If you are reading about this for the first time, here is a very brief background summary to give you some perspective. Beginning several years ago a number of entities owned, controlled, or run by two brothers from Texas have been acquiring the remnants of defaulted mortgage loans and then suing appraisers all over the US. The brothers are Chris and Ben Ganter and the entities involved (at least those we know about) are:
It’s been a few months since we issued our last update on our friends (and yours) the Ganter brothers (Chris and Ben). The Ganters have suffered what for most people would be a series of embarrassing setbacks in their blatant attempts to use the legal system to pressure appraisers and/or their E&O carriers into paying off what we view as frivolous claims to save the cost of litigating the underlying dispute. For those of you who are reading this for the first time, we have issued two other alerts about this in the past 18 months. Links to the earlier blog posts are footnoted below in the article.
How many of you have either said or heard someone else in your office say that “the home inspector killed this deal”? If you are being honest, I suspect all of you have and even if you haven’t said it out loud, I’m willing to bet you thought it at least once or twice. Is this really true? Can home inspectors “kill” deals?
Over the past few years, more and more E&O insurance carriers offering coverage to home inspectors are asking a question about pre-inspection agreement use on an application for new/renewal coverage. The question reads slightly differently from carrier to carrier, but the essence of the question is whether you obtain a signed pre-inspection agreement from all of your customers.
There are a lot of things homeowners can do to add value to their home. But there are just as many ways they can decrease their home’s worth without even realizing it. Everyone knows that neglecting their yard or painting their house neon pink could make their home less valuable. But whether you’re planning to sell, to refinance or to rent on Airbnb, there are steps you can take to retain, and even increase, the value of your home. Avoid these five common mistakes.
If you are in business long enough, you will get subpoenaed by someone involved in a dispute that may not even involve you. A subpoena is technically a court order compelling you to appear and testify or to produce records or both. If you are actually involved in the dispute as the plaintiff or defendant, your duty to comply with the subpoena is generally very clear and mandatory.
With the overall economy improving and with unemployment dropping back to more manageable levels, it was only a matter of time before the residential real estate industry (builders, bankers, mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Wall Street) and its lobbying groups and trade associations popped up and asked for Congress and federal regulators to reduce or end many of the restrictions placed on the industry after it gorged itself on the U.S. economy and left the table with only crumbs and broken dishes for the rest of us. That time is now and no industry is more skillful at using confusing or even meaningless statistics sprinkled with patriotism to chip away at even the staunchest opposition.
Brian Trotier, FREA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, was recently invited to speak on the Appraiser Coach Podcast on the topic of blacklisting and issues that affect both your work and your livelihood.
Not wanting to be left home from the party, Freddie Mac has announced that on June 30, 2015 it will begin providing new feedback on appraisals submitted to it via the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP). Like Fannie Mae’s system, the messages will be delivered to those lenders seeking to sell residential loans to Freddie Mac. Most of the feedback will be in the form of warnings which essentially alert a lender there are some inconsistencies between the submitted appraisal report and data that Freddie Mac already possesses (like public records).
In February 2014, we reported what we saw as a potential scam involving letters being sent to appraisers by a group called Savant Claims Management. Since then, a lot has happened and we want to provide an update on the latest activities by entities related to Savant and give some tips to those who have actually been sued by First Mutual Group, L.P. from Plano, Texas. (First Mutual Group, L.P., is a Delaware limited partnership whose members are Alternative Capital Strategies, LP, (a British entity) and First Mutual Group, GP LLC (another Delaware entity).