Monday, April 28, 2008

If You Build It, They Will Come

If only it were that easy. But anyone with a website or blog knows that's not the case. There's a lot of hard work involved in drawing traffic to your site (I'll save that conversation for another time). But once you've done that, you've got to make it as simple as possible for someone who likes your site to come back. It's important to make it easy to bookmark your page or add it to their favorite RSS reader (an RSS feed allows someone to keep up with their favorite sites as they are updated by downloading content to a reader). On my sidebar, I've got two buttons that allow someone to quickly add my blog to their favorites or to many different readers. The buttons were created on the AddThis website. You pick the button style that you like and AddThis generates the HTML code. Then it's as simple as copying and pasting the code into your blog or site.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LendingTree Accuses Former Employees Of Stealing Customer Info

LendingTree has informed its customers that former employees hacked their system and stole customer information from 2006 to 2008. According to the letter sent to LendingTree customers, former employees shared confidential passwords with other lenders, who used the passwords to access LendingTree's customer loan request forms. These forms included personal data such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, income & employment information. But not to worry, LendingTree says lenders did not use the information to commit identity theft or fraud. The information was only used to market their own mortgage loans to those customers. That makes everyone feel better, right?

Though LendingTree shares personal information with other companies to help consumers find a mortgage company with the best rate, in this case loan applications were viewed by unauthorized lenders who used the information to market their own loan products.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Alternative Income - Field Inspections

Rebecca Fair has compiled a comprehensive list of field inspection sites. She offers the list for a very nominal fee. I've asked Rebecca to write about it here. Her website is

With the slow down of the real estate and loan markets, a notary must diversify to continue a successful, profitable Mobile Notary business. With foreclosures on the rise, there is a need for Field Service Inspectors all over the country.

Field Service Inspectors are used to provide on-site property inspection services for lenders, loan servicers and investors. There are many types of property inspections that are needed, most of which enable a mortgage servicer or insurance company to make decisions on their properties with the information received from an inspection. Some of the basic information collected on an inspection would be occupancy status and damages. As a Field Service Inspector, you are responsible for completing basic inspection reports, photographing the property and uploading your report and photos to the hiring companies' website. If you are a licensed Real Estate Agent, you will earn more for BPOs than an unlicensed person completing basic inspections and drive by inspections.

I have compiled a list of over 200 companies that hire independent Field Inspectors and have included links to three more web based lists. The list is easy to use and has hyper links to all of the 200+ companies, making it easy for you to locate and sign up as a vendor with companies that want to hire you. The list includes links to field inspection groups and forums so you have a place to ask the experts and research companies that hire field inspectors.

The list is great for Real Estate Agents, Mobile Notaries and Loan Officers that are looking for other streams of income. You won't get rich quick, but you should be able to earn some extra money without a lot of effort. At least that's been my experience.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

E-Sign. The Sign Of The Future?

Let's hope not. I did my first two E-Closings today, and I have to say I was thoroughly underwhelmed. There were about 50 pages that required a hard copy, including title docs, the mortgage, and other notarized documents. Then the note, TIL, RTC, and about 10 other miscellaneous documents were to be e-signed. Hard copies of all documents still had to be printed for the borrower. The whole process of turning on my laptop, logging in, and slowly scrolling through docs and waiting while the system dragged from one page to the next while the borrowers, broker, and I all huddled around a laptop was completely inane. There was absolutely no advantage, no logical reason, no upside whatsoever to performing a signing in this manner. It wasn't quicker, it wasn't easier, it wasn't better for the borrowers. The signings take two to three times longer, it's a logistics nightmare, it's hard for everyone to review documents in that fashion, and there was a definite concern from at least one of the borrowers that the docs online matched their hard copy version.

This idea needs to be buried along with New Coke and the Edsel.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Unsold Inventory Continues To Grow

Unsold homes in Metro Detroit keep piling up (my own home in Livonia has been listed for almost two years). Figures for the end of 2007 reveal an 18.9 month supply of homes, almost doubling the national average (inventory figures represent how long it would take to sell all listed homes based on sales pace). Surprisingly Oakland County, not Wayne County, actually leads the way with a 20.2 month supply. Not so surprisingly, the city of Detroit has a jaw dropping 51.1 month supply.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Short Sales Becoming Prevalent

More and more sellers are turning to short sales as a way to avoid foreclosures. In a short sale, a home owner sells their property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan and the lender agrees to release the lien. The effect of a short sale on a seller's credit report is identical to that of a foreclosure. In addition, a lender has sole discretion whether to pursue a deficiency judgment. Some estimate that short sales now account for 20% of all U.S. home sales.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The fallout from the U.S. subprime debacle continues to spread overseas. Swiss bank UBS AG posted first-quarter losses of $12.1 billion, prompting the resignation of the banks Chairman, Marcel Ospel. UBS write-downs (a write-down is a reduction in the book value of an asset that's considered overvalued compared to market) have reached $40 billion in the past nine months, larger than any bank. Germany's largest bank, Deutsche Bank AG, also announced $4 billion in write-downs.