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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: AirbnbÕ new partnership aids natural disaster victims

And new apps changing the industry

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Airbnb and Boulder County partnered up to provide housing to victims of natural disaster in the area, according to an article by Jason Blevins for The Denver Post.

This agreement is the first of its kind in Colorado, and would use Airbnb, a short-term home rental app, to provide housing during natural disasters such as floods and wild fires, according to the article

The agreement would alert Airbnb hosts of a need for housing in their area after a disaster, and the host would then have the option to rent out their home for free, the article states.

From the article:

The Airbnb emergency response program got its first test in Boulder County as the Cold Springs Fire forced more than 2,000 to evacuate their homes around Nederland.

The program alerted more than 1,500 Airbnb hosts in the area that neighbors needed emergency housing at no cost. The alert went out a few days after the wildfire began forcing people from their homes and just as the county and Airbnb finalized the partnership.
“Our hope is that we can at least let people know this is an option for them if they want to help in times of disaster,” Williams said.

While this agreement shows the up-side to Airbnb, there are still many down-sides to the app.

One of those is that lenders are unsure on how to treat Airbnb homes when it comes to refinancing.

Another is the fear that as more investors, not just homeowners, use the site to rent out spare rooms — and even spare couches — it strains the supply of rental houses.

Coester VMS, the first and only appraiser-owned national appraisal management company, released an app Friday that provides network appraisers real time insight on their assignments.

From the app, Coester VMS Connect, appraisers can update orders, manage their profile and view their schedule directly from iOS mobile devices.

According to the company, it is the first AMC with the app.

"In the AMC space no one has anything even close," the company said in a statement to HousingWire.

This is a screenshot of the app as it would appear on a mobile device:

Click to Enlarge

new app

(Source: Coester VMS)

The app is available for download from the Apple iTunes store.

Black Knight Financial Services released a tax for loan estimation which allows real estate professionals to quickly estimate property taxes.

TLE can be personalized to meet the user’s specific needs, and gives the tax estimates in real time, according to Black Knight. It also gives tax bill values for new construction homes, therefore eliminating the need for lenders to review builder reports.

Some of the information the new Black Knight app includes property address, parcel number, current tax bill data, assessment data, escrow to collect at closing and estimated tax bill amounts.

"Black Knight is pleased to provide this tool to help our clients solve complex problems related to tax estimation," said Kevin Coop, Black Knight data and analytics division president.

"We understand that instant responses are valuable when making business decisions, and we also realize the challenges associated with estimating taxes on new construction homes,” Coop said. “When developing the solution, we worked closely with clients to create a tax estimation product that delivers a positive user experience."

Black Knight’s LoanSphere Exchange, a Web-based technology that enables lenders and service providers to do business electronically, provides the TLE results. Later this year, clients will be able to access TLE directly through Black Knight's LoanSphere Empower, a comprehensive loan origination system that supports originations of first mortgages and home equity loans.

One couple in in Monterey, California, found out the hard way that they bought a home previously owned by a serial killer, according to an article by Inside Edition.

The couple, Scott and Laura Cotes, discovered the home’s past when they uncovered a body buried in the back yard, according to the article. In fact, the serial killer buried two of his victims on the property, according to police.

From the article:

“This is where we found the body,” Scott Cotes said, pointing to the garden. "You could never be prepared for somebody to look at you and say a serial killer has been living in your house."

The Cotes say they were never told about the home's history when they bought it. 

“It’s stunning, shocking and surreal all at once,” said Laura.

The Cotes are now suing their realtor under California law, saying he failed to disclose their home's dark secret.

While California law would require the Realtor to disclose that information to potential buyers if they knew it, the Realtor in this case denies any wrongdoing.

In some states, however, that isn’t the case, and realtor estate agents have no legal obligation to disclose past crime information about the home.

What do you think?

Should it be a legal requirement, or at least an ethical one, to disclose information about past crimes or murders committed in the home?

Let us know in the comment board below, and enjoy your Monday!

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