Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Demand For Homes Continues to Show Recovery

The number of contracts signed to buy homes to February eased slightly from January, but posted another strong gain from a year ago- the latest sign that demand for homes is up from the depressed levels of the previous 18 months.

A report on Monday made by the National Association of Realtors showed the index of pending home sales, reflecting deals that have gone into contract, but haven't yet closed, rose 9.2% last month from a year earlier, continuing a rise largely fueled by investors' purchases of foreclosed properties. The index fell by 0.5% from January.

While buyers are starting to step forward, however, home builders and real-estate agents report an elevated level of contracts falling apart, as buyers run into trouble qualifying for mortgages amid tough lending standards.

Another common complaint: low appraisals that come in below negotiated value, requiring sellers to cut their price or buyers to put more money down in order to keep a deal from collapsing. As a result, the pending sales figures could be overstating actual sales as buyers sign multiple contracts over the course of several months.

Still, analysts say that housing demand appears to be stronger than at any point in the past year. Low prices are luring investors who can convert properties into rental units and make double-digit returns. More first-time buyers could face added urgency to move as landlords begin to raise rents and mortgage rates rise from record lows.

"We are seeing very strong activity out there," said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of research firm Zelman & Associates. Buyers are tired of deferring moves, and rising rents "have really pushed people off the fence," she said. "We're not ready yet to wave the victory flag and say home prices are going up, but we're confident they're stabilizing."

Monday's report showed that purchase activity was up 18.4% and 19% from a year ago in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively, after an unseasonably warm winter. Contract activity fell by 1.8% in the West.

Real-estate agents in many parts of the country say inventories of homes for sale are declining, leaving more buyers competing for less supply. Shrinking inventories could be a consequence of the decline in home prices, which has left more sellers unable or unwilling to sell their homes at a loss.

In Orange County, California, the number of homes listed for sale is down by 36% from a year ago. Meanwhile, the number of homes under contract is up 25% to its highest level in four years, according to Steven Thomas, a local housing-market analyst.

So far this year, nearly one in six homes listed for sale have gone under contract within their first three days across the 18 markets covered by Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage, said Glenn Kelman, the firms chief executive.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Blog: ProLender Solutions

This month’s guest blog comes from Alyssa Burley the Marketing Specialist and Graphic Designer at ProLender Solutions.

ProLender Solutions is an innovative paperless lending software that provides mortgage lenders with a comprehensive, easy to use software application designed to automate the backend process. A San Diego based company, ProLender was created in 2002 by seasoned mortgage software veterans with the goal of providing affordable software along with superior customer service.

With many shared business principles, IDS and ProLender have created a relationship based on simplicity, reliability, affordability, know-how and customer service. It is our team goal to work with our clients to modify and improve any step of the process that needs tweaking and enhancements.

Today Alyssa is sharing with our readers the advancements in Paperless Lending. check back each month to read our guest blog either from partners, clients or other vendors.







Advancements in Paperless Lending

 Advancements in paperless lending software are shaping the way lenders do business in 2012. Many lenders have discovered managing their loan files electronically offers significant advantages over the old paper file method.

 Utilizing a paperless lending system saves time and money. Quite simply, having all documents in an electronic format and accessible in one place eliminates wasted time spent looking for a physical document. Lenders also see a savings in their paper and printer ink costs because employees do not need to print or copy documents like they did previously. In the ProLender System, users can generate a Loan Approval and make it accessible both internally and online without printing a single page.

 Receiving documents is simplified with paperless lending software. Uploading a digital version of borrower documents ensures the processor and underwriter have access to important information as soon as it is submitted. There is no need for brokers or loan officers to email or mail documents anymore. In the ProLender System, individual document image files are uploaded via the web and automatically linked to the appropriate conditions on the loan. This allows the underwriter to quickly review and sign off a condition shortly after the document is uploaded into the system. Underwriters no longer have to rely on having a physical loan file in their hands to review documents. They can easily click a button on the condition screen and view the document at any time.

 “Document accessibility is highly important for an efficient workflow” said Kevin Roczey, President of ProLender Solutions, Inc. In 2009, ProLender Solutions launched its integrated Electronic Document Management (EDM) feature known as ImageCenter.

 The ImageCenter portion of the ProLender System is completely integrated, meaning all loan documents are linked to the specific loan and are accessible internally and online. When the broker or loan officer uploads a document to satisfy a condition, it is time and date-stamped automatically. So, the broker or loan officer can see the document has been submitted, reviewed and signed off in real-time. Brokers and loan officers can see what is happening on a loan without having to wait for the underwriter to send an updated Loan Approval.

Paperless lending software streamlines the lending process, including the Post-Closing function. Since all loan related documents are digitally archived within the system, shippers only need to select the pre-defined package they want to send to the investor. They no longer have to manually pull documents out of a physical file, package and ship them out. Paperless lending software can automatically parse the correct documents that need to be sent. This ensures shippers send all the required documents to the investor.

 Lenders looking to better manage their back-office, provide better service and simplify their document management should consider a paperless lending system. ProLender Solutions develops software used by mortgage lenders to manage back-office functions like underwriting, secondary marketing, closing, post-closing and loan-level accounting while integrating a paperless loan file.

 ProLender users enjoy an interface with IDS for Disclosures and Closing Documents. To learn more about the ProLender – IDS integration, watch a short video at http://www.prolender.com/innovations/Videos.aspx?Data=iSy3F3AHeqE=&utm_source=IDS%2BBlog&utm_medium=Blog%2BPost&utm_campaign=IDS%2BIntegration%2B2012 . Contact the ProLender sales department at sales@prolender.com or (619) 258-3595 for a live online demonstration.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cordray Calls on Press to Deliver CFPB's Message



Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) director Richard Cordray told a gathering of the nation's editors and journalists Friday that the agency needs their help to make consumers more aware of predatory lending hurdles.

Predatory Lending describes unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices of some lenders during the loan origination process. While there are no legal definitions in the United States for predatory lending, an audit report on predatory lending from the office of inspector general of the FDIC broadly defines predatory lending as "imposing unfair and abusive loan terms on borrowers."

Another definition of the term is "the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against."
*Predatory lenders are most likely to target the less educated, lowest incomes, racial minorities, the elderly, victims of predatory lending are represented across all demographics.

The chied of the consumer watchdog agency said that the bureau stands 'on the side of American consumers to protect them against illegal practices and see that they are treated fairly.

"We need you to carry our message and our mission to your readers, and we need you to continue to inform us about the nature and scope of the middle-class challenges you see in your communities every day," he said. "Good government needs the Fourth Estate. We need you to explain to us, to inform us, and to hold us accountable."

He highlighted efforts by the CFPB to increase transparency in the markets, underscored the role undertaken by lenders in the crisis, and played up the need for more regulation for servicers.

Cordray drubbed up the middle class as a group of 'innocent bystanders' that fell victim to ill-made mortgage products like hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage loans and interest-only loans, among others.

He also said that the CFPB would issue new rules for servicers as it moves forward, with rules for 'mortgage servicing.... including disclosures, billing statements, and force-placed insurance" under way.

"Typically, consumers do not get to choose their servicer, and mortgage servicing rights can be bought and sold without the consumer's input," he said. "Servicers often ignored homeowner calls or lost the paperwork needed to consider loan modifications."

The address by Cordray is the lastest in a round of public appearances by the CFPB director, newly appointed by President Barack Obama in January amid concerns and criticism from the right flank of Capitol Hill.

Upon taking officem he reportedly made phone class to the heads of the nation's largest lenders and servicers.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MortgageOrb Article- Phil Hall

"In the course of the Republican presidential primary campaign, there have been several bold and intriguing ideas on how to reshape housing finance. Newt Gingrich was the first out of the gate last fall by declaring that he would repeal the Dodd-Frank Act. Mitt Romney later followed by saying he would repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Ron Paul moved beyond mere legislation repeal with a promise to shut down the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

And Rick Santorum? Well, he wants to repeal Roe v. Wade. Or, at least, that appears to be what he is more interested in talking about.

In the past few weeks, Santorum has successfully shifted the focus of the Republican presidential campaign- and, by extension, the wider political debate to discussions relating to abortion, contraception and birth control. Who could have guessed that a political race that was originally pegged to center on economics would evolve into a raucous conversation on OB-GYN issues?

I should backtrack a bit and concede that I am being a bit facetious in regard to Santorum's housing reform position. According to his campaign website, he has a solution to the problems facing the housing crisis. This is his strategy, verbatim: "I'll submit a plan to Congress to phase out, within several years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal reserve, and allow families whose homes are 'underwater' to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to better get a fresh start in difficult economic times."

And that's the Santorum housing market recovery plan, in the proverbial nutshell! What is unsettling is realizing that single sentence was the 10th out of 10 entries in Santorum's Web page entitled "First 100 Days Economic Freedom Agenda." The face that it was last on the list, I fear, makes the issue of housing market recovery the least important of the candidate's priorities.

In comparison, Santorum has a full page on his campaign website pledging to vigorously crack down on "illegal pornography." And, not surprisingly, there is an even longer page in which the former Pennsylvania senator details his "Record on Defending the Dignity of Every Human Life."

Call me a hedonistic libertine, but I somehow suspect that pornography (illegal, legal or somewhere in between) poses much less of a problem to American society than having anywhere from 1 million to 7 million homes in the shadow inventory or having the courts backed up for years with foreclosure lawsuits.

And while I do not doubt Santorum's sincerity in regard to the sanctity of embryonic life and other issues connected to the moral fabric of the nation, I have to question his priorities as he pursues the most powerful office on Earth. At a time when the economy is stagnant, unemployment stuck over 8%, the federal deficit has lethally hemorrhaged to monstrous proportions, the trade deficit has the nation in hock to China, the U.S. taxpayer is propping up the national housing finance system and federal entitlement programs are being held together by safety pins, one of the last things on the minds of most Americans is the emotional complexity of using healthcare plans to pay for birth control pills.

But Santorum is hardly alone in wasting attention on other subjects while ignoring the still-fragile housing market. Indeed, consider the extraordinary media and political attention to Rush Limbaugh's infectious verbiage aimed at an obscure birth control activist- and compare that brouhaha to the total science from the media and the political establishment on the administration's repeated failure to present a federal loan modification program that works. Really, what is more important- the economy or Rush Limbaugh's big mouth?

Actually I already know the answer to that question. While writing this column, I ran a Google News search of "foreclosure" and came up with 8,790 hits on news sites. Then I ran a Google News search for "contraception" and retrieved 21,200 news site results. Will somebody please pass the aspirin?"



After reading this article from Phil Hall in the MortgageOrb newsletter, honestly, I was a little speechless. After months and months of following the campaign trail, listening to debates, it seems that some of the candidates are a little backwards on their priorities, this article just reassured that in my mind I was right. Our economy is struggling immensely and we need to take a stand to get back on top. Which candidate do you believe will allow us to do that? Give me your feedback and let's have a discussion on what should happen next as far as the presidential candidates.

To see the full article from Phil Hall click here

Friday, March 2, 2012

Meet an IDS Employee



Meet an IDS Employee: Ali Linthorst
Marketing & Communications Manager



It has been sometime since we have posted a Meet an IDS Employee! So I decided that I would introduce myself to our readers.
Ali Linthorst has been working for IDS for two years now. As Marketing & Communications Coordinator she handles all of the public relations, marketing and social media for IDS. Even though being here only two years Ali has learned a great deal about the mortgage industry and the professionals in it.
One of the favorite reasons why Ali likes working for IDS is the low key, fun, yet professional atmosphere that is always in the office. “There is never a dull moment in the office,” said Linthorst. “On top of that the people who work for IDS are incredible, smart and hard workers. We are always pushing one another to do better.”
Ali was married in August and recently adopted a chocolate lab boxer mix puppy named Nixon. Ali loves spending time hiking, snowboarding, playing soccer, traveling, camping and hanging out with her husband and puppy.
Here are some more interesting facts about Ali:
-      She has four older sisters and one older brother; nine nieces and ten nephews; six brother-in-laws and five sister-in-laws making for one big happy family

-      Her favorite food is Sushi hands down

-      Something interesting about Ali is that she has lived in the same house in Park City, Utah her whole life until she went to college and got married. She broke her femur at age 11 while skiing with some friends on a snow day (Park City School Districts excuse to take a day off of school and ski)

-      Favorite movie is Tommy Boy—it never fails to make her laugh no matter how many times she watches it

-      As for her favorite quote there are several, especially movie quotes!
To learn more about our employees at IDS keep reading our blog!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

IDS Survey: Lenders Cite Compliance as Initial Disclosure Priority

According to a survey that IDS conducted regarding our intial disclosure services compliance concerns represent the most important aspect of initial disclosure documents.

IDS, with a survey of more than 600 lenders, sought to determine experiences and expectations regarding initial disclosure documents. Compliance was cited as the single most important by 90.5% of respondents, with ease of use placing second at 67.9% and fulfillment ranking third at 63%. Other concerns among respondents were pricing (53.6%), electronic delivery (42.9%), electronic consent forms (35.7%) and e-signatures (32.1%).

"Initial disclosures have been the nexus of mortgage industry regulation and consumer protection since 2012," says Mark Mackey, executive vice president of IDS. "With the Consumer Financial Bureau's imminent changes to initial disclosures and closing documents, plus the FHA's acceptance of e-signatures, it's likely that docs will remain a dominant topic of mortgage industry dialouge in 2012."