles and San Jose market upswings are about the significantly reduced housing supply, down more than 70% and 75% respectively from their peaks. In Los Angeles, affordability is back at levels not seen in more than a decade and the low unemployment rate in San Jose are positioning these markets in the #2 (+11.6%) and #3 (+11.1%) spots respectively.

****Moving out of California, Midland, Texas and Phoenix round out the list of VeroFORECAST’s anticipated strongest markets with 11.1% forecast appreciation and 10.9% appreciation, respectively. Both markets have made regular appearances on the top 5 list and demonstrate consistent strength. “It’s encouraging to see steadily rising appreciation expectations,” commented Eric P. Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling for Veros. “What we are seeing now indicates a return to a healthy market with improvements appearing in a conservative yet correcting manner.”

****Florida, Washington, Colorado, North Dakota, and Idaho are looking particularly strong as well. Although not making it into the top 10, Houston, Austin, and Dallas are expected to fare well also, and Boston is finally positioned for recovery.

****On the other end of the spectrum, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut occupy this quarter’s bottom 5 markets as the anticipated weakest market areas. In Poughkeepsie and Kingston, New York, as well as Norwich and Bridgeport, Connecticut metros, unemployment rates are proving to be a significant driver, keeping each of these markets moving in a downward trend. Interestingly, a few of these markets are also being strongly influenced by population trends, where either the area’s population has declined or remained flat, and as a result, lack the demand associated with an influx of new residents to motivate housing turn-over and, ultimately, the growth that tends to accompany healthier housing markets.

****Atlantic City takes the fifth position on VeroForecast’s bottom 5 list at -1.6%. Although it is still ranked as one of the nation’s weaker markets, residents should be encouraged by the upswing from last quarter’s -4.2% forecast, which was driven by high mortgage delinquencies and unemployment rates.

****The majority of the poor performing markets are primarily in the Northeast portion of the country, with parts of Connecticut and New Jersey expected to fare poorly relative to the remainder of the U.S. Pockets of the South are also forecast to be weak, especially Mississippi and Alabama, along with areas of South Carolina.

****“Overall, the recovery in the housing market is forecast to continue to accelerate and quite significantly over the previous quarter,” said Fox. “We have been consistent in our position over the past year that the recovery will be lengthy and gradual, which it has been, while many were talking about ‘shadow inventory’ pulling the housing market back down and creating another recession.  Now we are finally over the hump with appreciation being the forecast norm,” he noted. “Although strong appreciation is expected for months 13 to 24 in the forecast, it is not as strong as in months 1 to 12. That is to say, we are seeing the first signs a year or two from now that the rapid increase of prices will slow a bit in many parts of the country. However, we don’t foresee drastic slowing – simply some moderation.” Fox said.

Are You Ready For The GSE Changes?

*Are You Ready For The GSE Changes?*
**UCDP Got Harder**

update***It seems like almost everyday a new rule comes into being. Now beginning June 22, electronic appraisal files submitted to the UCDP will be rejected unless they include the UAD fields for appraisal effective date, subject contract price and comparable sale price, above grade gross living area (for subject property and comparable sales) and sale type (for subject property and comparable sales). Here’s how one vendor is getting ready:

****Veros’ PATHWAY system is equipped to handle the upcoming Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP) changes announced by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The requirements involve both the UCDP, the single joint portal for the electronic submission of appraisal data files to the GSEs, as well as the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD), which standardizes key appraisal data elements and is intended to enhance appraisal data quality on conventional loans.

****To date, UCDP has returned warnings when this data is not present in an effort to allow lenders to acclimate to the technology and operational processes. The enhancements to the PATHWAY system ensure that Veros’ clients will continue to have a smooth user experience and will be up-to-date on all the latest GSE changes.

****“It’s important that lenders delivering to the GSEs stay abreast of these changes and work with their technology providers and internal operations to verify systems are in place to appropriately evidence and manage warnings and fatal stops as the GSEs make their adjustments,” said Charles Rumfola, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Veros.

****Veros advises lenders to confirm their integrated solution is equipped to return and manage current UAD warnings, known as “402 hard stops.” Doing so ensures that end users are aware of UAD compliance issues and can take corrective action to improve submission quality.

****“Lenders, AMCs and others who submit electronic appraisal reports to the GSEs need to maintain a complete workflow between their integrated solution and UCDP,” Rumfola explained. “Therefore, it’s critical that the solution they use is prepared to identify, present and manage both types of UAD errors according to the latest GSE rules, and route the appraisal to the next logical step for correction, override or re-submission. This way, they can ensure there is no interruption to their pipelines,” he said.

Seeking Out New Technology

*Seeking Out Good Technology*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***I always like to share lender success stories. It’s important to know how lenders are using technology because it shows us all the power of automating and encourages future automation, which I think is a good thing. In this case, Citizen’s Equity First Credit Union (CEFCU) has implemented Veros’ valuation management platform, Sapphire. Here’s why:

****CEFCU sought out a comprehensive residential valuation platform that would assist their team in automating their fully manual appraisal management process. “Sapphire has made an inefficient part of our business very efficient, and has provided my staff with the ability to more easily track the progress of our appraisal orders,” says CEFCU’s First Mortgage Operations Manager Sara Blackburn.

****Sapphire is a web-based platform for complete collateral valuation management, offering numerous options that deliver Sapphire’s signature “structured flexibility” so lenders can configure the system to their organization’s needs. The core platform includes comprehensive order, review, and reporting functions, which are delivered in a seamless and user-friendly interface. Citizen’s Equity First Credit Union and many other lenders have been struggling with labor-intensive appraisal management processes for years, and taking the complexity out of the equation was a Veros priority.

****“Our goal in creating Sapphire was to deliver the most complete experience while doing away with the complex interfaces that require significant training or lengthy customization cycles,” reports David Rasmussen, Veros’ senior vice president of operations. “What lenders can learn from CEFCU’s experience is that automating their valuation process does not have to be as difficult as they might expect.”

****Rasmussen notes that Sapphire has quickly enabled CEFCU to automate the process from appraisal order to GSE submission via the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP). He also points out that the technology has helped lenders of all sizes realize significant savings through features that eliminate duplicate orders and other typical manual errors.

Staying One Step Ahead Of The GSEs

*Staying One Step Ahead Of The GSEs*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***We’ve heard a lot about new rules from the CFPB, but they are not the only entities trying to add new regulations to your plate. The GSEs have new UCDP updates. To this end, PROGRESS in Lending has been told that Veros has launched its PATHWAY solution to deliver Fannie Mae’s proprietary appraisal messages when the GSE activates them on January 28th. Here’s the story:

****The messages are part of Fannie Mae’s program to provide specific feedback on appraisals submitted to the Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP), a GSE requirement prior to loan submission that allows data checking on valuations before full loan files are received. Messages are sent from Fannie Mae on data inconsistencies and other appraisal quality issues on the system, intended to improve overall valuation reasonableness and quality of data for Fannie Mae loans.

****Fannie Mae has encouraged lenders to begin preparing for the new messages by reviewing the Appraisal Findings Reports and ensuring their technology vendor has plans to support the new messaging. Veros’ PATHWAY technology is ready now and available to industry users in plenty of time to meet the January 28, 2013 activation date.

****Veros designed PATHWAY as a solution for entities with volumes too large for manual upload to UCDP’s web interface, but too small to require an enterprise platform solution. PATHWAY assists correspondent lenders, AMCs and other technology providers in connecting to the portal with minimal technology integration. The solution allows for seamless submission to UCDP, PDF conversion to the required XML format, submission of Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) and non-UAD reports, a UAD compliance quality check, and the ability to preview and resolve potential errors prior to submission.

****“Fannie Mae is to be commended for taking yet another step toward data transparency throughout the mortgage transaction,” said David Rasmussen, senior vice president of operations for Veros. “Providing the lender with the information necessary to identify significant data, policy or property issues truly helps get down to the core concerns around data quality. We are pleased to announce PATHWAY is fully equipped to allow the transmission of this information.”

****To stay in step with GSE portal-related data developments, Veros has updated its PATHWAY technology to allow users to process manual overrides on known UCDP hard stops, to request Fannie Mae-specific appraisal report findings, as well as provide users with detailed error notifications when there are inherent issues with the submitted file format. “Our goal is to help lenders automate as much of the submission and quality control check as possible, so they can focus their attention on resolving issues before they become problems that slow down the process,” stated Rasmussen.

Are We Poised For Broad Market Recovery?

*Are We Poised For Broad Market Recovery?*
**New Data Looks Good**

***Veros Real Estate Solutions, a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation services and predictive analytics, has announced that analysis of its data shows compelling evidence that the national real estate market has hit bottom and is now in a full recovery. This is the conclusion of the company’s VeroFORECAST real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending December 1, 2013, updated quarterly and covering 975 counties, 335 metro areas, and 13,586 zip codes. Here’s the scoop:

****The forecast update shows significant improvement on a national basis, indicating that on average the top 100 metro areas can expect 1.2 percent appreciation over the next 12 months. This is the second quarter in a row where this index has shown forecast appreciation. Highly notable is the re-emergence of several very strong market forecasts, with Phoenix appearing again as the top market with over 10 percent annual appreciation predicted. This is the first time since 2006 that Veros has forecast double-digit annual appreciation in any market. In addition, the depreciating markets are becoming less severe, with the worst markets in the -2 to -3 percent range, which is a typical level of depreciation of the poorest performing markets even during healthy market periods. For the first time since the recession began, on a national level, two-thirds of all markets are expected to either be flat or appreciating during the coming 12 months.

****Phoenix, one of the markets hit hardest during the downturn, continues to show strength in this quarter’s forecast, building on its top ranking from the past two quarters to be the market leading the recovery. This revival is a result of its drastically reduced housing supply, which has plummeted by 70 percent from its peak. “Great affordability and low interest rates are also causing significant demand,” states Eric Fox, Veros’ vice president of statistical and economic modeling. “The low supply and high demand, in conjunction with the Phoenix area’s lower unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, compared to the national unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, sets the stage for it to be 2013’s top performing market.”

****Following Phoenix, the second strongest forecast market is Midland, Texas, where a forecast appreciation of 9% is expected during 2013. The Midland unemployment rate is a very low 3.4 percent, indicating a booming economy primarily due to the oil sector, and record low interest rates are also contributing to the market’s price increases. Third is Miami at nearly 8 percent appreciation, where the housing supply has also dropped nearly 70 percent from its peak, making affordability better than it has been in nearly a decade and ushering in demand from international buyers and from population growth. Rounding out the top five are Tampa and Denver, both expected to appreciate between 6 and 7 percent during the next year.

****“The Tampa housing inventory has dropped over 60 percent from its peak in 2007, while the Denver housing supply has dropped 70 percent from its peak in 2006, accelerating demand,” Fox says. He notes that the activity in Denver is enhanced by an economy that is attracting growth in the energy and technology startup sectors, although unemployment is only slightly better than the national average.

****Florida and Texas are looking particularly strong for appreciation with Midland, Miami, Tampa, and Cape Coral in the top 10.  California is again showing improvement, with San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles also appearing in the top 10 once more.

****The majority of the markets expected to perform poorly are in the Northeast portion of the U.S., with much of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and downstate New York among the weakest areas. Unemployment remains a key discriminator between the top 10 and bottom 10 markets, as illustrated by the jobless rate in Poughkeepsie, above the national average at 8.3 percent. With unemployment, increases in the foreclosure inventory generally follow. The unemployment rate in Allentown, Pennsylvania is above the national average at 8.7 percent and has been rising recently, while the supply of homes remains relatively high. The unemployment rate in Norwich, Connecticut, is above the national average at 9.2 percent and has risen to record high levels in the last decade. The foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rates have increased during the previous one-year period, although they have recently flattened.

****“Overall, the recovery in the housing market is forecast to continue to accelerate,” says Fox. “We have been consistent in saying that the recovery will be lengthy and gradual, and market-by-market. Now we are finally ‘over the hump’ at a national level with appreciation being the forecast norm instead of depreciation, although some markets are still forecast to show signs of weakness.”

Measuring AVM Accuracy

*Measuring AVM Accuracy*
**New Reseller Emerges**

***Are AVMs accurate? When should you use them? New developments are making AVMs a more valuable tool each and every day. For example, Veros has added the Realtors Valuation Model (RVM) to its platform of solutions for the mortgage and investor market. RVM is the product of Realtors Property Resource, LLC (RPR), a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS, and Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS).

****“The AVM marketplace continues to introduce high-performance models,” says David Rasmussen, Veros’ senior vice president of operations. “These models are particularly important as the most recent update to the Interagency Appraisal & Evaluation Guidelines highlighted the need for thorough testing of all valuation methods of all varieties. Utilizing multiple AVMs according to performance is an efficient and effective approach to valuation. RVM is another high-performing model to add to our impressive list of available AVMs.”

****Tricia McClung, RPR Vice President of Business Development, states, “The Realtors Valuation Model was created to assist the housing market – from REALTORS to investors – with improved analytics that enhance how properties are priced and evaluated. RVM leverages a broad array of property information, including REALTOR market data, for a comprehensive, current, and reliable valuation result.”

****Veros will market RVM to its client base as a standalone product as well as through its valuation management platforms: VeroSELECT and Sapphire.

Pair Ensure Appraisal Compliance

*Pair Ensure Appraisal Compliance*
**AVM Cascades**

***Lenders and other mortgage stakeholders looking to stay compliant with their regulators’ requirements governing the use of automated valuation models (AVMs) will find the task easier with the selection of Veros as the distributor of ComplianceTRACK by AVMetrics. ComplianceTRACK is the industry’s most inclusive “cascading” preference table combining the expert analysis and validation of AVMs into logical ordering rules, and is complete with documented due diligence, user reporting and validation required to meet regulatory expectations.

****Simi Valley, California based AVMetrics, known for its testing, validation, auditing and documentation of all commercially available residential AVMs, selected Veros as its distributor after a lengthy RFP process which drew responses from AVM distributors throughout the industry. Veros, a provider of collateral valuation management software and tools for the real estate and mortgage markets, will distribute the AVMetrics offering via a web-based interface, system-to-system XML integration or portfolio (batch) order. In order to maintain the necessary objectivity of the preference table, Veros, also an AVM developer, remains completely removed from the AVMetrics evaluation, maintenance and rules management processes.

****“The validation of automated valuation models, including those of our competitors, is good for Veros and good for the industry,” says Veros CEO Darius Bozorgi. “ComplianceTRACK is exactly the kind of tool the industry needs to satisfy the requirements of regulators for independent testing, analysis and monitoring of AVMs,” he notes, “and without the often prohibitive additional expense of supporting internal departments and other compliance-related measures that many mid-size and small lenders simply cannot afford.”

****Guidance released over the past two years from five regulatory agencies (OCC, FRB, FDIC, OTS and NCUA) has provided parameters around the acceptable use of AVMs, expectations for AVM testing, validation and continual monitoring of all models utilized. AVMetrics’ expert team puts all industry AVMs under the microscope and provides updated performance assessments to create a hierarchy of AVMs that best suit the changing needs of the industry.

****“We have observed a high degree of confusion as to what is required to document compliance, and have a keen understanding of the lender’s limitations in conducting a proper, objective AVM review,” says Lee Kennedy, AVMetrics founder and managing director. “Amid the battle between constraints and expectations, we’ve developed ComplianceTRACK as a means to provide our objective analysis and the documentation necessary to support an audit with a transaction-based solution that is literally turn-key.”

****“Ultimately, compliance is the lender’s responsibly,” reminds Kennedy. “The selection of Veros to deliver the ComplianceTRACK solution for use in a regulated lender’s AVM program will make it far easier to meet that responsibility head-on without overly taxing already limited resources.”

Predictive Methods: MISMO’s Role In The Mortgage Industry

*MISMO’s Role in the Mortgage Industry*
**By William E. King**

***The Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) has had a significant impact on the way data is stored and shared since the collapse of the housing market in 2008. MISMO is transparent by design, uses a single business vocabulary and is available across the entire mortgage finance industry. Adoption of MISMO standards represent the most significant opportunity for professionals to meet industry demands for increased transparency, access to complete data sets and more supported analysis across the rapidly evolving mortgage finance landscape.

****In 1999, MISMO was formed as an independent affiliate of the Mortgage Bankers Association with a goal to “coordinate the development and maintenance of internet-based Extensible Markup Language (XML) real estate finance specifications.” Incorporated as a 501(c)6 not-for-profit corporation staffed with volunteer participants, MISMO seeks to provide a common vocabulary and definitions  in the exchange of data in the mortgage industry to enable clear and consistent communications among professionals.

****The guidelines that MISMO’s chief architect Greg Alvord leaned on the most during its creation, and still today, is a focus on eliminating redundancy and multiple meanings. At Veros’ 2012 Predictive Methods Conference this past June, Alvord highlighted his mantra, the four points outlined below, as the essence of what MISMO does in allowing for the flow and communication of standardized mortgage data:
>> Things with the same name are the same.

****>> Things with different names are different.

****>> Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you accept.

****>> Send what you have, I will take what I need.

****Historically, mortgage information has been provided in Word or PDF documents, making the data difficult to extract, transfer or analyze. Electronic data standards should be software-agnostic allowing different systems to “talk” to each other in a common language. In this format, data can be integrated into a wide variety of internal systems for analysis and retrieval. Many proprietary languages have been developed, but typically require purchase and maintenance of specific software and hardware. This is not inherently bad, but it adds a layer of complexity. For example, there are many types of word processing programs available in the market, but in most cases, if your computer doesn’t have the same software or the same version, users won’t be able to interact with each other.

****MISMO creates effective data standardization and communication tools in the mortgage industry by promoting transparency, accuracy and efficiency. Just as the mortgage industry continues to evolve and move toward greater sustainability, MISMO continues to change to accommodate new industry regulations and continues to play a critical role in the success of industry-wide initiatives like the Uniform Mortgage Data Program.

****The MISMO platform is experiencing a series of upgrades that are being utilized by industry participants in their systems. In my next column I will explore why more organizations in the industry need to start implementing the upgraded MISMO platform, and provide guidance on best practices for adopting the latest version.