Risky Business

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local edition s e c on da r y m a r k e t a na ly t ic s Se r v ic i ng Or ig i nat ion SERVICING As evidence for his forecast, Colin Shelton, president of Southland Homes of Texas, points to growing green practices in the Houston area: owners choosing to build in existing neighborhoods instead of new land, builders choosing locally sourced or reclaimed lumber, and tankless water heaters, to name a few. "Decades ago, our ideas of what made a building environmentally friendly were pretty narrow," Shelton said. "Thanks to over $51 billion in green stimulus spending, the research has evolved, the technology has evolved, and so has the mindset of consumers. There are so many more ways to build and renovate green homes that soon green building will become the norm." Shelton also points out the growing affordability of green technology, allowing more homebuyers and builders to make sustainable choices. "Houston and Dallas topped the list of cities with the most expensive power bills," he said. "We're not surprised that these areas and the surrounding suburbs are full of homeowners who are looking to make their homes more energy-efficient." Another factor drawing investment in sustainable building projects is the U.S. Green Building Council's new Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program, which offers thirdparty verification of green buildings (enabling owners to receive government certification that the green features they've paid for were properly installed). "Homeowners today don't just have access to green products and prices. They also have a government-backed system in place that lets them trust in the decisions they make and the builders they choose. That's a big thing," Shelton said. "It's one of the reasons we know that demand for green homes will only continue to grow." 56 | The M Report Board to help us achieve our strategic goals," said William C. Erbey, Ocwen's executive chairman. McLean Mortgage Aims to Ease Low Inventory Worries The Virginia-based company created a program to help homebuyers and Realtors scouting for inventory. Ocwen Names Appointee to Board of Directors Megacorp Ocwen adds finance expert Wilbur J. Ross Jr. to its board. GEORGIA // In Georgia, Ocwen Financial Corporation announced that WL Ross & Co.'s chairman and CEO will be joining the Ocwen board of directors. Wilbur L. Ross Jr. has served in numerous roles as principal financial adviser, investor, and director in various companies operating in diverse industries around the world. He currently serves as a director for several publicly traded companies. Ross had been serving as an Ocwen Board Observer since the company first purchased Homeward Residential Holdings from his own firm in December 2012. "Before and during my time as an Ocwen Board Observer, I have been impressed with the company's exceptional growth and innovative approach to the mortgage industry," Ross said. "Ocwen's dedication to homeownership preservation appeals to both customers and shareholders alike. I'm proud to be part of a company whose vision aligns so closely to mine and gratified to have found such a fine new home for Homeward Residential." "I am delighted that Wilbur Ross has become a member of our Board of Directors. Mr. Ross' significant experience in finance and outstanding track record as an investor will provide excellent insight to our VIRGINIA // McLean Mortgage Corporation, a full-service mortgage lender headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, announced the release of a new program designed to help prospective homebuyers and Realtors in a market characterized by low inventory and increased competition from cash bidders. McLean's LoanFirst Program allows prospective buyers to make applications for a preapproval mortgage loan before they purchase a home. McLean will not only issue a prequalification based on that application, but also will actually fully process the credit and income documentation of the borrower so that it can be underwritten by an underwriter and a full preapproval issued. "Having a certificate based upon a lender's underwriting of the credit gives a prospective homebuyer much more weight with the seller in a competitive bidding situation. This could make the difference between getting the house or losing out," said Dave Hershman, director of branch support and creator of LoanFirst. The preapproval would be subject to a sales contract on a property as well as a satisfactory appraisal and title policy. "In my experience in the mortgage industry, I have always felt that the average Realtor and homebuyer went about the process backwards by shopping for a home and then applying for a mortgage," explained McLean president Nathan Burch.

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