In April, Murray launched Vendor Resource Management Investor Insurance, in partnership with OSC. This product is an insurance policy for investors of residential assets and is a complete online product offering and delivery.
Almost 50% of the assets that VRM oversees are bought by investors, and the company realized that many small real estate investors are unaware of the kind of insurance coverage they need for property that’s not their primary residence. With a number of natural disasters in diverse geographies in the last few years, proper insurance is more important than ever.
“These investors are not necessarily real estate professionals, and they might be using standard homeowner’s policies, or renter policies that don’t have proper coverage,” Travis-Johnson said. “There is an inherent risk when someone else uses the property, and the owners need to treat it like an investment.”
VRM launched another initiative in April — the VRM Community First Program, which is designed to assist investors purchasing assets through Conveyance Without Conveyance of Title (CWCOT) programs or purchasing loans from the GSEs or other financial institutions. Through this program, an investor can get property-related analytics, title curative specifications, and the best marketing/retention strategy on assets pre- and post-purchase.
“I believe communities are served best when investors have a method to quickly address title curative issues so properties can be quickly occupied by either a tenant or owner,” Murray said. “Simply put, properties sitting unoccupied cause blight.”
In fact, a recent Urban Institute report outlined the price paid by communities in the conveyance process, noting that “the longer a property sits vacant and unoccupied, the more likely it is to be damaged, vandalized, or affected by bad weather, thus requiring new repairs...Drawn out timelines also harm the neighborhoods where these properties linger unoccupied for years, resulting in neighborhood blight and neglect.”
Instead of a long, drawn-out process, investors using the VRM Community First program can have the title cured, preservation efforts started and the final disposition strategy implemented immediately upon purchase.
Ultimately, he will enhance the program to include a consumer-facing solution that could even help reduce the number of foreclosures through an online valuation tool that gives homeowners data analytics about their home, loan programs and a lower cost method to sell their home pre-foreclosure. This consumer-facing tool would also help sellers identify relocation options.
For Murray, the diverse companies he has founded or partnered with all reflect the values that have characterized his vision from the beginning.
“We want to continue what we started over 35 years ago, delivering solutions that help our clients mitigate losses while aligning our service delivery with community preservation efforts.”