Habitat for Humanity finds success in one-stop REO shop

Priority access to bank-owned inventory among perks

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 10, 2012

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Habitat for Humanity, which was founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, has built more than 500,000 houses and served more than 2 million people around the world.

The NCST is just one vehicle to gain access and information about properties, but it is a good one because it was created as a common, first-look, divestiture system for all the country's major financial companies, from JP Morgan Chase to Freddie Mac.

"When the trust gets new information about a property coming into the system from, for example, Freddie Mac, it will identify the location of the property and then refer it to an organization it has in its database that says it is interested in that particular location," Seidel said.

"If there is a Habitat affiliate working that location where the property is located, then an affiliate will get notification."

At that point, the Habitat affiliate has 48 hours to let the NCST know if it is interested in the property.

"If we give a thumbs up, then Freddie Mac will agree to hold the property off the market until we can negotiate an acquisition price," Seibel said. "If we can't negotiate a price or can't get the funding together, then Freddie will put the property back on the market."

The role the NCST plays is kind of a one-stop shop for the properties the banks are willing to be made available to Habitat and similar organizations at a reasonable cost.

"Part of the benefit and value of what the NCST has been able to do is negotiate with banks to arrange a "first look," which provides organizations like ours a prescreening of the potential properties before they are put on the open market," Seibel said.

For organizations such as Habitat, First Look provides a valuable lead.

"We can make a bid for the property before the rest of the market can jump in," Seibel said. "Where our ability to compete price-wise might not be as good, this has been a very strong benefit to us."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on Amazon.com.

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