As some borrowers exit forbearance and consider selling their homes, they could use some guidance to ensure they’re making the right decision. Using Xome’s Xpert Seller Program, servicers can help borrowers determine the best marketing strategy list and sell their homes. HousingWire recently spoke with Joe Cutrona, SVP, Auction Exchange & Asset Management at Xome, about Xpert Seller and how it benefits both servicers and borrowers.
HousingWire: As borrowers come out of forbearance, what role do servicers play and what can they do to ensure homeowners understand their options including selling their home via auction?
Joe Cutrona: Today, with nearly 2.2. million homeowners still in active forbearance, servicers have an important responsibility to communicate with homeowners about their mortgage reinstatement options and to help them navigate eligibility requirements to determine the best path forward. Once this path is determined, the servicer should be involved in assisting homeowners through the plan to exit forbearance, which may include the sale of their home. According to Black Knight, 96% of homeowners have at least 10% equity – meaning they may be able to pay off their loan, closing costs, and agent commissions without paying out of pocket or a short payoff. Once a homeowner decides to sell, it’s up to the servicer to ensure they fully understand each step of the home selling process.
When the homeowner elects to sell their home, either because they want to take advantage of their home’s current market price or they are not eligible for any reinstatement options, an auction sale becomes a viable pre-foreclosure solution for a graceful exit.
HW: When we think about servicer capacity, what are some of the potential challenges servicers might face and how can having a partner like Xome help solve this?
JC: There is no question that servicer capacity is a big issue. Foreclosure moratoriums have forced servicers to shift capacity away from traditional late-stage delinquency recovery efforts, including foreclosure, and direct it toward forbearance processing and heavy home retention efforts. At the same time, loan advances continue to increase, putting additional financial pressure on servicers. A partnership with Xome could include utilizing any of our disposition real estate product and services, which are powered by our MLS analytics and Xome’s extensive online auction platform to help alleviate issues. Simply put, we add capacity by stepping in and acting as an intermediary between the homeowner and servicer. As a result, servicers can focus on home retention efforts for their other customers, and the homeowner can focus on the decisions that need to be made during the sale of their property.
Should a servicer recognize that a homeowner is not eligible for home retention options, Xome can work with the servicer to determine the best marketing strategy to assist the homeowner with the decision to list and sell their home. This is where offerings like Xome’s Xpert Seller program come into play. This new program is designed to connect borrowers with local real estate professionals and guide them through the process of marketing and selling their home.
HW: How does Xome’s Xpert Seller address and solve these issues; can you tell us more about the benefits of leveraging a program like this?
JC: Xome’s Xpert Seller program is designed to assist homeowners with a graceful exit from forbearance while complementing the servicer’s homeowner retention and disposition efforts. When a homeowner decides to sell their home, Xome manages the communication process directly with the homeowner and real estate professional to ensure homeowners understand all their options. For example, if a homeowner is eligible for a home retention option, we want to make sure the servicer is dialed in and focused on sharing these options with the homeowner. At the end of the day, this is a pre-foreclosure avoidance situation, and it’s in everyone’s best interest when the homeowner can make a truly educated decision on whether they should sell their home. Not only can a sale help homeowners realize their equity through a sale, but they can also save thousands of dollars on transactions costs and even qualify for relocation assistance.
Servicers have a capacity advantage by partnering with us. They can expect total transparency throughout the listing and marketing process through Xome’s national network of brokers and our proprietary real estate listing tracking platform, XomePro. In addition, Xome’s access to MLS data provides servicers and homeowners with the confidence that they are receiving the most accurate and real-time transactional activity to ensure the best sales price is achieved.
HW: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Xome’s Xpert Seller program, perhaps more about how Xome’s online auction platform plays such an important role?
JC: If a homeowner is faced with an expiring forbearance or pending foreclosure, the auction process proactively addresses these critical timelines. With Xome’s auction platform, Xome.com, the homeowner retains full control over the listing price and final price acceptance.
Additionally, Xome.com drives over 1.6 million unique visitors per month increasing marketing exposure for the homeowner, resulting in a highly competitive bidding environment.
We believe that auction is the most transparent way to buy and sell real estate. Homeowners can see which potential buyers are interested in their property in real-time and can compare all offers, while servicers benefit from added capacity and the ability to serve their homeowners more effectively. The auction process accommodates the critical, time-sensitive nature of an expiring forbearance plan and offers a potential relocation cash incentive to the homeowner. Empowering homeowners with all the information they need and help them walk away with cash in hand is a win-win for all stakeholders.
Xome’s Xpert Seller program doesn’t just assist homeowners as they exit forbearance, it also compliments the servicer’s portfolio by helping them retain customers.