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Smartfi Home Loans, a reverse mortgage wholesale lender, is now using the LoanPASS product and pricing engine. 

With over 110 years of collective reverse mortgage experience, Smartfi Home Loans boasts a seasoned team deeply rooted in the industry. Smartfi operates as a wholesale lender in more than 40 states and continues to expand its commitment to providing secure access to home equity for seniors. 

“Smartfi is uniquely positioned in the industry with a team that shares a common vision for how to grow the market and expand home equity use in retirement,” says Gregg Smith, CEO of Smartfi Home Loans, in a release. “Partnering with LoanPASS to implement their Product and Pricing Engine was an easy decision as it seamlessly aligned with our vision. Their innovative solution supports our commitment to streamlining the lending process for our partners.” 

“We are thrilled to welcome Smartfi Home Loans as another new customer and valued partner,” says Bill Mitchell, CRO of LoanPASS. “In addition to our shared commitment to drive technology and business process transformation for all our clients, the LoanPASS rules engine was designed to give Smartfi Home Loans complete control over products and pricing.” 

“Whether it’s a forward or reverse loan, LoanPASS was designed and architected to break industry convention and disrupt the market for decisioning engine technologies,” Mitchell adds. “LoanPASS is quickly becoming recognized as the leader in advanced pricing engine technology solutions for lending institutions throughout the U.S.”



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In recent years, the real estate landscape has undergone a profound transformation, marked by the popularity of build-to-rent homes. This innovative housing model, conceived for rental purposes, has emerged as a trend that not only caught the eye of industry stakeholders but has also redefined the expectations of both landlords and tenants.

In this deep dive, we will unravel the foundation of build-to-rent homes, comb through its growth path from its inception, evaluate its current status and think about the potentially far-reaching impact it may exert on the rental market.

Understanding build-to-rent homes

Build-to-rent homes represent a departure from conventional real estate development, as they are residential properties designed and constructed with the sole purpose of being rented out rather than sold. These purpose-built developments often manifest as part of larger rental communities, strategically incorporating an array of amenities and services to elevate the overall living experience for tenants.

What characterizes build-to-rent homes?

The terms “build to rent,” “built to rent,” “BFR” and “B2R” are interchangeable, all denoting properties constructed explicitly for long-term rentals. Rather than being purchased from other owners, these homes are constructed by owners with the specific intent of catering to tenants.

These properties can be owned by individuals or managed by companies, particularly within build-to-rent communities. The variety of build-to-rent homes includes single-family dwellings on standard-sized lots, small lot homes with closer proximity, duplexes featuring two attached units, triplexes with three attached units and row homes and a series of side-by-side houses sharing a common wall.

The origins of the trend

The roots of the build-to-rent trend delve into the need to adapt to the changing dynamics of the housing market. Factors such as urbanization, a shifting preference for flexibility among millennials and young professionals and a heightened desire for a convenient and hassle-free lifestyle contributed to the initial emergence of this trend. Its early development stages can be traced back to the early 2010s, witnessing a significant surge in build-to-rent developments that were crafted in response to the needs of the housing market.

The evolution of build-to-rent

The evolution of build-to-rent homes is intertwined with the broader socioeconomic shifts shaping our cities and communities. As urbanization accelerated, there was a demand for housing solutions that catered to the dynamic lifestyles of individuals seeking convenience, flexibility and a sense of community. The traditional model of homeownership faced challenges in meeting these evolving needs, paving the way for the rise of build-to-rent homes.

These purpose-built developments were conceived as more than just housing units; they aimed to create entire communities tailored to the modern renter’s lifestyle. Developers, typically a property management company, envisioned amenities like those of apartment buildings like fitness centers, swimming pools, communal spaces, co-working areas and on-site services to foster a sense of belonging and convenience within these rental communities. The objective was not merely to provide shelter but to curate an enhanced living experience that rivaled traditional single-family rentals.

Current status and popularity

As we cross the threshold from 2023 into 2024, the build-to-rent trend continues to gain momentum, asserting itself as a prominent player in the real estate domain. Investors and developers, discerning the potential for stable returns in the rental sector, have propelled a surge in construction projects exclusively dedicated to build-to-rent properties. The demand for such homes spans a diverse demographic spectrum, encompassing young professionals, families and retirees, all of whom are drawn to the benefits that build-to-rent communities offer.

The surge in popularity is not only a result of demographic shifts but also indicative of changing attitudes towards homeownership. The younger generations, in particular, are increasingly valuing flexibility and experience over the long-term commitment of owning a home. The advantages of build-to-rent properties, such as communal living, shared amenities and hassle-free maintenance, align seamlessly with these changing preferences.

Impact on landlords

Build-to-rent homes have ushered a shift for landlords, presenting a host of advantages that extend beyond the traditional rental model. One of the most significant benefits is the higher renewal rate. Tenants, appreciating the convenience and plethora of amenities provided in these purpose-built communities, are more inclined to renew their leases. This not only ensures a stable income stream for landlords but also fosters a sense of community and stability within these rental developments.

The streamlined management of build-to-rent properties is another boon for landlords. Centralized management, often facilitated by professional property management companies, allows for more efficient operations. From maintenance and security to community events and amenities, the integrated approach reduces the burden on individual landlords, contributing to a smoother and more sustainable rental model.

Furthermore, the scalability of build-to-rent developments provides investors with the opportunity to diversify their portfolios. The ability to own and manage multiple units within a single community or across various locations enhances the potential for economies of scale and mitigates risks associated with individual property management.

Impact on tenants

Tenants, the primary beneficiaries of the build-to-rent paradigm, stand to gain numerous advantages from choosing these purpose-built homes. These properties are meticulously designed with tenant needs in mind, offering an array of amenities such as fitness centers, communal space and on-site maintenance services. The emphasis on privacy is a notable characteristic, often achieved through detached or well-insulated units, setting build-to-rent homes apart from traditional rental options and providing tenants with a more comfortable and private living experience.

The communal aspect of build-to-rent living is a significant draw for tenants: This living experience aligns with the social preferences of modern renters, particularly the younger demographic, who prioritize connections and experiences over isolated living. The flexible lease terms offered by build-to-rent developments also cater to the transient nature of contemporary lifestyles. With the option for shorter leases and the absence of the burdensome responsibilities associated with homeownership, tenants can embrace a lifestyle characterized by mobility and adaptability.

Looking ahead at the future of single-family homes

As we cast our gaze into the future, the build-to-rent trend is poised to continue shaping the housing landscape in profound ways. The flexibility, convenience and community-oriented features of these developments are likely to attract an even broader spectrum of renters.

Moreover, advancements in sustainable and smart building technologies hold the promise of further enhancing the appeal of build-to-rent homes, making them a sustainable and forward-thinking choice for both landlords and tenants.

The integration of green building practices, energy-efficient technologies, and smart home solutions align with the growing emphasis on sustainability in the real estate sector. These innovations not only contribute to environmental conservation but also offer cost-saving benefits for both landlords and tenants. As society becomes more conscious of its ecological footprint, the incorporation of sustainable practices in build-to-rent developments positions it as a responsible and future-ready housing solution.

The confluence of these trends is not merely a fad; rather, it signifies a redefinition of how we conceptualize and experience rental housing. The integration of these elements is set to leave an major mark on the housing market, influencing its trajectory for years to come.

Looking for a place to rent, whether build-to-rent or something different. Check out our available apartments and houses for rent here.

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Home Equity, Pre-Qual, Correspondent, Verification Tools; Training and Webinars; STRATMOR on LO Habits

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7 Hours, 30 Min ago

Attention in the hallways in the early going at the IMB Conference in New Orleans is varied. LinkedIn traffic seems to have picked up for IMB companies like Draper and Kramer and Atlantic Bay, but that is hardly a scientific measure of companies being bought, buying, or exiting the business. (As always, direct questions to company representatives.) Credit costs and trigger leads are a big item; this Wednesday’s L1 Mortgage Matters session at 2PM ET features John Fleming, of John Fleming Law and the Texas MBA, discussing issues including a fine update on the trigger lead situation. Being pragmatic about handling branches that are losing money, even if the crew there has been with you for years and years, is a hot topic among owners. The last 18 months has not been the time to waffle or ignore information. Today’s podcast can be found here and this week’s is brought to you LoanCare. LoanCare has successfully navigated clients and homeowners through market change for 40 years. The mortgage subservicer is known for delivering superior customer experience through personalization and convenience via its portfolio management tool, LoanCare Analytics™, supporting MSR investors with a focus on customer engagement, liquidity, and credit risk.

Lender and Broker Services, Products, and Software

Jonathan Spinetto COO & Co-founder at Nyfty Door, grew business from 0 loan originations two years ago when he signed with TRUV, and is projected to hit 3,000 loans a month in 2024. NYFTY door sees conversion rates over 60% with Truv and is saving 60-80% over competitors. Contact TRUV today for your income, employment, insurance, and asset verifications.

“Citi Correspondent Lending continues to foster targeted growth of our approved lender base with a focus on the expansion of our Community Lending platform. To start off the new year, we’re moving forward with full implementation of our proprietary affordable lending program, HomeRun, which features no MI, up to 97 percent LTV and as little as 1 percent borrower down payment contribution. To further compliment this rollout, our CRA pricing incentives were recently updated with enhancements to several markets, including Miami, Newark, San Jose, and Los Angeles. Learn more about HomeRun and all of the other growth opportunities Citi Correspondent Lending has to offer by contacting our National Client Services Team or completing our Prospective Correspondent Questionnaire.”

Get ready to rev your engines and network like a champion at the 3rd annual Supercar Experience, brought to you by Lender Toolkit, Reggora, Lenders One, and LodeStar! Mark your calendars for March 18th, before the kickoff of EXP24 in Vegas. We’ll take over Speed Vegas Exotics Racing, where you can unleash your inner speed demon behind the wheel of a dream supercar and connect with industry decision makers in a high-octane setting. Build valuable partnerships and expand your circle with leading mortgage minds at this one-of-a-kind event. Gain exclusive insights from and ask your questions of industry expert Rob Chrisman in a live Chrisman Commentary podcast. Plus, shake hands with Talladega Nights’ icon, Ricky Bobby himself! Experience more than just supercar thrills with an exclusive reception, delicious catering, and racetrack excitement. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable opportunity to elevate your brand, fuel your EXP24 prep, and network like a boss. Secure your spot now. Shake and bake!

One of the more annoying jobs of a loan officer is putting together closing cost summaries every time a borrower looks at a new house. What if they could fire them off from their phone (accurately) without having to go into the LOS each time? All your pre-approved buyers, on your phone, integrated with the LOS. Turn your loan officers into super-awesome fireball-throwing loan officers with QuickQual by LenderLogix.

Introducing The 2024 Lender Playbook: 4 Tips to Drive Profitability in a Recovering Market. How will the coming election, housing inventory, and Fed action impact the mortgage market (and your lending success) this year? There’s a lot going on in 2024, and market recovery won’t be straightforward. The good news? You can still build a strong, forward-thinking plan for resilience and profitability. Tenured industry experts from Maxwell’s senior team helped create this guide to teach you how to reduce costs, win borrower business, and capture intermittent loan volume as it reemerges in the market. To get a leg up on the competition and build agility into your business, click here to download The 2024 Lender Playbook: 4 Tips to Drive Profitability in a Recovering Market.

Join FirstClose, Curinos and Fifth Third Bank on Thursday, February 15 for a deep dive into today’s home equity market. Take a look behind the scenes at the products and processes that fuel home equity lending, new financing options that are creating opportunities for both depository and non-bank participants and, most importantly, learn how to capitalize on this market. This one-hour online event is a must attend for anyone currently in the home equity space or thinking of entering. Register today.


Do you ever feel like you’re living the same day over and over again? Sometimes it takes watching a 90’s comedy classic to bring us to our senses and remind us that we must keep trying new things, changing, and evolving if want to see new and different results. In his latest Customer Experience Tip, STRATMOR Customer Experience Director Mike Seminari shares some lessons Bill Murray’s character learns in the movie “Groundhog Day” and how LOs can apply it to their process in 2024. Check out “Fresh Ideas for LOs Looking for Better Results in 2024” for recommendations on how to incorporate small change habits into your daily routine to help drive more referrals and repeat business in 2024.

Webinars, Events, and Training to Wrap up January

The upcoming webinar, “California Lien Law Overview for Construction Lenders” will be hosted by Land Gorilla on Wednesday, January 24 at 10AM PT/1PM ET. In continuation of the informative construction lien law webinars covering Florida and Texas, this webinar promises more great insights and understanding into California’s specific statutory requirements. Discover faster and more cost-effective alternatives to a foundation survey. Gain insights into California’s Prompt Payment Act. Learn the significance of the Notice of Completion in California and its critical timeline that can minimize a lender’s exposure during the final disbursement. You won’t want to miss these key insights to help you effectively manage construction loans. Register now to secure your spot. All registrants will receive the webinar recording.

A good place for longer term conference planning is to start is here, and click on “events” for conferences in the future. Of course this week we have the MBA’s IMB Conference in New Orleans.

What’s ahead for commercial real estate (CRE) markets in 2024? Join SitusAMC’s inaugural “ValTrends First Look” webinar on January 23, at 2pm ET, hosted by Senior Director of SitusAMC Insights Peter Muoio, PhD and Vice President of SitusAMC Insights Jennifer Rasmussen, PhD. Instead of looking back at the previous quarter, the new ValTrends webinar will leverage recent survey data of leading institutional and regional CRE executives to give you a forward-looking snapshot of the quarter ahead.

National MI: Highlights from the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers with Rebecca Lorenz – January 23rd at 2PM ET. Build a Prospecting Follow-Up Strategy with Kendra Lee – January 25th at 1PM ET.

Sign up for a complimentary webinar hosted by ICE to hear about AI and the future of home valuations. A panel of industry experts will discuss the ways AI-powered tools eliminate valuation bias. They’ll also cover how AI accelerates the valuation process, and ways you can look out for fraud when using AI in home appraisals. The webinar, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Home Valuations, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 2 -3 p.m. Don’t miss out on key insights: register here.

Join BankingBridge, Wednesday, January 24th, 2PM ET/11AM PT, for an insightful webinar delving into the opportunities Zillow offers to enhance lead generation and conversion for mortgage lenders. This comprehensive session is designed to guide you through the various advertising avenues available on Zillow, including the strategic use of the Zillow Mortgage Rate Table, and the nuances of both long-form and short-form leads.

Wednesday the 24th, looking for more in-depth commentary on weekly mortgage news? Register here for “Mortgage Matters: The Weekly Roundup” presented by Lenders One. Every Wednesday at 2PM EST/11AM PT is a dive into a range of mortgage-related topics, including market trends, interest rate fluctuations, innovative mortgage products, and industry advancements. Listen to a unique mix of age perspective, expertise, and charisma to the screen, ensuring that the information is not only educational but also entertaining. Hear from This week is fabled Austin-based attorney John Fleming discussing trigger leads and the NAR verdict.

“Mastering the Art of Mortgage Broker Engagement” is on January 24th at 10AM PST to learn best practices and strategies that wholesale lenders are using to thrive in the TPO market. This webinar will show you proven tactics and technology tools that are helping wholesale lenders create efficient sales processes that are both scalable and effective. Click here to register.

Join Real Estate Consulting (RCLCO) for this Month’s Webinar: New Year, New Trends – Compensation & Talent Management, Thursday, January 25th, 9:15AM PT / 12:15PM ET. Speakers include Ellen Klasson, Managing Director; Eric Willett, Managing Director; Adam Ostler, Principal, and Moderator Joshua A. Boren, Managing Director, Strategic Initiatives (Moderator).

Friday, January 26th, is this week’s episode of The Mortgage Collaborative’s Rundown covering current events in the mortgage market for 30-45 minutes starting at noon PT, 3PM ET, in “The Rundown”.

The California Association of Mortgage Professionals (CAMP) is presenting the 2024 Economic Forecast with Dr. Michael Frantanoni and Rob Chrisman on Tuesday, January 30th

1PM PT. “Unlock the Future: 2024 Economic Forecast Revealed! Dive into a World of Opportunities and Growth. Discover Key Insights, Trends, and Strategies for Success in the Upcoming Economic Landscape.”

“Lending operations leaders who care about increasing revenue and decreasing costs, join your tribe in this live event. On January 30th at 1pm CT is an electric panelist lineup made up of Industry leaders that are going to ‘spill the beans’ on ten strategies they are focused on to increase sales and reduce costs with minimal investment in 2024. Join Kevin Peraino, Chief Lending Officer at PRMG, Delfino Aguilar, Chief Production Officer – TPO, Kind Lending, David Lykken, Founder & Chief Transformation Officer at Transformational Mortgage Solutions, LLC (TMS), and Richard Grieser, VP of Marketing at TRUV.

Now available on the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Single Family Housing Events and Training web page under Single Family Housing Self-Paced, Pre-Recorded Training

The first self-paced training module, the Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook (Handbook 4000.1) is an evergreen presentation that walks new and/or existing stakeholders needing a refresher through Handbook 4000.1’s structure and style. It is designed to help viewers understand its benefits, where to access it online, how to read Mortgagee Letters (ML) in context, and how to locate content updates.

The second self-paced training module, the Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) Origination and Servicing Overview, focuses solely on the newest and final Handbook 4000.1 section that was released on October 31, 2023, and announced in a press release and FHA INFO 2023-84. It begins with a review of the new HECM section’s style and structure, consistent with the rest of Handbook 4000.1 for HECM originators, servicers, and other interested parties. Additionally, it provides viewers with an overview of some of the more recent HECM policy updates that have been incorporated into this new Handbook section, making it easier for HECM originators and servicers to locate the information needed to do with business with FHA in one place.

Capital Markets

Another week, another round of good U.S. economic news. Last week’s Michigan sentiment for January crushed expectations to register at the highest point since July 2021, strong retail sales data from December, and the lowest level of initial jobless claims in over a year. Positive economic news, coupled with diminished chances of a March rate cut, have pushed bond yields to the highest levels in a month. Americans are feeling positive about the economy, their incomes, and the outlook on prices. Notably, the increase in consumer sentiment was accompanied by another drop in year-ahead inflation expectations, which have returned to a level not seen in three years.

The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for January was well ahead of estimates, hitting its highest level since July 2021 with year-ahead inflation expectations decelerating to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent, a rate not seen in just over three years. Existing home sales decreased 1.0 percent month-over-month in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.78 million from 3.82 million in November. Sales were down 6.2 percent from the same period a year ago as high mortgage rates continue weighing on the overall level of activity, though they have not stopped prices from continuing to climb.

Last week’s batch of data, which included a mix of high consumer confidence and lower inflation expectations that points toward a soft landing for the U.S. economy and Fed Chair Powell’s war on inflation, has dropped the implied likelihood of a 25-basis points rate cut at the March FOMC meeting to 45 percent currently from over 55 percent seen at the beginning of last week. While investors continue to chip away at bets that the Fed will cut rates early and aggressively this year, there remains a significant gap in the market and Fed expectations for the fed funds trajectory this year.

It all points to a solid American economy, notably more so despite a Fed rate-tightening campaign that seemingly has broken the back of inflation. However, investors are eager to know when those rate hikes will be reversed; expect them to wait to ease, and that the market will merge with what the Fed thinks. The Fed will err on the side of being conservative.

Central banks will also be busy, with monetary policy statements and interest rate decisions expected from the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, and Bank of Canada. In the U.S., Federal Reserve members will be in a blackout period of no public talks ahead of the next FOMC meeting on January 30-31.

This week’s economic calendar includes month-end auctions consisting of $162 billion 2-year, 5-year, and 7-year notes tomorrow through Thursday with $18 billion 2-year FRNs also on Wednesday, Fed surveys, S&P Global PMI flashes, durables goods orders, the first look at Q1 GDP (expected at 2.0 percent), new home sales, and Fed favorite PCE on Friday. Expectations are for the core PCE Price Index to increase 0.2 percent month-over-month and 3.0 percent year-over-year versus 0.1 percent and 3.2 percent previously. No Fed speakers are scheduled with the Fed in their blackout period.

Additionally, this week brings the ECB’s first monetary policy meeting of 2024 and a rate decision from the Bank of Japan. Today’s economic calendar sees just one data point with leading indicators for December. (The forecast is for unchanged which, if realized, would be the first non-negative reading in 21 months.) We begin the week with Agency MBS prices better by .125-.250, the 10-year yielding 4.09 after closing last week at 4.15 percent., and the 2-year at 4.38.

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