SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 - reomac

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2011 - reomac

September / October 2011



the official national publication of the

Association of Real Estate Owned Managers, Inc.

REOMAC® 2011

Board of Directors


Ivan Choi, President

Benton Neese, Vice President

Sara Waite, Secretary

Kathy Jeffers-Volk, Treasurer


De’Ann Clark

Tom Corzine

Edna Juarez

Tom Moon

Cynthia Nierer

Tina Norder

Mark Paniccia

Mia Semo

John Sway

Ken Westfall

REOMAC® Headquarters

Joseph Davis

Executive Director

Jennifer Blevins, CMP

Special Projects

John Berkowitz

Publications Director

Nathan Carlson

Sponsorships / Foundation

Valerie Chavez


Michael Cochran


Bonnie Estep

Account Administrator

Katrina Duncan, CMP

Meeting Planner

Lexi Howard

Special Projects

Stephanie Schoen

Special Projects

Tricia Schrum, CPA


Cameron Schubert

Assistant Webmaster

September / October 2011




President’s Message – Ivan Choi. ............................................................... 3

Editor’s Message – Lynn Effinger. ...............................................................4

Headquarters Happenings – Joseph Davis. ...................................................... 7

July Dinner Meeting Wrap-Up – Fred Law. ......................................................8

Scholarship Report – Mia Semo ...............................................................16


Moving Beyond the Numbers – Morgan Harris. .................................................10

The REO Open House ...

Successful Marketing Strategy or Outdated Marketing Tool? – Mark Powell. ....................13

REOMAC ® Technology and Wellness Expo

Short Sales are Drastically Increasing – Don't Be Left On an Island! – James A. Browning, MRE......19

Ad Valorem Tax Challenges – Arlene Udick, Esq.. ................................................ 21

Office Safety ... and How We Survived a Brutal Attack on Our Team – Charles Matouk..............23

The Value of Quick Response Codes – Andrea Johnson. ..........................................25

The Tough Will Get Going – Lynn Effinger. ......................................................26

REOMAC® Update Editor

Lynn Effinger


2520 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 150

Sacramento, CA 95833

916-239-4090 • 916-924-7323 fax •

Copyright 2011 © by the Association of Real Estate Owned Managers.

No portion of this magazine may be printed without express written

consent of REOMAC®. The writings within these pages do not

necessarily reflect opinions of REOMAC®.

REOMAC® is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the professional

advancement of its Regular, Outsourcer, Affiliate and Associate

members nationwide. REOMAC® provides resources to anyone

whose career interest revolves around pre- and post-foreclosure, loss

mitigation and the management and disposition of distressed assets.

The membership includes lenders and servicers; attorneys and

vendors; and real estate brokers from across the country. REOMAC®

members are dedicated to improving the quality of service they

provide each other and the industry at large.

With the exception of products or services, or articles specifically

under REOMAC® control and supervision, it is the policy of REOMAC®,

its Officers and Board of Directors and the Editor of this publication,



REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 1

Ivan Choi

2011 REOMAC® President

During the last year and a

half, I have highlighted

REOMAC®’s identity

as a 26-year-old, national

non-profit trade association

dedicated to the mortgage

default industry. Since its

founding in 1985, REOMAC®’s

core membership has

always been comprised of

personnel who serve in a

mortgage default capacity

(i.e. bankruptcy, foreclosure,

REO) with employment at a

depository banking institution.

In fact, during the early years,

REOMAC® was an association

whose membership was

comprised only of this type of

banking employee. Brokers,

title representatives, field

services contractors, loan

originators, and attorneys

simply were not involved with

REOMAC® in the beginning.

As REOMAC® grew during

the last two decades, the

association added three

secondary membership

categories: 1. Affiliate (e.g.

title, loan originators, closing

services, attorneys, field

services, etc.), 2. Real Estate

Agent/Broker, and 3. Default/

REO Outsourcers.

While all of these

membership categories are

important, REOMAC® has

always maintained banking

institution personnel as

its core membership. This

became part of REOMAC®’s

identity: Banking personnel

first, everyone else second. To

support membership balanced

across the four categories,

REOMAC®’s bylaws state that

no one membership category

can exceed 25% of total.

This framework has led to a

serious problem. REOMAC®

cannot freely accept members,

based on the tradition of

banking personnel as the core

member category, as well as

the bylaws themselves. During

the last three years, REOMAC®

closed the real estate agent/

broker category because it has

been unable to recruit enough

banking personnel that would

balance out the membership

and allow more real estate

agents/brokers to join.

When you consider the

relatively small population of

default personnel employed

at banking institutions,

compared to the sheer number

of 2+ million registered real

estate agents/brokers across,

the REOMAC® bylaws may be

unfairly restrictive – Which

some in the broker community

have pointed out. REOMAC®

sought the perspective of legal

counsel as well. They advised

that although REOMAC®

was not being unlawful, the

organization MIGHT still

be exclusionary. This is

counterproductive from a nonprofit

standpoint. More than

that, non-profit associations

thrive when a membership is

strong in numbers.

As with past REOMAC® boards,

the current Board of Directors

has had – and continues to

have – heated debate about

how to solve the real estate

agent/broker membership

problem, while maintaining

the identity of REOMAC® as

a non-profit default servicing

trade association.

Many of our members, as well

as potential members, have

bluntly voiced their thoughts to

me and the current REOMAC®

Board of Directors about

the real estate agent/broker

membership. The

board of directors

along with the



will be



a plan

to open

the real





Because it will

involve changing

the bylaws that quide

REOMAC®, our membership

will need to vote to approve.

Please think carefully about

what you feel is in REOMAC®’s

long-term interest. Most

importantly, as a member,

please be sure to cast your

vote when the bylaw change

is proposed. Whatever the

outcome, the REOMAC® board

along with the Membership

Committee will ensure that

our association is positioned


On behalf of the Board of

Directors, as well as the

Membership Committee

chaired by Messrs. John Sway

and Mark Paniccia, thank

you very much for all of your

support and involvement with


REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 3

Lynn Effinger

REOMAC® Update Editor

Our “Open Forum”

edition of the

REOMAC® Update

has attracted some very

interesting and informative

articles from various members

that you don’t want to miss.

Morgan Harris offers up

his view that logic has, to a

degree, gone out the window

in the past five years relative

to non-performing loan and

asset management disposition.

According to Harris, today

we find ourselves facing a

protracted, extended cycle of

default, foreclosure and REO

re-sales. “The short sale is

even a part of the equation

today,” writes Harris. “There is

nothing typical about this cycle.

The flow of properties into the

REO pipeline is uneven, at best.

Default servicing and REO

firms see order counts that

alternate from drought to flood

... sometimes from week to

week. Talk in Washington D.C.

hovers over topics such as 'GSE

wind-down' or 'foreclosure'

moratorium.” You gotta read

this one! If only the federal

government would get out of

the way of the private sector!

Mark Powell explores the

validity of the Open House as

a modern marketing tool and

his conclusions might surprise

you. His insights are definitely

worth perusing.

James Browning’s piece highlights

the fact that short sale

transactions are increasing in

great numbers to cure defaulted

mortgages, giving distressed

homeowners another option

besides foreclosure. “The trend

of increased short sale activity

has gained momentum in the

last year according to banks,

lenders and outsourcers,” notes

Browning. “In fact, locally in

some markets, short sale activity

is now outnumbering REO

transactions.” You’ll want to

digest this enlightening commentary.

Arlene Udick, Esq. discusses

the ad velorem tax challenge,

a subject that might seem over

our heads at first, but Arlene

skillfully explains the issue in

a way that helps us more clearly

understand its ramifications.

Katie Smith and Kristin

Nakama of PEMCO, Ltd. Stress

the importance of adapting and

learning to shift gears in today’s

ever-changing and remarkably

uncertain market. This piece

is a must read, as is Charles

Matouk’s distressing tale of the

break-in and vandalism that

took place at his company’s

headquarters. There are

numerous lessons to be learned

from Charles’s harrowing

experience in his article on

office safety. Don’t “assume”

that this could never happen to

you. It is an evolving, ever more

dangerous environment we live

and work in with the economy

so unbelievably distressed and

with so many individuals and

families suffering.

Andrea Johnson tackled the

technological impact and

benefits of the utilization by

real estate agents and brokers

of Quick Response (QR) Codes.

Of course, our President, Ivan

Choi, imparts his words of

wisdom and Joseph Davis, Executive

Director of REOMAC®

gives us an “update” on Headquarters


I want to personally thank all

of our contributing authors

on behalf of the REOMAC®

Board of Directors for

submitting their excellent

articles appearing in this

issue of Update. It is in the

spirit of providing REOMAC®

members with the best possible

educational information, that

they can actually apply to their

operations, that we solicit

articles from our members; in

this issue we were fortunate

to receive some outstanding



9-12 MBA Annual Convention

& Expo. ....................... Chicago, IL

19-21 REOMAC® Technology

and Wellness Expo ........ Hollywood, FL


4 REOMAC® Commercial Dinner

Meeting ................. Los Angeles, CA

6-9 United Trustees Association

Annual Conference......... Las Vegas, NV

11-14 California REALTOR

EXPO 2011. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anaheim, CA


8 REOMAC® Dinner Meeting. .........

...........................Los Angeles, CA

4 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

5 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 6

Joseph Davis

Executive Director

The REOMAC® Board of

Directors is pushing to

complete all of their goals

for 2011. Hopefully you have

visited the new REOMAC® website

– The site

is cleaner and easier to navigate

and information will continually

be added to the site to keep you

updated on what is happening

in the industry. The REOMAC®

committees have been working

harder than ever to complete

their tasks and they should all

be commended on everything

they have accomplished thus

far. There is so much that goes

on behind the scenes that one

cannot put a value on all they do.

vote and mail back your ballot.

Ballots must be received by

October 27, 2011, to be counted.

Your vote means a lot, so please

return your ballot before the

due date. The results will be

announced and approved by

the REOMAC® membership at

the December 8, 2011 Annual

Meeting / Dinner Meeting in

Los Angeles.

It is that time of year to

start thinking of renewing

your membership dues with

REOMAC®. Renewal invoices

for the 2011 membership year

will be sent out on or about

November 7 th to all current

members. It is important

that you complete and return

your renewal application by

January 1, 2012, to ensure there

are no interruptions in your

REOMAC® Membership. All

current member information

will be verified to maintain your

membership in REOMAC®.

As always, thank you for your

continued support of REOMAC®.

If you have any questions or

comments, please do not hesitate

to contact us. See you in Florida!

If you have not registered for

the REOMAC® Technology &

Wellness Expo in Hollywood,

Florida, time is running out.

This is the same great event that

REOMAC® has presented in the

past with a fresh new look and

feel. This will be the “Don’t Miss”

event of the year for default

industry professionals. For full

details about the Technology

& Wellness Expo, please visit

the REOMAC® website at www.

By the time members are reading

this issue, the nominations for

the 2012 Board of Directors

will be closed and ballots will

have been mailed. If you are a

member of REOMAC® reading

this article, please be sure to

REOMAC® Launches New Website

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 7


Fred Law

Sponsored by:

Debbie Funderburk – The Funderburk Company

Viva Ashcroft – VivAssociates

Earl Gervais – American Eagle Real Estate

Pete Nyiri – Top Producers Realty and REO

U.S. REO Partners


Salt Lake City, UT

(July 14, 2011)

Assuring Compliance with Federal Changes in the Proof of Claim Process

MODERATOR: Donna L. LaPorte, Esq., The Hopp Law Firm, LLC

PANELISTS: Keely Bradshaw, Zions First National Bank

Rick L. Knuth, Esq., Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough

Duane H. Gillman, Esq., Durham Jones & Pinegar

The meeting was very “spirited” and

one that you shouldn’t have missed.

REOMAC® President, Ivan Choi,

started the evening with the current

stagnant status (my words, not his) of

the default industry with an over-flow

of cases currently that have not moved

through the channels. Loss Mitigation

and Short Sales have picked up activity,

and with efforts by lenders to make Short

Sale timelines similar to regular retail

sales. REO inventory has been held back

by a variety of reasons, Ivan commented,

and that we cannot compare the volume

of Short Sales against the Loss Mititigation


After that welcome and speaker

introduction from Ivan Choi, the presenters

took their places on the dais. The topic

for this dinner meeting was: Assuring

Compliance with Federal Changes in the

Proof of Claim Process.

After introductions, Donna LaPorte

started the discussion with the panel.

They reported the critical process for

this “proof of claim” in dealing with an

asset in a Bankruptcy case. This new

law will be implemented on December

1, 2011. The process should be viewed as

an opportunity to obtain information to

insure proper notice, and at the same time

has time-deadlines that must be met. It

is a “ticket” for creditors to be present at

the bankruptcy process. They will have

to sign under the risk of perjury with the

court, and the claim is subject to objection.

The claims must be on Real Property,

and the Bar Date timing with possession

amendment is due within 90 Days. The

document required is “existence of Debt

w/Perfection.” A Chapter 7 Bar Date is 90

days, and a Chapter 1 or 13 has a request

of special notice as they may not be the

standard 90 days.

It is important to have the Note and

Trust Deed in the file when the default

starts! You must have the original note to

foreclose. In many states, if this document

is not produced, you cannot pursue the

foreclosure action. Documents must be

provided, so if you don’t have them, find

them! Attending the “Meeting of Creditors”

gives you good information that you can

use in the file also.

A complete Transaction History is needed

with the client to build a case. Use the new

form 3001, and rule 3002.1. Failure to

continued on page 9

8 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

July Dinner Meeting – continued from page 8

file properly could cause you to lose your rights. It is important

to have this system in place so you DON'T miss the deadlines.

Know your file, and be proactive on history, payment, debt, and

all other aspects relating to the filing.

It was highly advised that REO Agents should not be involved

in this process, leave it to the bank and attorneys. The only

involvement an agent should have is IF it is in a short sale, or

already working with the lender, but do not advise on this claim

process, refer your client back to the attorney or lender.

Fred Law is broker/owner of Law Real Estate located in Riverton, UT.


The Funderburk Company

9512 Toyon Canyon Road

Escondido, CA 92029

(760) 743-1910 •



18940 N. Pima #100

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(602) 309-3133 •


American Eagle Real Estate

2187 Newcastle Avenue

Cardiff, CA 92007

(760) 473-8754 •


Top Producers Realty and REO

668 Paseo Grande

Corona, CA 92882

(951) 737-2121 •

U.S. REO Partners

4980 North Pine Island Road

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

(855) 487-7967 •

REOMAC® is Now Accepting

Applications for Membership

in all four membership categories

REGULAR MEMBER (Default Servicing Lender/Servicer employees)


AFFILIATE MEMBER (Attorney Firms, Title/Escrow Companies, Service Providers)



Non-profit industry trade association founded by lenders

Leading provider of education and networking opportunities since 1985

National membership and presence

Volunteer and membership driven education provided by recognized industry


Dedicated lender forums

Networking and interaction with industry peers

— Visit for application and qualification details —

REOMAC® commits to a high standard of education and membership. All

membership applications are reviewed and the information contained within

verified before membership ratification by the Board of Directors.

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 9

10 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

Moving Beyond

the Numbers

It’s a new day in the world of default and

REO services, requiring a new way of thinking.




We are, by nature, an industry

focused on the numbers. For

decades, firms throughout

the greater world of mortgage

and real estate could reliably

conduct their business

planning by cycle: refinance

and purchase spike, followed

by the default, foreclosure, REO spike. We didn’t

always know exactly how big the dip or spike

would be, or exactly when it would start, but we

“knew” it always would.

That logic has, to a degree, gone out the

window in the past five years. Today we

find ourselves facing a protracted, extended

cycle of default, foreclosure and REO resales.

The short sale is even a part of the

equation today. There is nothing typical

about this cycle. The flow of properties

into the REO pipeline is uneven, at best.

Default servicing and REO firms see order

counts that alternate from drought to flood

... sometimes from week to week. Talk in

continued on page 12

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 11

Moving Beyond the Numbers – continued from page 11

Washington D.C. hovers over topics such as “GSE wind-down”

or “foreclosure moratorium.”

Moreover, this isn’t going away any time soon. Some numbers

to consider for our numbers-focused industry:

2.1 million: The estimated number of housing units that will be

in the “shadow inventory” in August, 2011. (via CoreLogic)

2.87 million: The number of homes receiving notice of default,

auction or repossession in 2010. (via RealtyTrac, Inc.)

1 million: The number of homes seized in 2010 (via RealtyTrac,


Let’s add to those numbers the current unemployment rate (9.2%

as of August 24 th ). Let’s further add to the mix what can only

euphemistically be called an “uncertain” regulatory and legislative

atmosphere. How, exactly, does a default and REO services firm

plan for anything beyond today? By going beyond the numbers.

Perhaps it’s time for us, as an industry, to go beyond the numbers

when it comes to compliance and compliance planning. There is

business to be had, but we will have to approach it in a different

fashion. Going forward, ours will be an easy industry for

regulators, pundits and glory-seekers to target in the press, the

courts and the halls of Congress. After all, foreclosure is not

a popular process, even if it is necessary. The political debate

around the mortgage crisis has not always been logical and

certainly lacks foresight in many ways. Accordingly, the political

truism that foreclosure, in and of itself, must be prevented at any

cost will continue to manifest itself in harmful ways both clear

and subtle. Anything from foreclosure moratoriums to small

enforcement or regulatory changes will mean that default and

REO services firms need to be more nimble. Our compliance

teams and counsel will need to be proactive and astute. And our

business processes will need to be ultra-flexible.

Perhaps it’s time for us, as an industry, to go beyond the numbers

when it comes to efficiency. For years, some of our clients were

content to throw the process over the proverbial fence to us. REO

was never sexy, and our clients focused on the origination, rather

than the complex “back end” of an REO/default process. We were

left to our own to get it done, and get it done well. Some of us

did that, and continue to do so. Others did not. Our clients will

be more involved in our process going forward, and we should

welcome this. Here is an opportunity to prove our worth, and

show our clients our importance in the grand cycle of the mortgage

industry. We will need to work with, rather than in spite of, our

clients. We will need good technology, good processes, good

management and oversight, and great communication. We will

need to understand our clients, and what they need. These are

the things that will help us to handle the volatility in the market.

By the numbers, the next few years will be challenging for

everyone. If anything, however, the default services industry can

actually benefit from this cycle. But that won’t happen by way

of “business as usual.” It is time for each and every member of

this industry to take a good, honest look at the way we do what

we do. It will not be easy, but it will be an opportunity for us to

excel. And we’ll have to start by going beyond the numbers.

Morgan Harris is Executive Vice President, Default Services for

WFG National Title Insurance Company

Perhaps it’s time for us, as an industry, to go beyond the numbers

when it comes to service. We have taken a number of direct

hits from the public and body politic. Some have been justified,

but many more have not. What we do is not popular to those

who do not understand the mortgage lending process. But it is

necessary. Faced with this underlying hostility, we must now go

above and beyond in our customer service. We must realize that

our customers are not only investors, asset managers, mortgage

lenders or attorneys. They are also the foreclosed homeowners,

the borrowers ... the consumer. That’s right, the consumer.

Default and REO firms can never forget that they are extensions

of their customers. In some cases, we are the very face of our

customer. Accordingly, it’s time for us to take our standards

of customer service to new heights. Every interaction must be

professional, courteous and beyond reproach. Let’s not give the

world any reason whatsoever to blame our industry for the crisis

of the past few years.

12 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

The REO Open House....

Successful Marketing

Strategy or Outdated

Marketing Tool?




Many REO listing agents are asked

to hold their REO properties open

for public viewing. Holding open

houses can be a contractual requirement

made by the owner/bank/investor or just

strongly encouraged by the seller. Some

REO properties are in areas that may

not be suitable for an open house. The

condition of the REO property may also

determine whether an open house is the

most effective way to market the listing.

Although holding open houses is a

standard and proven marketing option,

how does the effectiveness of REO open

houses in today’s market – with unique

characteristics classified by distressed

market scenarios coupled with technology

and information advances (particularly

the information provided online to public

buyers and sellers) – compare with open

house effectiveness in the market and

technology of the times in which the open

house was born into traditional real estate


According to the 2010 National Association

of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and

Sellers, twelve percent of home buyers use

open houses as an information resource,

however some estimate only three to

five percent of houses are sold to a buyer

who visited the home during an open

house. Despite this gap, many sellers,

both institutional and individual, insist

on having their agents hold open houses.

Based on my experience and research, I

have come up with three reasons open

houses are still requested by the seller:

Firstly, open houses give the appearance

that the listing agent is doing something

more than just placing a sign on the

property and subsequently waiting for

an offer. Holding an open house will

demonstrate to the seller that the listing

agent is taking time, normally a Saturday

or Sunday, to market the property to the

general public. It is an observable display

that conveys time and effort by the agent

on behalf of his or her client. The truth

is holding an open house is really more

useful for the listing agent than for home

sellers. The relatively few hours a listing

agent spends conducting an open house

may yield several new potential buyers who

can be followed up with as leads.

The second reason sellers may request an

open house is because it is undeniably

a useful and proven tool for selling –

although the effectiveness in today’s

market versus the market of decades past

is questionable. One major benefit of an

open house is prospective buyer feedback.

When a listing has been on the market

for considerably longer than the average

marketing time, one of the following two

reasons are often the culprit:

The property is overpriced;

There are some functional or economical

factors relating to the property that is

preventing buyers from placing an offer.

Holding the property open to the public

will allow the agent to gain important

feedback from buyers. This information

should be shared with the seller and used

to adjust the marketing strategy.

The third reason for open house popularity

with sellers is that open houses allow

buyers to physically see a property on a

casual basis. There are some buyers who

prefer to see properties without an agent.

These buyers often act as their own agent

and will only seek out the assistance of

an agent when they are prepared to place

an offer or feel they need some additional

guidance. Open houses are a great way

for buyers to preview homes and conduct

their own visual inspection without the

help of an agent.

An open house is still a generally accepted

marketing strategy in home sales. However,

their usefulness as a marketing tool is, in

my opinion, overrated, largely because

the vast majority of buyers will start

their home search on the Internet from

which they are able to obtain plenty of

information about the homes in which

they are most interested. In today’s world

of information and technology, buyers

seem to be gravitating towards instant

information that can be customized

and tailored to their particular property

preferences. With Internet searching,

buyers have full control over time, location

and extent of their search. They can use

integrated and sophisticated maps and

parameters which allow them to rapidly

and logically narrow down an entire

neighborhood to a narrow selection of

continued on page 14

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 13

The REO Open House – continued from page 13

subject properties of interest. When

compared to the nature of open houses,

which are held seemingly arbitrarily (to

the public) and must be happened upon

or sought-out, it is easy to understand

why customized Internet searching, and

later viewing with the help of an agent, is

a method preferred by today’s modern


Open houses are still an excellent method

for agents to market themselves and their

companies, and to pick up some potential

buyers in the process. Listing agents should

carefully consider whether their client

would benefit from an open house, but

understand that if the seller is requiring

open houses, then open houses will need

to become part of the marketing plan even

if for no other reason than to give them

that extra three to five percent chance of

exposing their property to a buyer.

If you are planning to hold open houses,

here are some basic safety strategies that

you can adopt with every open house:

Know where all the exits are located for

an easy escape.

Leave the front door locked so you can

monitor who is coming in. If another agent

is present, this will not be necessary.

Have everyone sign a register and verify

with their identification. Legitimate

prospects won’t mind and should be

impressed. They will think you will be just

as protective of their home.

Try not to turn your back on your new

prospect. Let them lead the way.

If someone comes in who makes you feel

uncomfortable while you are alone leave

the home and seek assistance.

Avoid working an open house alone. Bring

another agent with you.

Make sure you have your cell phone with

you in case you need to make an emergency

call. Keep your phone on your person.

Check all rooms before beginning the open

house for someone who might be hiding.

Listen to your instincts and trust your

gut feeling about a person or situation.

Mark Powell is Broker/CEO of San Diegobased

real estate company Discovery

Property Group, Inc.

14 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm



October 19-21, 2011

Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Hollywood, Florida

Not all industry events

are created equal


Attend the


Fall Event

for the



REOMAC ® Technology and

Wellness Expo isn’t just talk,

its actionable ideas for today’s

business and technology

challenges that showcase

the future.

Arm yourself with the latest

strategies and ideas to work

smarter and have an advantage

over the competition.

We look forward to you joining us!


Erik Qualman

Author of Socialnomics



Called a Digital Dale Carnegie,

Erik Qualman is the author

of Socialnomics: How Social

Media Transforms the Way We Live

and Do Business. Socialnomics

made Amazon’s #1 Best Selling

List for the US, Japan, UK, Canada,

Portugal, Italy, China, Korea and

Germany. Socialnomics was a

finalist for the “2010 Book of the

Year” awarded by the American

Marketing Association. Fast

Company magazine listed him as

a Top 100 Digital Influencer. He

also has one of 2010’s most viral

videos on YouTube in “Social Media


Qualman is a frequently requested

International speaker and has been

highlighted in numerous media

outlets including: BusinessWeek, The

New York Times, Wall Street Journal,

Mashable, USA Today, Financial Times,

Forbes, Fortune, CBS Nightly News,

and the Huffington Post. He has been

fortunate to share the stage with Alan

Mulally (Ford CEO), Lee Scott (CEO/

Chairman Walmart), Jose Socrates

(Prime Minister of Portugal), Lutz

Bethge (Montblanc CEO), Ted Leonsis

(Washington Wizards & Capitals

Owner), Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (Nokia

CEO), Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony

Hawk and Sarah Palin.

Qualman is an MBA Professor at the

Hult International Business School.

For the past 16 years Qualman has

helped grow the digital capabilities of

many companies including Cadillac,

EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo,

Travelzoo and AT&T. He is the founder

and owner of

which PC Magazine ranked as a Top

10 Social Media Blog. He sits on the

Advisory Boards of Manumatix and

Bazaarvoice Inc.

Qualman holds a BA from Michigan

State University and an MBA from

The University of Texas. He was

Academic All-Big Ten in basketball

at Michigan State University and

still finds time to follow his beloved

Spartans while living in Boston with

his wife and daughter.


Chef Jeff




Chef Jeff Henderson is

an award-winning chef,

motivational speaker, New

York Times best-selling author, and

Food Network television personality.

Henderson captivates audiences

across the country with his

triumphant story of change and the

power of potential.

Henderson grew up on the tough

streets of Central LA and San

Diego. By the time he was 19, he

was running a $35,000 a week drug

operation. At 24, Henderson was

arrested and sent to prison, where

he spent the next ten years behind

bars. It was while incarcerated that

he discovered a passion for cooking

and committed himself to turning his

life around.

After spending nearly a decade

behind bars, Henderson transitioned

back into an environment that was

as intimidating and hostile as prison.

Having no formal education and a

criminal background, he struggled for

years in the hospitality industry. But,

with persistence and determination,

he was able to achieve his dreams,

eventually becoming the executive

chef of Café Bellagio in Las Vegas.

His story was first told in the New

York Times best-selling memoir,

Cooked: My Journey from the Streets

to the Stove.

Today, Henderson is the Food

Network personality behind The Chef

Jeff Project, which takes six at-risk

young adults and commits to turning

their lives around by putting them

to work for his catering company,

Posh Urban Cuisine, and providing

them with the knowledge, skills,

and ultimately, the opportunity for a

new life with a culinary career. The

show also inspired the companion

cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks: In the

Kitchen with America’s Inspirational

New Culinary Star.

Henderson uses “Reality-Based

Education” to inspire audiences to

take charge of their lives and become

a driver on the freeway towards their

dreams. He gives them effective and

simple ways to implement strategies

to navigate them through the detours

and roadblocks along the way.

A wide range of industries from

hospitality and restaurant to urban

workforce, healthcare, banking,

and technology have sought after

Henderson’s message. Audiences

find his use of storytelling and

humor not only memorable, but also

captivating. Henderson is the voice

of personal and professional change,

distinguishing him as a leading

authority on human potential.


Harry Gardner



Harry Gardner is the President

of SigniaDocs, a national

eMortgage solutions provider

that supports legally compliant electronic

mortgage documents for all 50 states at

the investor, federal, state and local levels.

He is a frequent speaker and writer

on eMortgages, mortgage technology,

industry standards and enterprise data

management issues. He also serves

as the Chair of the MISMO Residential

Governance Committee.

Mr. Gardner was previously the Vice

President of Industry Technology for

the Mortgage Bankers Association,

and was the President of MISMO, Inc.


MISMO is comprised of lenders, investors,

technology and services companies,

and key industry players. MISMO was

formed in January 2000 to develop

electronic commerce data standards for

the mortgage industry. In January 2001,

it launched the eMortgage Workgroup

to develop technical specifications and

industry guidance for eMortgage adoption.

Mr. Gardner also managed the efforts of

MBA’s various technology committees

and task forces, and oversaw technology

content for MBA conferences and

educational classes.

Named one of Mortgage Banking

magazine’s 2009 eMortgage All-Stars,

Gardner has worked with many related

industry groups including the Property

Records Industry Association (PRIA),

Electronic Signatures and Records

Association (ESRA), Appraisal Institute,

American Land Title Association (ALTA),

National Notary Association (NNA), US

Notary Association (USNA), American

Escrow Association (AEA), US Foreclosure

Network (USFN), and Standards and

Procedures for electronic Records and

Signatures (SPeRS).

Mr. Gardner has developed hardware

and software technology solutions for

more than 30 years, including electronic

systems for the aerospace, broadcast and

audio industries.

Mr. Gardner has management and

technical experience in electronics design,

software development, ecommerce,

government contract management and

systems integration, and network systems

support. Prior to MBA, Mr. Gardner

was Director of Custom Integration with

Ultraprise, a Frederick, MD, mortgage

technology startup. In addition to

Ultraprise, he has worked for CACI

International, W.J. Culver Consulting,

CSDC, Delta Electronics, Litton Systems,

Teledyne Avionics, and Amber Electronics.

He has been certified in Novell and 3Com

local area network (LAN) administration

and has managed document imaging

systems and software as well as

database and Web development for a

variety of e-commerce initiatives.



OCTOBER 19, 2011

8:00 am – 1:00 pm Training Registration Open

9:00 am – 12:00 pm


Equator Agent Certification

Equator is offering our top of the line, on-site PLATINUM Agent Certification training

for REOMAC ® Technology & Wellness Expo attendees! The Equator Platform now

features 4 of the top 5 Lenders and Servicers in the country. Agents often ask how

they can increase their exposure to these Servicers. Equator’s Agent Certification

program offers exclusive training and marketing opportunities for Equator not found

anywhere else!


• REO and Short Sale Certification

• 15 interactive training modules & test

• Highest search prioritization when Asset Managers are searching for Agents

• Use of prestigious Platinum logo

• Enhanced Agent profile (Bio, photo, bold text, brochure)


• Top ranking in Lender and Homeowner searches

• Improved exposure to Lenders

• Access to exclusive Certified Agent events

• Expanded Agent profile

• 3% of Agents are Certified yet they receive 35% of all listings

12:00 pm – 5:00 pm Exhibitor Set Up

12:00 pm – 7:00 pm General Registration Open

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm


Technology for Non-Techies!

The key to building a successful REO and/or short sale business is to develop

models and processes to improve productivity and efficiency. As an agent’s

business grows the agent must continually look for more efficient and cost-effective

ways of getting the job done. In this course we’ll look at some techniques used by

seasoned REO and Short Sale agents to effectively improve the efficiency of their

businesses by leveraging technology.

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm Welcome Reception & Exhibit Hall



OCTOBER 20, 2011

7:00 am – 7:35 am Sunrise Meditation – Stretching on the Beach

7:00 am – 5:00 pm Summit Registration Open

8:00 am – 9:15 am Breakfast with Exhibitors

8:00 am – 5:00 pm Exhibit Hall Open

9:30 am – 11:15 am


Opening Remarks: Ivan Choi, REOMAC ® President

Keynote Speaker: Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

11:15 am – 11:45 am Break

11:45 am – 1:00 pm


MISMO (presented by MBA)

Speaker: Harry Gardner, Chairman of the Residential Governance Committee for MISMO

MISMO (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mortgage Bankers Association) was

formed in January 2000 to develop electronic commerce data standards for the

residential and commercial mortgage markets. Boasting more than 150 subscriber

organizations, MISMO is supported by mortgage bankers, lenders, servicers,

vendors and services providers. MISMO works towards developing standards for

the industry that can help reduce costs, increase efficiencies, improve data quality

and allow for cost savings by consumers.

Join us for an enlightening discussion on the development of standardization and

uniformity in technology for the mortgage industry and what might be in store for us

in the future.

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Lunch with Exhibitors



OCTOBER 20, 2011

2:45 pm – 4:00 pm


Town Hall Session

In today’s environment, more and more focus is being placed on technology and

related compliance requirements within the mortgage default sector. The continual

new demands and requirements are not without cost. A good deal of money is

being spent by ALL those involved in the industry, not only for equipment necessary

to run the various softwares required to perform our jobs, but also for the technical

expertise needed for programming and maintenance. Our panel of experts will

delve into the question – are the technological and related compliance requirements

making it prohibitive for some in the mortgage default industry? Considering the

many services provided from loan servicing all the way through to REO disposition,

could small businesses be wiped out and how long will the larger organizations be

able to hold on? Is the industry, the government and the nation prepared to deal

with the consequences? Why this level of focus on technology and is it necessary?

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Charity Cocktail Reception and Live, Silent and Lucky Number Auction

Benefitting the REOMAC ® Foundation

Mix, mingle and connect over scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and live music. Bid big

on big prizes and grand adventures or you can try the lucky number auction and win

iPads and Kindles and other technology items.


7:00 am – 7:35 am Sunrise Meditation – Stretching on the Beach


OCTOBER 21, 2011

7:30 am – 5:00 pm Summit Registration Open

8:00 am – 9:15 am Breakfast with Exhibitors

8:00 am – 2:30 pm Exhibit Hall Open

9:30 am – 10:45 am


Nutrition on the Run, Energy Management

Personal energy levels are emerging as the new currency in the workplace. Learn

how to sustain your energy and achieve well-being.


Property Preservation / Code Violations

In the ideal world, every property would be perfectly maintained at all times and

code violations would be a theory only. While that is not the reality ... it is what the

industry strives for. Come hear our panel discuss the way technology has been

improving the property preservation process and creating lines of communication

between municipalities / code enforcement officials and servicers. While

advancements have been made, our speakers will also discuss what areas still need

improvement and what technological advances are on the horizon.



The issue of fraud against lenders and servicers is not one that you will generally

find being discussed by the media. And yet, it is a serious problem being dealt with

by the mortgage default industry daily. Whether it was fraud at origination which

now affects the foreclosure, or fraud in a short sale scenario or fraud during an REO

closing transaction ... prevention is paramount. Our expert panel will discuss the

fraud schemes currently being perpetrated and how technology can help protect the


10:45 am – 11:15 am Sponsored Break



OCTOBER 21, 2011

11:15 am – 12:45 pm



The nature of adapting well in the face of adversity. Learn practical strategies

for dealing with change, disappointments and challenges, and for staying well in

stressful environments.


Technology – Your Responsibilities and Liabilities

In today’s technological age, there is no getting around using technology. And,

whether you are sending an e-mail, uploading photos, scanning documents, etc.,

there is no getting around your responsibility to protect that data. Come join our

distinguished panel as they discuss data integrity and retention requirements,

privacy concerns, possible repercussions for not handling/protecting data correctly

and processes/programs that are available to help protect data in your possession

and reduce your risk of liability.


Loss Mitigation

HAMP, HARP, HAFA, proprietary modifications, short sales, deeds-in-lieu – loss

mitigation options are in high demand. With the level of calls, e-mails, letters,

documents that servicing shops deal with daily, it is no wonder that technology is

being called upon to assist with day-to-day operations. Come hear how technology

is currently being utilized to assist with the loss mitigation process, what challenges

still exist and what advances are on the horizon.

12:45 pm – 2:15 pm Lunch with Exhibitors & Grand Prize Drawing

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm


The Evolution of Marketing and Selling

There was the horse and carriage ... then the locomotive ... then the automobile

... then the airplane ... then the rocket ship. As transportation has evolved over

the years, so too has the process of marketing and selling properties. In today’s

technological world, it is only logical that the process of buying/selling properties

would incorporate the benefits of technology and evolve to new levels – from virtual

online open houses, to online auctions. Come join our panel as they discuss how

technology is used today to market and sell REO properties – the advantages, the

challenges and the future.



OCTOBER 21, 2011

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm – (continued)


The Era of E-

E-recording, E-filing, E-signing – the move to “electronicize” the way documents of

all types are handled continues to push forward. However, not everyone is on board

the “electronic train” – whether it is a technological limitation, a concern about

the risk of fraud or the mere preference for paper. Our panel will discuss how the

various “E-” processes work, the benefits of same, the concerns/challenges relating

to them and where things are heading relative to E-documents.

5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

President’s Closing Celebration Event

(open to all registered attendees)

REOMAC ® Board of Directors will greet guests with a Champagne Arrival and tray

passed appetizers. An inspirational speech will follow by Chef Jeff Henderson.

Afterwards, we will sit down together to beautiful tables with food that invites

conversation, camaraderie and best of all fond memories.




Looking for a unique chance to

show how your business strives

to provide the best practices

and latest technologies to those in the

default servicing industry?

Exhibiting presents the perfect

opportunity to do just that!

As attendees from all aspects of default

servicing walk by, your booth can be

set up to show them exactly why your

company is just what they need to

maximize performance and efficiency in

their careers.

REOMAC ® sponsorship

opportunities offer highly

visible packages focused

directly at showcasing your products

and services to thousands of default

industry professionals. As a REOMAC ®

sponsor, you will gain access to an elite

group of default industry specialists.

By sponsoring with REOMAC ® you

can build brand awareness and create

company recognition. REOMAC ® is

Booths are available on a first-paid,

first-served basis. This is just the

occasion your business can take

advantage of to show to default

servicing attendees on an interactive

level why you are just what they are

looking for!

For further inquiries, please contact

Stephanie Schoen at 916.239.4090 or

a nonprofit trade association, so your

sponsorship dollars go to promoting the

industry. Showcase your products and

services to the default industry!

For more information about

REOMAC ®’s sponsorship

opportunities, please go to www. or contact Nathan

Carlson at 916.239.4090 or










































Cyber Cafe





13 15


33 34 Massage 1 2
















The Westin Diplomat Resort

and Spa is the host hotel

for REOMAC ® ’s Technology

and Wellness Expo. The hotel

is conveniently located in

Hollywood, Florida between Fort

Lauderdale and Miami and is

easy to get to from any of the

major airports.

To register for the Expo visit Once

registered for the Expo you can

make your hotel reservation.

Hotel reservations cannot be

made by calling the hotel. To

secure your room at the

discounted REOMAC ® room rate,

please make your reservation as

soon as possible. The deadline

date for discounted rates is

September 20 th .

The Westin Diplomat

3555 South Ocean Drive

Hollywood, FL 33019

(888) 627-9057


the REOMAC ®



One of the most rewarding aspects

of the REOMAC ® Technology and

Wellness Expo is the Charity

Reception and Auction on Thursday

evening. Through this event, the

REOMAC ® Foundation is able to

raise funds that enabled the

awarding last year of thirty-six

hard-working students who are

diligently pursuing college

degrees. REOMAC ® is honored

to have awarded $55,000 in

scholarships in 2011.

This year, the

REOMAC ® Foundation

is striving to give back

to the community through

these scholarships again

– and they need your help!

There are two ways you can

be part of this worthy cause.

The first way is to donate an

item that will be auctioned off

on Thursday evening. The second

way is to participate in the auction

itself. This is especially fun as the

students receive financial aid to

help them with school, and you just

might purchase that perfect gift for

someone you love. Either way, you are

contributing to something that helps the

relatives of those in the default industry

succeed – what could be better?

Look for the auction items during the Welcome

Reception on Wednesday evening and in the

Registration Foyer all day Thursday.

The REOMAC ® Foundation would like to thank you in

advance for your generosity!


REOMAC ® 2012



March 18-21, 2012

JW Marriott

Palm Desert, CA


Thank You Technology and Wellness Expo Sponsors!

— Platinum —

— Cyber Lounge — — Relaxation Lounge —

Platinum Title of South Florida, Inc.

— Thursday Welcome Breakfast —

— Hotel Room Key Cards —

Marc Oppenheimer / Atlanta Communities

— On-Site Program Inside Front Cover Ad —

Joyce Essex / Coldwell Banker

— On-Site Program One Page Ad —


Catherine Taylor

Triad Properties

Michelle Syberg

Mid-America Property Partners

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 15

Mia Semo

REOMAC® 2011 Scholarship Committee Chair

As Chair of the 2011

REOMAC® Scholarship

Committee, it is

my pleasure and honor to

announce that 38 students of

our members’ collegiate family

and friends are the recipients

of a Scholarship award based

on their accomplishments and

financial need. On behalf of


Foundation Scholarship

Committee members: Edna

Juarez – Co-Chair, Carole

ONeill, Anngel Benoun, Pam

Bookout, and Ivan Choi, we

congratulate and salute these

exceptional students. In

addition, I would like to express

a big THANK YOU to the

overwhelming generosity of our

financial donors that consist of

the REOMAC® membership

and industry supporters who

make this award possible.

Even in challenging times,

your enthusiastic support

throughout the year helps make

the dreams of our collegiate

award winners possible as well

as alleviate some of the financial

burden placed on their families.

This year a significant number

of students applied for

scholarships – 70 in total.

Faced with a high number of

talented and qualified students,

the Committee took great

care to choose individuals

with a solid academic record,

commitment to their education,

strong community involvement,

and demonstrated financial

need. Using a 10 point rating

system, each application

package was distributed to all

committee members without

identifying information. The

new on-line application process

has created efficiencies and

allows for thorough and

non-bias evaluations by

reviewing redacted transcripts,

curriculum, essays and letters

of reference for each applicant.

Final scores were discussed and

after a series of meetings, we

distributed a total of $57,500

which came from donations,

raffles, silent auctions and

REOMAC® Summits. The

scholarship awards are as

follows: 3 @ $3000, 8 @ $2000,

11 @ $1500, and 16 @ $1000.

We sincerely wish the following

students that were awarded

scholarships this year the

best in the pursuit of their

education and chosen career

paths. This award is a token

of our confidence in them and

we will be monitoring their

progress to hear about their

success, which we will share

with the rest of you in future


Congratulations 2011 Scholarship Recipients

Amber Ashley

Grand Valley State University

Tyler Bracken

Brigham Young University

Taylor Galbraith

Union College

Naja Beck

Howard University

Trey Cash

Louisiana State University

Allison Garrett

University of California,

Santa Barbara

Dominick Bianco

St. John’s University

Kyleigh De Petro

University of California,

Los Angeles

continued on page 17

16 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

Scholarship Report – continued from page 16

Jennifer Granillo

California State University,

Long Beach

Samantha Margolin

Binghamton University

Zach Talaganis

Miami University

Sarah Hagan

Rutgers, The State

University of New Jersey

Katherine McGuinn

Seattle University

Austin Tilton

University of Georgia

Scott Hermes

University of Louisiana

at Lafayette

Kelli Mclachlan

Citrus College

Leo Tuck

University of Florida

Holly Hermes

University of Texas –

San Antonio

Amy Mendez

Portland State University

Danielle Vander Schaaf

Olivet Nazarene University

Amber Hibbs

Penn State University

Michael Merola

Cal Poly Pomona

Jessica Vyzas

Syracuse University

Lauren Huffine

Purdue University

Kelly Nastasi

University of Southern


Amanda Walker

McKendree University

Marisa Jacobson

Mercyhurst College

Allyx Nicolici

Sacramento State


Allyson Wilhite

San Diego State University

Alyssa Johnson

Mount San Antonio

Community College

Stephanie Norberte

University of Illinois


Johnny Woollams

Western Michigan


Jessica Kuhlman

The University of Arizona

Madison Poole

Mississippi State University

Keri Zachmann

St. John’s University

Hillary Lindwall

Northwestern University

Caitlin Stredde

McKendree University

Samantha Zorn

University of Central


REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 17

REOMAC® Plus tm !

Your FIRST CHOICE resource

for quick access to a REOMAC®

Member REO Expert

The industry experts know that to find a local

default professional they simply go to www.reomac.

com and click on the REOMAC® Plus tm logo.

Your trusted resource

for over 25 years.

A proven track record

servicing the default


18 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

Short Sales Are

Drastically Increasing –

Don’t Be Left

On an Island!

By James A.

Browning, MRE

It’s in the news daily; problems and

issues with the nation’s foreclosure

crisis, robo-signings, moratoriums,

court appeals, and servicer reviews.

Short sale transactions are increasing in

great numbers to cure defaulted mortgages,

giving distressed homeowners another

option besides foreclosure. The trend of

increased short sale activity has gained

momentum in the last year according to

banks, lenders and outsourcers. In fact,

locally in some markets, short sale activity

is now outnumbering REO transactions.

According to asset managers, the number

of short sales has drastically increased and

will continue to do so. Many experts in

the industry predict the foreclosure or

REO process will slow to a crawl due to the

courts, as well as other problems servicers

face in today’s market.

Short sales are conducted outside of and

prior to the foreclosure process. The bank/

lender gives homeowners opportunities to

list and sell their properties before they go

to foreclosure sale. Homeowners facing

foreclosure usually have bank-imposed

deadlines to meet, however many of the

banks/lenders cannot finalize foreclosures

now or in the near future. This gives the

homeowner more time for a short sale

opportunity. This benefits the borrower.

Based upon my experience, the main

frustration in a short sale transaction is

the approval process from the lender after

the purchase contract has been submitted

to the bank. The timeframe for a response,

whether it is a denial or approval can be

incredibly drawn out. At this time, there

are currently only a few companies who

are working with the banks for a preapproval

sales price for a short sale listing.

This practice of a pre-approved short sales

price should be standard practice with all

banks and GSE’s.

In today’s tumultuous real estate climate,

Realtors® really have no choice but to adapt

to the world of short sales and REOs, in

addition to traditional retail real estate

transactions if they want to stay in business

in the many distressed markets across the

United States. Unfortunately, however,

many Realtors® shy away from the short

sale market due to the cumbersome process,

lack of success, extended timeframes, and

lack of education and experience as to

how to successfully negotiate this type

of process. Add to that the uncertainty

of the commission to be paid and you

have many Realtors® opting out of these

types of transactions. Many borrowers

delay contacting Realtors® to explore the

short sale option until there is not much

time left prior to the foreclosure sale, so

many Realtors® also fear they will be held

accountable if they cannot get the short

sale approved and the house sold prior to

the sale date.

Given the often long and arduous

process in place today, Realtors® would

gladly embrace working with distressed

homeowners, if lenders would proactively

provide an approved sales price prior to

the short sale property listing. If this

practice were instituted, it would expedite

the transaction tremendously and give

both the listing and selling brokers

confidence that the transaction has a

higher probability of closing. It would

also allow properties to be listed with

a realistic price as opposed to what we

see today; short sales listed too low to be

realistic or too high based on the amount

due on the loan. What Realtor® wouldn’t

embrace the accountability required by the

banks, lenders and outsourcers, knowing

up front what is expected of them in order

to facilitate the short sale transaction?

Not only would this shorten the cycle of

submitting the listing/short sales package

through to the approval/denial letter

received from the lender/banks, by weeks

and or months, it would also minimize

the number of contract terminations by

buyers who give up due to the unknown

timeframe for response and closing. This

continued on page 20

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 19

Short Sales – continued from page 19

practice would be exciting and could instill

confidence within the Realtor® community

by those who currently choose not to work

with short sale sellers and buyers.

According to Realty Trac, there were

approximately 314,002 “pre-foreclosure

sales” (typically short sales) nationwide

in 2010. This represented 10 percent

of all residential sales, while REO sales

accounted for an additional 16 percent.

The average sales price of a pre-foreclosure

sale was $206,306 nationwide, which was

15 percent below the average sales price of

homes not in foreclosure. By contrast, the

average REO sales price was 36 percent

below the average sales price of homes

not in foreclosure. The difference between

pre-foreclosures and REO sales prices

amounts to 21 percent.

Nationally, in the third quarter of 2010,

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported

a ratio of approximately 5 to 1 between

foreclosures and short sales. There were

roughly 200,000 foreclosures and 40,000

short sales.

Clearly the benefits of pre-foreclosure

sales are evident, and can only work

towards promoting more stability within

local housing markets and help distressed

homeowners who prefer an alternative to

foreclosure. If we can get the pendulum to

swing more toward short sales than REO,

then not only does this have a more positive

impact on market values, but it also allows

lenders to achieve higher recovery rates.

Short sale properties sell for more than

REO’s and are more likely to be in better

condition as well. Short sale sellers are

certainly less likely to strip their homes of

the kitchen or leave it loaded with trash, as

we often see with REO properties.

While the industry has been trying to

decrease the number of REO’s through

loan modifications, leaseback programs,

short sales and other creative processes,

there is still work to be done. The HAFA

program which was launched in April

2010 has had spotty success. Recent

changes to the program, however, should

result in more homeowners qualifying

for HAFA and an increase in short sales

numbers. Most servicers have added short

sale negotiators, departments, procedures

and staff. The next step is to find ways

to shorten the short sales timeline and

find ways to list these properties with

pre-approved list prices. Realtors® can

be very influential in helping distressed

homeowners choose the short sale

option. We need to provide them with

clearer procedures and also not keep the

commission piece as an unknown to the

end, given the time and energy required

to complete these types of transactions.

The current short sales trend is going to

drastically increase over the next 3 -4 years.

Don’t miss the boat, for the sake of all of

us in the real estate industry who desire

to provide service to sellers and buyers,

distressed or not.

James A. Browning is the CEO of the

REO Institute of Colorado, Broker/Owner,

Browning Group LLC, National Speaker/

Instructor related to Residential and

Commercial Distressed Assets.





With over 20 Years experience in the REO industry

and thousands of REO’s closed, we are your

New Jersey specialist for…..

Loss Mitigation

Residential REO Sales - Commercial REO Sales

Property Preservation - Property Management


Our Long Standing Clients Include:

Many of the Nations Leading Banks,

Outsourcers and Servicers


If you want RESULTS instead of Excuses

Call the people that do the job!


Call Patrick J. FOX, GRI






Call Patrick J. FOX, GRI




20 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

Ad Valorem

Tax Challenges

“The only thing certain in life is death and taxes”



Udick, Esq.

— Benjamin Franklin

If you are looking for a way to help

your clients increase cash flow, you

might want to suggest an ad valorem

tax challenge. 1 The phrase “ad valorem”

is Latin for according to value. The ad

valorem tax is based on the value of the

real estate being taxed. Depending on the

jurisdiction, the taxing authority or county

tax assessor performs an appraisal of the

monetary value of the property, and the

tax is assessed in proportion to that value.

As we all know, property values have been

dropping across all segments of the real

estate market over the last several years.

There is not one sector that has been left

untouched by the diminution in value. In

many cases the taxing authority cannot

keep up with the decline in value. There

are also a number of reasons why a tax

assessor may be discouraged from posting

lower values; one reason may be a decline

in revenues generated by the ad valorem tax.

Depending on the value of the property,

an owner who challenges the ad valorem

tax may gain substantial savings in the

amount of taxes the owner is required to

pay annually.

Every State has its own statutory

framework and burden of proof to appeal

the assessment used in setting the tax.

Various state laws and relevant section of

the administrative code are beyond the

scope of this article. In almost all cases

the filing fee is minimal, and in most cases

there is an administrative review process

and if desired by either side, a provision

for judicial review of the administrative

hearing. However the evidence that

must be presented at the administrative

hearing is fairly similar in all jurisdictions

depending on the burden of proof. The

evidence generally presented is similar

to information used in presenting a

market analysis or a broker price opinion.

It consists of a list of recent sales and

valuation of similar properties in the area

comparing the comparable properties to

the subject property. Depending on the

value of the property challenging the ad

valorem assessment and the amount of tax

burden in dispute, the owner may want to

pay the cost of an appraisal, and have the

appraiser present the evidence. Generally

the way it works in many jurisdictions is

that the taxpayer can get relief even when

the property is assessed below market

value, by pointing to lower-taxed similarly

situated properties. For example, in a

given jurisdiction most five- to ten-store

strip malls are assessed at eighty percent

of market value, but the taxpayer’s seven

store strip mall is assessed at ninety

percent of market value. The taxpayer in

this case has a right to a reduction to eighty

percent because others in the same area

are assessed at the lower rate.

Before the taxpayer starts the challenge

process, he or she will need to know

the law of their state/jurisdiction and

the administrative code that applies to

tax appeals. The best place to start is to

go online to that municipality’s taxing

authority web site or to visit the tax

assessor’s office in person. At either venue

the taxpayer should be able to obtain the

information and forms needed to pursue

the tax challenge. The taxpayer will

need to develop the evidence required to

support the challenge on his or her own.

This process will take time for preparation,

research, and patience. The time spent

in preparation will give the taxpayer the

confidence when the taxpayer meets

with the assessor or the review board.

If the amount in dispute is substantial

or the taxpayer does not have the time

or inclination the taxpayer can hire an

attorney, CPA, or other professional to

represent the taxpayer as allowed by the

state law. In many instances the assessor

for the taxing authority will work with the

taxpayer to review the evidence presented

and come to an amicable solution.

continued on page 22

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 21

Ad Valorem Tax Challenges – continued from page 21

There are benefits to an ad valorem tax challenge whether the

tax payer is a real estate owner/operator, a lender, owns or leases

commercial property and or industrial property used in the

taxpayer’s business or even to a residential owner. Basically an

ad valorem tax challenge benefits all property owners. The tax

challenge benefits not only an owner or landlord, but benefits a

tenant if the tenant pays the real estate taxes by way of a passthrough

in a lease. If a lender is sitting on a substantial number

of REOs, it would benefit the lender to review the portfolio to

determine the cost versus the benefit of the reduced tax burden.

This decrease in the expenses associated with the payment of

real estate taxes will allow the lender to maintain its earnings.

So long as real estate property values continue to decline the

prudent owner may wish to revisit an ad valorem tax challenge

on an annual basis. Good luck.

Arlene Udick, Esq. is associated with Florida-based Real Estate

Law Solutions.


1. Property tax laws vary greatly from one state to another. This article

is a generalized overview and may not be applicable in the reader's


22 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

Office Safety …

and How We

Survived a Brutal

Attack on Our


By Charles


Although I dislike going over this

story yet again, I am sharing

this with all of you in an effort

to help keep everyone just a little safer

– September being REALTOR® Safety

Month and all!

About 3 weeks ago, our office was entirely

ransacked by an unknown individual.

When I first entered the next morning,

what shocked me was the level of damage

and extent of the anger that went into

the destruction of all of our computers,

monitors, printers, scanners, desks, lamps,

walls, filing systems, personal items ... you

name it. It was complete and systematic.

The level of demolition leads us all to

believe that this was a previous borrower

with an axe to grind. Seeing vandalism

to REO assets daily within just miles of

our office, you get to recognize “justhaphazard”

vandalism – this was not what

we were looking at here.

The first stop was the door. The perpetrator

jumped over the security gate and just

sledge-hammered the door until it

opened. It looked like a cannonball hit it.

The next stop was our alarm box. Even

though I had had the foresight to make

it a cellular-only system with no wires

to cut, a sledgehammer to the box put it

right out of commission. Even with the

box placed at ceiling level, the vandal got

to it as it was still in sight.

What followed must have been a mix

between scenes from the movies Office

Space and Armageddon.

The next morning was one of the greatest

shocks of our team’s professional lives.

Nothing was left untouched; no piece

of electronics left unsmashed, no wall

left unscathed, no fixture left attached.

Coming in to this mess was a crushing

experience to our morale and any

feeling of safety. We are still feeling the

aftershocks; to say we felt violated is the

understatement of the century.

We thought we were well prepared for this

disaster. We had emergency-response

plans in place which allowed us to

regroup quickly with all of our off-site

data immediately accessible. But, what

no plan or system can prepare you for is

the brain-drain, heartache, and lookingover-your-shoulder

fear that can come

with events like these. It will leave your

staff demoralized and business can, and

probably will, suffer.

Although many clients worked with us in

knocking out the delays this cataclysm has

caused, a few were not so compassionate;

some files and a few accounts were lost.

I understand these clients’ position – it

made me ask “What would I have done

back in my asset management days?”

Although a few client e-mails were

unprofessional and downright nasty, most

were same-as-always. A small handful,

however, came in that contained the

finesse and professional understanding

that were a true catalyst in our recovery.

One servicer in particular, M.D. Webb &

Associates was the most professional as

well as the warmest in their responses

to our “REO S.O.S.” I want to take this

opportunity to thank them all again.

continued on page 24

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 23

Office Safety – continued from page 23

Everyone should remember that we work in

default servicing, and not run-of-the-mill

real estate. This field comes with its own

set of safety and security concerns. I urge

everyone from agents to asset managers

to contemplate this recent incident, and

how you would handle it if it happened to

you or one of your team.

For more information on how you can keep

yourself and your team safe, please take a

look at the resources below:

Agent safety dealing with vacant REOs

and doing occupancy checks/ cash for



Tracey Hawkins “Tracey, the Safety

Lady” – Safety and Security Source,

Host of LI’s”Real Estate Agent Safety

Forum” Group:


The Personal Safety Training Group for

REALTORS® and REO Brokers:


Field Guide to REALTOR® Safety:

In here, you will find

◊ REALTOR® Safety Month –

September – Safety video and

webinar, tips, handouts and

planning your safety strategy

◊ REALTOR® Safety: Helpful Tips

for Keeping Safe on the Job

◊ General Safety Tips

◊ Articles covering:

• Real estate safety stories: “How

I stay safe ....” (REALTOR®

Magazine, Sept. 2010).

• Real estate’s 6 most dangerous

everyday situations, (REALTOR®

Magazine, Sept. 2010).

• Realtor tip for safety, (Sacramento

Real Estate Voice, Aug. 31, 2009).

• Safety steps for women Realtors –

don’t make yourself a target!, (July

23, 2009).

• Safety tips for real estate agents,

(, 2009).

• Open house safety tips, (Active

Rain, July 31, 2008).

◊ Car Safety Tips

• 70 rules of defensive driving,

(Road Trip America, 2010).

• Cell phone driving laws,

(Governors Highway Safety

Association, Aug. 2009).

• 10 tips to avoid car theft, (Vehicle

Vibes/Allstate, Aug. 19, 2009).

• SUV driving safety tips, (www., June 2, 2009).

• Women and car safety: how

to avoid an attack, (www., Apr. 1,


Real Estate Broker Charles Mattouk is a

REOMAC® and member,

servicing default REO assets in SE Florida’s

Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

24 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

The Value of Quick Response Codes

By Andrea


As technology seems to change right

before our eyes, so has our way of

gathering information, which is

almost instantaneous. There are many ways

for buyers and sellers to find out information

through the Internet from various websites

with just a push of a button. Brokers work

hard to learn about new technologies and

marketing tools to increase exposure of their

listings and capture leads. With a deluge

of new properties hitting the market every

week, it is more important than ever to focus

attention and drive potential clients to our

websites and phones instead of letting them

call our competitors.

The “QR Code,” also known as a Quick

Response code, is a simple tool aimed at a

very specific buyer. This tech-savvy buyer

owns a smartphone, actually knows how

to use it, and is accustomed to fast and

readily-available information. This buyer

simply reaches for their phone and the

information is literally at their fingertips.

Similar to bar codes, these codes can be

spotted everywhere from department store

items to magazines, and are becoming more

widely used in real estate. An individual

can simply scan a QR Code and up-to-date

information about that product or service is

immediately available on their phone, saving

several keystrokes or mobile web searches.

How do they work? The creator of the QR

Code, in our case the Broker, would input

information about a particular home such

as the address, square footage, price and the

Realtor’s® phone number and website into a

program to create the QR code. Wouldn’t

you love to host a personal tour for every

potential buyer walking by your listing?

It’s almost that simple. From the QR Code

on the flyer, the buyer is able to get new

information about the home, such as a new

sales price or broker’s tour. The QR Code

provides you with an opportunity to guide

that potential buyer exactly the information

you want to share with them. They can scan

the code and instantly watch a virtual tour

or YouTube video about the listing. They

can virtually walk through the home and

see the kitchen and look out the windows

at the view ... all from their smartphone

while standing on the sidewalk. If the buyer

has scanned the QR Code into their phone,

they would be able to receive the updated

information from the Realtor’s® website and

the Realtor’s® contact information. You can

also guide a buyer immediately to the mobile

version of your own website so that they can

view all of your listings and receive market

information from you.

There’s little doubt that QR Codes will

continue to grow into being the preferred

way for mobile users to connect to product

information. As times change, it’s a simple

and quick way to have technology work

for you.

How can you make a QR Code? I suggest

contacting your local printers; most use QR

Code Wizard.

For recommendations on smart phone apps:

iPhone: i-nigma, ReadTheQRCode

Google Android: ZXing

BlackBerry: ScanLife, i-nigma

Palm: i-nigma

Windows Mobile: QuickMark

Most QR Code scanning apps are free, easy

to download, and easy to use. Success

typically depends on the user’s preference.

Try out your QR Code on as many types

of phones and apps as possible before

you use it in on your marketing materials.

The tools you use, the quality of your

marketing materials, and everything the

potential buyer sees before they meet you

will determine whether they ever make it

to you and are converted from a lead into

a customer; YOUR customer. Clients will

love that you go the extra mile to market

their assets and you will likely capture more

buyers for your buyer team.

Andrea Johnson is

a Principal Broker

with Re/Max Equity

Group, Inc., www.

Go to on your mobile

browser to download and install a code reader.

REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 25

EDITORIAL NOTE: Comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of REOMAC®, its officers, directors or committee chairs.

The Tough Will

Get Going

By Lynn


When the going gets tough, the

tough get going. This too shall

pass. It’s not what happens to

you, but how you handle what happens to

you that matters most. Suffering through

difficult struggles builds character. And

my father’s favorite, which I have heard

many, many times: Adversity will make

you a better, stronger person.

These are all truisms, of course, and

these days you hear them and others

quite frequently for a reason. America’s

economic situation is dire indeed (no

surprise to you, I know), with forecasts

from no less than the CBO (Congressional

Budget Office) predicting at least three to

four more years of unemployment rates

at or above the 8 percent mark. And the

deplorable condition of the housing market

leads the economy in stagnation. It didn’t

have to be this way, and I trust that after

November of 2012 things may actually

begin to improve despite the predictions

to the contrary, because real leadership will

take the reins in Washington, DC who are

pro-growth, pro-business, pro-jobs, and

pro-American exceptionalism.

But I do not want to bash the current

administration here (again). The purpose

of my article in this issue of the REOMAC®

Update is to inspire you all to be as positive

as you can be as we collectively begin our

climb out of the abyss. To point out that we

veterans of the default servicing industry

are in a unique position to help our country

rise from the ashes like the proverbial

Phoenix to regain our rightful place as the

industrial and economic engine that runs

the world. As the housing industry goes,

so goes the general economy. It has since

World War II and it will again.

Times are admittedly difficult at best for

many in our industry today, due to the

growing shadow inventory, ineffective loan

modification programs dictated by the

government, uncertainty experienced by

lenders who are holding off on foreclosures

to see when another shoe will drop relative

to additional regulations and restrictions,

robo-signing, moratoria, over-zealous

judges, edicts to “spread the wealth” as it

relates to REO listings, layoffs because of

artificially created decreased workloads,

and more. But, and that’s a BIG but, the

fact remains that foreclosures are on the

rise. And while short sales are growing as

a percentage of distressed real estate sales,

REOs are going to be around for quite

some time. In any case, default servicing

EXPERTS are going to be in demand.

Lenders, servicers, outsource companies

and other firms that serve this industry will

need to turn to experienced, knowledgeable,

pro-active problem solvers to better deal

with the volume of inventory, complex

problems, and changes in processes and

procedures that will take place moving

forward. And this is particularly true of

seasoned REO Brokers and Agents. The

demands of the industry will require

experience over the desire to be more

“fair” and distribute listings to a wider

agent network, regardless of experience or

lack thereof of other agents. The lenders,

servicers, et al, deserve no less than the

industry’s best.

Those default servicing professionals who

have the background and skills required

to meet the growing needs of lenders,

servicers, etc., during these challenging

times will displace many of those more

recently hired “newbies” who, although less

expensive to the bottom line (on the surface)

do not possess the level of knowledge and

experience required to maximize the net

return on assets while minimizing holding

time. Nor to proactively create innovative

new programs and procedures that will

enhance and improve the entire default

servicing process.

America must flush out the non-performing

real estate loans and assets more rapidly

than it has these past two-and-a-half

years (it seems much longer, doesn’t it?).

We will not experience a REAL recovery

until and unless we do so. Housing starts,

new construction, must begin again to

put people back to work and cannot until

the available inventory of existing homes

is depleted ... and time is of the essence in

order to be ahead of rising interest rates

forecast for the future.

continued on page 27

26 September / October 2011 REOMAC ® update tm

The Tough Will Get Going – continued from page 26

I have had the distinct honor of serving in the housing and

default servicing industries for nearly four decades. I know

many of the top-producing real estate professionals who are the

best there is in their REO markets all across the country. I have

worked with many of them when I was REO Manager for Great

Western Bank, Washington Mutual and Citicorp Trust Bank. I

also know, because of the plethora of industry conferences and

seminars I have attended and participated in over the years as a

panelist and featured speaker, most of the veteran professionals

from law firms, title companies, escrow companies, property

preservation companies, contractors and others who continue

to serve lenders and servicers to the very best of their ability in

default servicing. They remain the true leaders and backbone of

our industry. And it is no coincidence that the vast majority of

these top-performing professionals are members of REOMAC®. I

am confident in the extreme that when these talented, dedicated,

and hard working professionals are called upon to help flush out

these non-performing loans and assets, and the federal government

gets out of our way, the country will begin its inevitable rise to

enduring prosperity. Our children and grandchildren deserve it.

Our economic crisis of today truly will build character going

forward ... as we, the tough, get going.

Lynn Effinger is a veteran of nearly two decades in default servicing.

He is the author of his newly released memoir, Believe to Achieve

– The Power of Perseverance, available on





With over 20 Years experience in the REO industry

and thousands of REO’s closed, we are your

New Jersey specialist for…..

Loss Mitigation

Residential REO Sales - Commercial REO Sales

Property Preservation - Property Management


Our Long Standing Clients Include:

Many of the Nations Leading Banks,

Outsourcers and Servicers


If you want RESULTS instead of Excuses

Call the people that do the job!


Call Patrick J. FOX, GRI






Call Patrick J. FOX, GRI




REOMAC ® update tm September / October 2011 27

REOMAC® Newsletter Advertising

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