Foreclosurepedia created the ISTAR Client – Contractor Database almost a year ago anticipating the downward shift in Real Estate Owned (REO) preservation market and anticipating the upward swing in Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) rehabs. Our Platform is ran by TikiWiki and a great Canadian friend of mine, Marc LaPorte, was interviewed back in 2010, about it. LaPorte is on the Tiki Board and one of the originators with respect to the code which is open source. We have been with TikiWiki since the 3.x days and actually sent representatives up for a Tiki Coding Festival in New York.
First and foremost, Foreclosurepedia is not saying that all preservation work is going away. We read the writing on the wall, when studying the aggregated data, last year and realized that a tremendous contraction was coming. While many in the Property Preservation Industry thought we were insane; while many felt that the unregulated and obscene profit margins would continue forever, we began to shift Contractors over into the New Mecca of Rehab and Maintenance. Domestic and International REIT Investors concurred.
SourceMedia whom publishes Mortgage Servicing News amongst other media outlets, seems to concur with our prescient vision as well. Their Hard Copy ROCKS AHEAD: YEARS OF SMOOTH SAILING MAY BE ENDING was included with the August 2013, Volume 17, Number 9 Paper Edition. While the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS), Safeguard Properties and Five Brothers all opine along the same lines, with respect to an Industry Shift, NAMFS seems recalcitrant to move away from its conventional data metrics and think outside of the box. Therein lies the quandary for the Industry: Moving away from historical data sets and pushing the envelope to understand Big Data and extrapolate semantic meaning.
Whether or not Mortgage Servicing News chose not to reach out to other National, Regional and Otherwise Unspecified Order Mills is unknown. Additionally, the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG), a loosely knit organization of Contractors, is silent on what would appear to ultimately impact its Membership and probably shoulder the highest levels of the burden.
Foreclosurepedia has been contacted by several Private Parties with respect to bringing forward a One Stop Shop somewhat based upon ISTAR. What our concerns have been are that Contractors really have no experience in determining whom owns what. A simple scan of both LinkedIn and Facebook shows this when looking at the Herd Mentality of running to send information to anyone who hangs a shingle. The other factor we have been concerned about is that of foreign entities parading around underneath US Corporate structures. We are extremely concerned about Middle East and Eastern European entities harvesting Contractor information regardless of where they purport to be based out of.
The Platform we were asked to Consult upon from an Intelligence point-of-view incorporates the following:
- FBI Fingerprinting
- Biometric Identification on ID inclusive of QR Code Reading for ID
- Image Storage of the following:
- General Liability Insurance
- Errors and Omissions
- Licenses (Business, Driver’s, General Contractor, Mold, Broker, etc.)
- Samples of Past Work
- Federal Requirements such as:
- Service Contract Act Verification
- Davis Bacon Act Verification
- Miller Act Verification
- Training — This will be performed by an ISO 9001-2008 Compliant Training Module
- Duns and Bradstreet Verification
- System Area Management (SAM) Account
Why does the aforementioned appeal to Nationals, Regionals, 501 Regulation D Investors, REIT Investors, local rehab brokers (ma and pa flippers) and ultimately the financial institutions? First, liability is completely removed from the Client! Second, the typical Order Mill or Rehab Investor is generally rolling the proverbial dice when they hire (Craigslist or otherwise). Who knows whom is really sending the information. Additionally, a Client may be sued for a plethora of reasons for denying work as we have seen lately in the BMW and Dollar General Cases over background checks and lunch breaks. Finally, the amount of time spent by admin types fielding all of the back and forth communications and then the Clients holding their breath on the first 5 – 10 jobs to see if the Contractors are even able to produce.
The refined beauty of the aforementioned System is that it incorporates an incredible Graphic Users Interface (GUI). The GUI allows a Client to drill down parameters such as: Local, Regional, National or International Geographic Areas (yes, we have both Canadian and European Contractors); Certifications and Licenses; and even subsets such as Minority, Woman Owned and Service Connected. We all know and understand the benefits of having access to that type of information when doing business on federal contracts.
The prudent Client and Contractor both know that the volume in the REO/P&P Industry isn’t there anymore. Pricing will continue to free fall with higher demands for both more services for less coupled with the ability to semantically draw inferences from Big Data. The financial institutions are already bringing the Asset Management (AM) end of things back in house. The Field Service Management (FSM) side of things are following soon in like measure.
The major problems with outfits like NAMFS and NPPG are that they are predominately REO/P&P orientated. NAMFS has an advantage in that they have access to some legislative information, but they are bound by their 501 (c)(6) Charter; they cannot legally
play across the board (Rehab, Sales, Etc). NPPG, if the rumors are to be taken at face value, seems to have moved some Contractors over to some Nationals here and there; however, they have no metrics to examine nor any cohesive public facing mechanism to drill down data.
The concerns of Industry, financial institutions included, has been that labor is both an unknown and unmanageable equation. Any other Trade has systematic organization. The Property Preservation Industry has a catastrophic and systemic failure to deliver labor. It is only a matter of time before a Contractor lands the right lawsuit combination with the correct formula of US Government Agency involvement and Regulations (and damages) follow. That is why we laid the groundwork for a System to address this and continue to Consult upon it. With respect to this, I fly out Saturday to Washington DC to speak with several of the Principals involved in this endeavor.
So, here is what people need to wrap their minds around: First, if you are a Client and require an REO/P&P Contractor, General Contractor or Broker are you content with the status quo and pulling information off of spreadsheets and rolling the dice? If you are a Contractor or Broker, are you content with chasing lead after lead and sending all of your personal information to shady people on Craigslist and LinkedIn? Yes, you see that part I did not mention. To have access to the System you MUST have been vetted. You fill out an Application ONCE! When a Client likes what they see, they simply click a button and your information imports into their Application seamlessly and appears in their GUI. It’s win – win; secure and fast! What no one wants to talk about are the bank audits going on now. This covers EVERYONE!
So, if you are a Broker, Contractor or Client and this is something you are interested in participating in; if you are sick and tired of the antiquated and historical systems out there of pairing Industry with Labor, reach out to me today. The database is in the beta stage right now and the Project is run by Industry Veterans; veterans whom run multi million dollar businesses. The Project is also interested in speaking with you if you have Crowdsource Dataset experience, PHP, jQuery and MySQL or Cloudfare with SALT and/or HASH encryption experience.