This piece originally appeared in the November 2022 edition of DS News magazine, online now.
The property preservation sector has always served as a critical arm of the housing and mortgage lifecycle, ensuring that vacant properties are maintained on their way back into the market, as well as helping combat urban blight during the period when they sit empty.
However, this sector has seen significant pain points in recent years, as the economic impacts of COVID-19, inflation, supply-chain issues, and other headwinds have presented challenges for those companies that continue to serve in this arena, even as those same factors have driven other companies under or forced veteran prop pres workers to seek out other industries entirely.
Continuing a long-standing fall tradition, DS News, this month, speaks with a roundtable of property preservation executives to learn about how they are tackling these issues and working to ensure that our nation’s stock of REO and vacant properties are attended to, as well as ensuring that the property preservation sector has the manpower and an economic model that will permit it to thrive going forward.
Below is the excerpt of the Q&A with Chad Mosley, President, Mortgage Services for MCS. For the complete article, please visit DS News magazine.
What regulatory issues or impacts are most challenging for the property preservation sector? How are you navigating them?
There are a number of regulatory issues that can be a challenge for property preservation providers, but the one that poses a particularly difficult challenge is the various property registration ordinances, the majority of which exist at the municipal level.
There are thousands of municipalities nationwide and each has its own ordinances for registering a property—some ordinances are required for foreclosed properties, while others are needed for vacant or even delinquent properties, and the complexity of trying to manage all of these required registrations can be an overwhelming process.
Fortunately, MCS has been able to excel at this complex and sometimes risky procedure for our clients by building a team of professionals that understands the nuances of property registration ordinances as well as utilizing technology that streamlines the overall process.
A recent National Organization of Mortgage Field Services survey identified a significant exodus of vendor partners that provide direct boot-on-the-ground services. Are you experiencing challenges maintaining necessary labor or vendor partnerships, and if so, how are you combatting this?
There’s clearly been a shift in the industry as many third-party vendor partners that perform field services are leaving the property preservation space entirely. We first saw this as early as 2017 when foreclosure rates were low, but once the pandemic and foreclosure moratoriums hit, this vendor exodus completely accelerated.
It’s been a balancing act for MCS, but we are successfully navigating through it. Historically, companies have provided preservation services through a third-party network of vendors and contractors. Today, MCS is innovating the property preservation industry by establishing a complementary network of regional service centers staffed with its own employees, creating a hybrid service model to help support client needs.
It may be beneficial for servicers to consider a provider that can self-perform and has an extensive, nationwide network of vendors so that all of their property preservation needs are covered. A model like this enables a provider to offer the flexibility of a regional vendor with the benefits of scale you would get from a national company. It also promotes increased quality control, code compliance, speed of work, and customer satisfaction, as well as in-market support and oversight for third-party vendors.
How are you and your team working to improve efficiencies within the industry to attract and retain new talent and improve the economic model for those that have remained in this sector?
MCS is always looking for great talent and new ways to attract and retain the best in the industry. But with over 11 million jobs open in the United States and only 6 million unemployed workers, the challenge has never been greater.
At MCS, our secret weapon is the amazing culture we’ve created. Our recruiting team truly believes MCS is a great place to work, which makes telling our story an easy task. The best candidates can be incredibly choosey today and are seeking more than just a paycheck. We’ve found that employees want to work for a brand they are proud of and can believe in. More than ever, they’re also looking for a company that matches their belief system with a job that allows them to have a little fun along the way. MCS is a dynamic brand, and our social media consistently highlights the fun we have as well as our commitment to the communities we serve.
We focus heavily on our company values, spelled out as SHINE: service, hustle, integrity, nurture, and excellence. This isn’t something we just put up on the wall. SHINE is at the core of everything we do for customers, service partners, and teammates. This has formed the foundation for MCS as a company and we’ve been able to successfully attract and retain the very best industry talent as a result.
Are there any other critical challenges you are facing heading into 2023? If so, how are you navigating and preparing for these?
Most industry professionals believe there is going to be increased foreclosure volume going forward because of the economic pressures the country is facing. We don’t know precise numbers yet, but the expectation is there will be a greater number of foreclosures in the coming months than are taking place today. The property preservation business is at a crossroads right now—increased foreclosures are imminent, and yet much-needed vendors are continuing to leave the space at a high rate.
We believe this will be the biggest issue for MCS in 2023, as well as the entire industry, but we are prepared through our hybrid service model approach, which was created to tackle this exact kind of challenge. MCS will continue to utilize existing vendors and recruit new ones at the local level while combining that with our complementary network of self-performing regional service centers. We’re confident this unique hybrid approach will ensure our property preservation operations remain strong.
For the complete article, please visit DS News magazine.