• Sara Hayat scoured industry sources near and far to find a fill that would give the Bevel a bit of bounce while ensuring its cushions would retain their pebble-like shape. Indeed, each velvet-upholstered seat cradles a person perfectly. As it should: It takes the team about a month to hand-stitch this low-slung belted beauty. $28,495

  • Minotti who passed away in August, played with the idea of balance in the Solid Steel coffee table, despite the heavy-metal inference of its moniker. Party-ready glossy and mirrored finishes belie the architectural geometry of the streamlined, staggered slabs. Even with its fashion-forward feel (or backward: the materials reference 1970s glamour), it evokes an unflinchingly Bauhaus sensibility. Price upon request

  • Astraeus Clarke found inspiration in N.Y.C. The Roebling table lamp takes its form, albeit loosely, from the Brooklyn Bridge and its name from the bridge’s engineers, John A. Roebling and his wife, Emma. The lamp’s deep-green marble pillars support a gable-shaped top that hides the light source. But there’s a twist: That top segment pivots 360 degrees, allowing the user to direct illumination as needed. $12,500

  • New Ravenna. Duo, a waterjet mosaic, features boxy, mustard-toned cross-stitches that punctuate a large, dark grid over elegant marble with green veining. The coastal Virginia–based company replicates the texture of stone that has been well-worn by salt air, ensuring your kitchen, bath, or patio looks suitably lived-in. $229 per square foot

  • Source: robbreport.com

    Apache is functioning normally

    Apache is functioning normally

    The capital of Ohio, Columbus, is famous for being home to the first Wendy’s — yes, that fast-food chain — but it offers much more than that along the banks of the Scioto River.

    The city underwent many name changes during its first days in the 1800s, later nicknamed “Arch City” after builders put arches over city streets. You can also experience the deep Native American and Appalachian roots and history in the area.

    Established historic neighborhoods like German Village offer some of the city’s oldest buildings as housing options, as well as beautiful, quiet tree-lined streets. Elsewhere, up-and-coming spots like Short North, the Brewery District and Downtown Columbus offer walkability, short commutes and fun arts and nightlife amenities.

    Ready to explore Columbus? Here are the 15 best neighborhoods in Columbus.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,212
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,485
    • Walk Score: 88/100

    South of the German Village, the Brewery District is as hip as it gets. Music venues and brewery bars line the streets of this neighborhood. Plus, a high walkability factor makes it even more alluring. Watch your favorite comic at Shadowbox Live on weekends. You can also head to the nearby trails at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, bordering the Scioto River.

    You can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,212 per month on average in the Brewery District. Head to pup-friendly Gresso’s for a slice before heading on a brewery hop.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $819
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,049
    • Walk Score: 68/100

    Only six miles from downtown and convenient to Ohio State University, Clintonville has a mix of young professionals and college students. The beautiful Rose Gardens at Whetstone Park will captivate you with their scent, trailing above arches and along walkways. You can also explore the six glacial ravines that cut through the neighborhood, like Glen Echo.

    On the weekends, enjoy that high walkability score by heading to High Street for a bite at the many establishments like Lineage Brewing or enjoy a vegan sweet treat at Pattycake Bakery. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in the area for $819 per month on average.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,462
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,987
    • Walk Score: 78/100

    The heart of Columbus, Downtown, has as much life as you expect. An outdoor amphitheater, the Columbus Museum of Art, a river walk along the Scioto River, National Veterans Memorial and Museum are just some of the things that make downtown shine. The Scioto Mile connects more than 175 acres of green spaces through the area.

    Public transit abounds in the area, making it easy to ditch your car in favor of walking to enjoy the nightlife. You can find a one-bedroom for $1,462 per month on average.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $739
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,200
    • Walk Score: 61/100

    Franklin Park is the most gorgeous when in bloom. Visit the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to enjoy the warm months and picnic in any corner of the 88-acre park. Just east of downtown, the historic neighborhood offers a farmers market in the summer or grab some tacos nearby at Alebrijes.

    You can enjoy this quiet neighborhood by renting a one-bedroom for an affordable $739 per month on average, only two miles from downtown Columbus.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $625
    • Median 2-BR rent: $725
    • Walk Score: 58/100

    An up-and-coming artists’ hub, the neighborhood of Franklinton has started creating its own personality in recent years. Right to the west of downtown Columbus, Franklinton is home to breweries, artists’ studios and newer co-working spaces — all on the background of the neighborhood’s history and industrial past.

    The Land-Grant Brewing Company and Taft’s Brewpourium anchor Franklinton’s beer scene and mural art adorn several buildings in Columbus’ oldest neighborhood. The neighborhood is quickly changing, but you can still find affordable rents at $625 per month on average for a one-bedroom.

    Franklinton residents have an average commute of 20 minutes, thanks to its proximity to Downtown.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,295
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,850
    • Walk Score: 90/100

    It’s no surprise that the German Village neighborhood attracts young families and business professionals. With a nearly perfect walk score and high bike score, it’s easy to get around sans car and easily commute downtown. A one-bedroom apartment remains relatively affordable at $1,295 per month on average.

    Elder trees and historic red buildings line the streets of this neighborhood. Frank Fetch Park is an excellent weekday spot to enjoy your morning coffee and Schiller Park features trails, a playground and even an amphitheater.

    Nearby, the Schmidt Sausage Haus & Restaurant has been a local treasure since 1886, one of many German-inspired restaurants. The Book Loft is a bookworm’s dream with 32 rooms filled with books.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,701
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,988
    • Walk Score: 66/100

    Harrison West has seen a slight increase in rents since Summer 2021, but you can currently get a one-bedroom for $1,701 per month on average. The Columbus neighborhood is only 2.5 miles from downtown and a hop and a skip from the beautiful Goodale Park.

    The Arena District offers access to a movie theatre, several restaurants and bars and a skating rink only a mile away. Huntington Park is home to the Columbus Clippers baseball team.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $800
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,100
    • Walk Score: 77/100

    Indianola Terrace is a good option if you’re looking for an apartment convenient to Ohio State University and still walkable to everything. The neighborhood offers not only apartments but also multi-family units. You can find a one-bedroom in either option for $800 per month on average. Graduate students mainly reside in this neighborhood.

    The Ohio History and Research Center are nearby, offering a detailed look into the state’s history along with seasonal exhibitions. Glen Echo Park is only a couple of miles away in Clintonville, offering a playground, dog park and easy hiking trails.

    Source: Rent./Jeffrey Park Apartments
    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,38
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,910
    • Walk Score: 87/100

    Just north of downtown Columbus, every corner of the Italian Village has a restaurant filled with regulars. Not to worry, while parking is hard to come by, walking is the preferred way to see the neighborhood. You can quickly see why the neighborhood, filled with young families and millennials, remains tight-knit.

    Try out two local breweries, Seventh Son Brewing and Hoof Hearted Brewery, or visit the local dive bar, St. James Tavern. Snag a one-bedroom apartment for $1,384 per month on average and grab your coffee at Fox in the Snow in the mornings.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,145
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,995
    • Walk Score: 76/100

    King-Lincoln Bronzeville has a rich history as a historically African-American neighborhood. The neighborhood is home to the Lincoln Theatre and the King Arts Complex. Recently, more Columbus residents have been discovering the charm of the neighborhood.

    You can see beautiful murals throughout the King-Lincoln and visit the Bronzeville Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary. The Columbus Museum of Art is nearby, as well. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,145 per month on average.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,087
    • Walk Score: 83/100

    Olentangy Trail, a gem in the North Campus neighborhood, connects the Ohio State University with other city parks and Olentangy River. It’s the perfect escape, not too far from the city. You can rent a one-bedroom for $1,087 per month on average.

    Nearby, you can find hot donuts at Buckeye Donuts, head to games at Ohio Stadium and stop by the Wexner Center for the Arts for the latest exhibitions.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,495
    • Median 2-BR rent: $2,325
    • Walk Score: 94/100

    Right in the heart of Columbus, Short North attracts renters keen on art gallery openings, city festivals and easy biking, thanks to the neighborhood’s grid pattern. The Short North comes alive with art walks and outdoor concerts at Goodale Park every summer. The 33-acre park is the oldest city and provides ample greenspace to city dwellers for picnics and more.

    The neighborhood’s arches on High Street light up the way for visitors to explore high fashion boutiques, a thriving dining scene and, of course, the many galleries. Stop by the North Market for an outdoor dining experience with various food hall vendors if you can’t choose where to eat.

    You can enjoy that walkability and gallery hop on the weekends for $1,495 per month on average for a one-bedroom apartment.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,548
    • Median 2-BR rent: $2,215
    • Walk Score: 61/100

    The best way to know if you’re in the Uptown District is by finding the Ohio Statehouse, a Greek Revival-style building in Colonial Square. The neighborhood has all the charm you want from a suburb while being near Columbus. Uptown District features many upscale restaurants like Veritas and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. Breweries and cocktail bars also dot the area.

    You can find a one-bedroom apartment in this neighborhood for $1,548 per month on average, with easy access to the Ohio Theatre for a night out.

    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,250
    • Median 2-BR rent: $2,425
    • Walk Score: 87/100

    Can you picture going on an early morning walk surrounded by Victorian architecture? That’s what Victorian Village offers to its residents. Don’t miss the Gothic-style mansions and Queen Anne houses. Small shops and restaurants line the streets of this Columbus neighborhood. Goodale Park is within walkable distance to take your family for a picnic.

    The neighborhood is on the more expensive side if you want to rent a two-bedroom, but still affordable for those in need of a one-bedroom, available for $1,250 per month on average. Stop by for a pint at Cavan Irish Pub to explore the neighborhood’s Irish-American roots.

    Source: Rent./Grant Park Apartments
    • Median 1-BR rent: $1,481
    • Median 2-BR rent: $1,882
    • Walk Score: 87/100

    If you’re looking for public transportation and walkability, Weinland Park is the neighborhood for you. The bus system services the area heavily thanks to its grid system and proximity to old streetcar rails.

    Convenient to downtown, developers are revitalizing the industrial neighborhood with already slated multi-use developments. Weinland Park was home to several factories, many now converted into apartments and office space. The namesake park offers a picnic space and a playground. Grab a beer at Zaftig Brew Pub after.

    Find the best Columbus neighborhood for you

    Did you fall in love with this midwestern city? No surprise there! Columbus has historic neighborhoods, beautiful architecture, parks and walkable street grids. Whether you’re grabbing a beer in the Brewery District or strolling on your way to class at Ohio State, there’s a neighborhood for you. Ready to move on? Find apartments for rent in Columbus.

    The rent information included in this article is based on a median calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent. as of November 2021 and is for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.

    Source: rent.com

    Apache is functioning normally

    Apache is functioning normally

    Shares of government mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stumbled badly today after a Barron’s report pointed to an impending Treasury bailout.

    Barron’s Jonathon Laing said legislation included in the recently passed housing bill would allow a taxpayer-funded recapitalization of the slumping pair, spelling trouble for both shareholders and current management.

    Laing believes that by some calculations each of the companies is roughly “$50 billion in the hole,” if their balance sheets were marked to fair value and you factor out stuff like deferred tax assets.

    He noted that Freddie Mac took only a $51 million loss on repurchased mortgage loans in the first quarter, down from $736 in the fourth quarter, as the GSE chose instead to bring bad loans current and worry about them in the future.

    Fannie Mae also postponed the buyback of soured loans, avoiding more than $1 billion in second-quarter charge-offs.

    Apparently raising capital seems to be out of the question, considering just $300 million of Fannie’s $7.2 billion capital raise from the second quarter is still intact.

    Brother Freddie was unable to, or chose not to raise $5.5 billion in capital, with CEO Richard Syron citing reasons such as shareholder dilution for failing to complete such a sale.

    Of course, the OFHEO said both were adequately capitalized as recently as June, though the GSE regulator recently lowered the capital surplus requirement for the two mortgage giants.

    Here’s how a bailout may go down:

    Treasury would install new management and directors at both, curb the GSEs’ sometimes reckless investment and guarantee operations, and liquidate in an orderly fashion the GSEs’ troubled $1.6 billion in on-balance-sheet investments. Then the companies could be resold to the public without their explicit government debt guarantees, or folded into government agencies like Ginnie Mae or the FHA.

    Shares of Fannie Mae fell $1.76, or 22.25%, to $6.15, while Freddie slid $1.46, or 24.96%, to $4.39.

    (photo: teofilo)

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    Apache is functioning normally

    Apache is functioning normally

    One interesting aspect of the home loan process is the sheer number of individuals you’ll work with along the way.

    You don’t just speak to a salesperson and call it a day. Lots of people are involved in what is a very complex transaction.

    Aside from salespeople, there are loan underwriters, processors, appraisers, escrow officers, real estate attorneys, and more.

    Let’s discuss the roles these people hold to help you better understand what it takes to get a mortgage.

    Remember, you’re asking to borrow a large sum of money, so it’s going to take time and energy (and lots of people) to get to the finish line.

    The Sales Rep/Loan Officer/Mortgage Broker

    The first step in the home loan process typically involves a sales person, which can be a banker at your local branch or credit union, a loan officer, or a mortgage broker.

    If we’re talking about a purchase, this may come before/during your home search or after you’ve found your property with the assistance of a real estate agent.

    If it’s a mortgage refinance, you’d simply jump right to this step to rework the details of your existing home loan if you wanted a rate and term refinance or a cash out refi.

    You might be referred to an individual/company, or you might do your own discovery to find a suitable partner. Either way, always look beyond the referral you were given.

    Your real estate agent might know a great lender, but you your own research as well.

    It’s important to gather multiple quotes from different companies to ensure you get the best deal.

    Now, this individual will be your main point of contact during the loan process, and perhaps most importantly, will provide you with pricing.

    Bankers and loan officers work at the retail level, while mortgage brokers offer wholesale rates from their lender partners.

    You can read more about the differences (banks vs. brokers) but either way they’ll likely be the person you speak with most.

    Aside from providing pricing, these individuals can help get you pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage, discuss different loan scenarios, and guide you on loan choice.

    If you have mortgage questions, they should be able to provide answers and give you guidance.

    They may make certain recommendations, such as down payment amount, loan type, or provide an opinion about paying discount points or when to lock your rate.

    This individual will be with you from start to finish, but doesn’t work alone. They’ve got an entire team to help you close your loan in a timely fashion.

    FYI, you may also come across a “mortgage planner,” which is an individual who may assist a busy senior loan officer.

    They can communicate loan status, provide follow-up, collect conditions, and perform other tasks if the LO is unavailable or simply needs a hand.

    The Loan Processor

    Once you’ve spoken to a sales representative (or LO/broker) and have decided to move forward, you’ll be in put in touch with a loan processor.

    The main goal of the processor is to put together a clean loan file that can be submitted to the underwriting department.

    This means collecting key documents, ensuring there are no red flags, double-checking everything, and making any necessary corrections.

    The processor may also reach out after the loan is approved to collect additional documents to satisfy any outstanding conditions.

    They will also provide updates to the loan officer or broker, who will then keep you in the loop about where you’re at in the process.

    The processor essentially acts as a liaison between the underwriter and sales rep/LO/broker.

    This ensures things move along smoothly and any hiccups can be resolved quickly without delay.

    The Loan Underwriter

    The loan underwriter probably holds the most important role in the home loan process.

    They decide if the mortgage is approved, declined, or potentially suspended pending further explanation.

    It’s for this reason that the loan processor only sends the loan package to the underwriter once everything has been thoroughly checked.

    You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s imperative to get it right. Otherwise you could face delays or simply get flat out denied.

    Aside from approving the loan, the underwriter will also provide a list of conditions needed to close the loan.

    Most mortgage approvals are conditional, meaning you might need to furnish additional information or documentation to obtain your final approval.

    Once these documents are provided, whether it’s another bank statement or letter of explanation, the underwriter will clear the outstanding conditions and move the loan to the funding department.

    The Home Appraiser

    While your loan is being reviewed by the underwriter, an appraisal will be ordered to determine the value of the underlying property.

    Remember, aside from determining your ability to repay the loan, the bank also needs to ensure the collateral for the loan is valued properly.

    This individual will visit the property to assess its condition, take photographs, and determine recent sales comparisons.

    They will formulate a valuation based on the property details, such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, amenities, location, lot size, condition, and so on.

    The value they come up with, known as the appraised value, is used as the basis for the loan-to-value ratio.

    Generally, the goal is for the appraiser to support the purchase price of the property or the value declared for a refinance.

    If the value is lower, the details of the loan may need to be reworked, such as a higher down payment.

    For certain types of loans, such as FHA loans and VA loans, the home appraiser will also ensure that certain Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) are met.

    This ensures the property is safe for the occupants, that there are adequate living conditions, and no major hazards, such as lead paint or termites.

    The Home Inspector

    If we’re discussing a home purchase, you’ll want to get an inspection done. And you’ll want to do it ASAP while any contingencies are still in place.

    While a home inspection typically isn’t required, they’re generally a good idea.

    Aside from finding out what’s potentially wrong with the property, you can ask for credits from the seller if the inspector finds any significant issues.

    As the name suggests, a home inspector will come out to the property and assess the condition of the structure itself, the foundation, the interior, the roof, the electrical, HVAC, and more.

    Some may also inspect the pool and spa, if one exists, though you could be charged extra.

    They’ll make notes as they survey the property and issue a formal report afterwards. This can be used to negotiate with the seller if anything material comes up.

    The Notary Public

    Once it’s time to sign your loan documents, you’ll need to make an appointment with a notary public.

    This individual serves “as an impartial witness” when signing important documents, such as those related to a home purchase or mortgage loan.

    Your settlement agent should organize a time to meet with this individual to conduct your signing.

    The notary may come to your home or meet you somewhere else to review and sign documents.

    The main job of the notary is to verify the identity of the signer and ensure they are willing to sign the documents “without duress or intimidation.”

    This requires you to furnish identification, such as a driver’s license, during the signing appointment.

    The Escrow Officer

    Another very important individual in the transaction is the escrow officer, a third-party who facilitates the loan closing and collects/disburses funds to the appropriate parties.

    Some of their key roles include preparing final statements for the buyer, such as cash required to close, and determining costs such as property taxes, insurance, prepaid interest, and loan payoffs.

    The escrow officer will send you a settlement statement that lists all the fees and closing costs associated with your loan, along with any lender credits and loan payoffs and funds required.

    They will also liaise with a title company and forward necessary documents for loan recording.

    Importantly, they’ll provide wiring instructions to all parties, including the buyer, so you know where to send funds (cash to close).

    If you have questions about things like prepaid items, mortgage impounds, and loan payoffs, they can be particularly helpful.

    The Title Agent

    To ensure the property is free of any liens, encumbrances, or defects, a title insurance policy is usually required in order to take out a mortgage.

    A title agent is the individual who conducts a title search, orders a preliminary title report, and eventually issues title insurance on the subject property. This makes them a licensed insurance agent

    They are also in charge of recording the deed and loan documents with the county once the loan has funded.

    You might hear the words title and escrow used interchangeably, but title has to do with property ownership/lien history, while escrow is about the calculation, collection, and disbursement of funds.

    However, they may perform other settlement tasks beyond just title depending on the state where they’re located.

    The Loan Closer/Funder

    If you’ve made it this far, it means the loan is almost funded. But there’s still work to be done.

    The loan closer/funder has to review the file to ensure everything is accurate and complete, and if not, address and fix any errors or outstanding issues.

    They must ensure all prior to funding (PTF) conditions are satisfied and work with the settlement agent to prepare funding figures and timing of disbursement.

    This includes the review of signed closing documents and items like hazard insurance and the preliminary title report.

    And if everything looks good, request the wire instructions from escrow after a thorough review.

    The Real Estate Attorney

    Note that in certain states, a real estate attorney could be required to prepare certain documents and/or to conduct the loan closing.

    This individual may order and certify a title report, review loan documents, and advise you if necessary.

    Beyond that, they can ensure the interests of all parties are protected, and handle any legal issues or disputes that may come up.

    One last thing. You may find that there is some overlap with a title company and escrow company, as the former can also provide escrow and notary services as well.

    So depending on where you live, you could have one company or individual handle several tasks.

    As you can see, there are quite a few people involved in the funding of a home loan, which explains why they take a month or longer to close.

    Once you know more about each person’s role, it should be easier to navigate the home loan process and make better sense of it all.

    And perhaps adjust your expectations that there isn’t a same-day mortgage and likely won’t be for the foreseeable future.

    (photo: Michael Coghlan)

    Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

    Apache is functioning normally

    Apache is functioning normally

    Dark Matter Technologies, formerly Black Knight Origination Technologies, is focused on mainly two things: the smooth transition to new owners, and lowering the cost to originate loans for lenders.

    Executives from Dark Matter Technologies, under the Constellation Software umbrella, said that a down market is the best time to make investments in technology and prepare for the next cycle.

    With lenders focused on bringing origination costs down in a tough origination environment, the firm saw up to a 300% year-over-year growth in new user numbers for the past couple of years.

    “We actually do well in any kind of market,” Rich Gagliano, CEO of Dark Matter Technologies and former president of Black Knight, said in an interview with HousingWire on Friday.

    “Now we’re in a down cycle, they need to do it with fewer people and they need to be more efficient to get the cost down. So it’s really the same story, just different markets,” Gagliano said.

    Dark Matter Technologies, which completed the acquisition of Black Knight’s Empower and Optimal Blue last week, will be working towards a smooth transition over to Constellation Software with its 1,300-plus employees for the remainder of the year.

    The company doesn’t plan to raise pricing for Empower and is focused on services and products that will drive down the cost of origination and employee borrower retention, executives said. 

    Gagliano, Sean Dugan, CRO of Dark Matter Technologies and Tom George, co-president of Romulus, part of the Perseus Group of Constellation Software, participated in the interview.

    Read on to learn more about Dark Matter Technologies’ plan for mortgage.

    This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

    Connie Kim: Constellation’s Perseus Group has a pretty big real estate portfolio. What were the reasons for buying Black Knight’s Empower and Optimal Blue? What opportunities did the firm see?

    Tom George: The way Constellation operates is that we focus on acquiring vertical market software companies and portfolios of vertical market software companies with the intent to stay in these industries forever. 

    We started almost 20 years ago and Perseus in the homebuilding industry, we built a significant player in homebuilding software, that led us to an adjacency residential real estate where we bought over 20 companies. More recently, we started acquiring businesses in the mortgage tech space. 

    We plan to be in the mortgage tech space forever. And we plan to continue to acquire there. 

    Kim: What other mortgage tech companies has Constellation Software acquired?

    George: We’ve acquired three other businesses in the mortgage space. We bought Mortgage Builder Software from Altisource Portfolio Solutions in 2019. There have been two additional acquisitions – ReverseVision, which is a leader in the reverse mortgage LOS space, and then a document storage product called Back Support.

    Kim: Are you expecting any layoffs during the transition? Will the same management from Black Knight’s Empower and Optimal Blue be in place? 

    Rich Gagliano: We’re not expecting any changes. [About] 1300 [employees] are going to move over with us and it’s business as usual.

    Kim: It’s a tough mortgage origination market right now. How does the company expect to manage profit amid industry consolidation, bankruptcies and attrition?

    Gagliano: We’ve seen a strong pipeline. Even though the markets are down, what we encourage and talk to clients about is when you’re slow, that’s the best time to make technology changes. Now is the time for that change, and get yourself ready for the next cycle.

    We actually do well in any kind of market. But honestly, when the market is crazy, lenders are looking for efficiencies because they can’t find and hire enough staff. Now we’re in a down cycle, they need to do it with fewer people and they need to be more efficient to get the cost down. So it’s really the same story, just different markets.

    Kim: I definitely hear a lot of mortgage tech companies saying ‘this is the time to invest, especially when the market is down.’ You mentioned a strong pipeline, are we talking about new clients? 

    Sean Dugan: We’ve had 200% to 300% growth year-over-year for the last couple of years. And we don’t see that backing up. Those are not financial metrics, that was just on the number of clients acquired. When we took the Empower LOS platform to the down- to mid-market clients and really focused on that, we saw the number of acquisitions per year grow in a really significant fashion. 

    Kim: Empower has an estimated market share of around 10-15% after ICE’s Encompass which takes up about 40 to 45% of market share. How does Dark Matter plan to compete against Encompass?

    Gagliano: We believe strongly in technology. We’re generally in most of the deals when we know about them. We believe that the automation, and the technology and the solution that we bring, and the ecosystem that we have, is best in the industry and really helps these lenders drive cost out of the system.

    We compete with multiple product providers out there, including Encompass. But we like where we are positioned and I think our clients like the innovations that we’ve brought over the past over years.

    Kim: When I talk to lenders, they say when using a company’s LOS, using the same company’s add-on products makes it more cost-efficient and seamless. What are some of the add-on products the company has already developed or is seeking to develop to win over lenders?

    Gagliano: Just over the past couple of years, we’ve added Ava, which is our artificial intelligence capability. Ava has added a couple of additional products over the past two years. We’ve added an underwriting efficiency product, we’ve added a post-close product that’s going into production – so fairly new products.

    We’re going to continue to use the products that we have in our bundle today and sell those so no changes there. But we are incrementally adding new technology, new innovations, that are going to help drive that cost down.

    Dugan: We’ve also delivered digital portals for each one of our business channels within Empower, which would include retail, wholesale, correspondent, home equity and assumptions. We also have business intelligence as a component, and then a vendor aggregation platform, which was by the name of Exchange. Those are some of the components that make up the Dark Matter-owned bundle of services within Empower.

    Kim: I know Ava has some kind of AI aspect to it. Right now, a lot of mortgage tech companies are focusing on AI. How they’re going to utilize AI to be that middleman between the customer and the loan originator. I’m curious how Dark Matter is going to integrate AI and machine learning (ML) to the LOS and other products.

    Dugan: Regardless of what the technology solution is, clients are looking for flexibility, configurability – things that they can configure to meet their particular requirements. They’re looking for a really significant return on their investment, and they’re looking to drive the cost of origination as well as employee and borrower retention.

    Kim: One of the concerns about the ICE-Black Knight merger was the fear that ICE would raise prices on the LOS products. Will there be any pricing changes for Dark Matter Technologies?

    Gagliano: We don’t have anything planned at this point. Our Constellation partners haven’t asked us to come in and raise prices. That’s not part of their strategy, their strategy is to acquire quality companies and run the businesses.

    Kim: Who does Dark Matter Technologies consider as competitors right now?

    Dugan: It’s any origination technology provider. There are a number of providers that are delivering services specific to underwriting capabilities, so we would compete with them. So I think it’s a host of providers and vendors across the ecosystem of this particular vertical that we compete with on a day-by-day basis.

    Kim: What are your prospects for the remainder of the year for mortgage origination? What are some of the larger goals for Dark Matter Technologies?

    Gagliano: Through the end of the year, we’re going to be transitioning to Constellation moving off Black Knight Technologies. We’ve added some corporate-level capabilities already. So we feel good about where we are and stay focused on that through the end of the year.

    Source: housingwire.com