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StreetLinks $1M Guarantee is as Useful as Crap in a Box



Indianapolis based appraisal management company StreetLinks has established a $1,000,000 fund to pay a performance guarantee to its clients, saying that it ensures their appraisals are consistent and accurate.

Of course with any guarantee you have to read the fine print. A lender simply has to stick to the following rules:

  • Minimum volume: 50+ full conventional and/or FHA products per month
  • Established and typical state, regional or national lending footprint
  • Adherence to StreetLinks, HVCC and FHA appraiser independence process
  • Utilization of StreetLinks “IntelAssign” appraiser selection process
  • Volume, footprint & reporting equality must be established to derive a fair comparison if the performance guarantee is constructed around a competing AMC or lender “in-house” process

Why waste their money starting a million dollar fund? Just throw $500 into a separate bank account, call it a performance guarantee and make it nearly impossible to meet the criteria – because that’s really what they’ve done here. It’s a failed attempt to differentiate themselves from the typical appraisal management companies. Tommy-Boy
The late Chris Farley said it best in the movie Tommy Boy:

…they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of s***. That’s all it is, isn’t it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I’ve got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.

In a somewhat related story, I remember seeing a Businessweek article that talks about NovaStar Financial, a large subprime lender during the housing boom.

NovaStar was disciplined by three states—Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington—for such infractions as employing unlicensed brokers and charging unlawful fees. Without admitting wrongdoing, the company paid $5.1 million in 2007 to settle similar allegations in a class action brought on behalf of borrowers. After its mortgage business collapsed, NovaStar morphed into an AMC last year by acquiring another company and renaming it StreetLinks National Appraisal Services.

Steve Haslam, NovaStar’s former chief of retail lending, is now CEO of StreetLinks.

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.

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  1. Lani Rosales

    October 9, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    @bgoheen: Really? What a FRIGGIN JOKE, this company needs a new PR company because this one’s a flop. This is the equivalent to a Realtor saying “I put $20k in cash in a bag that I will hand you at closing if you list your house through me.*”

    *Seller must raise home price by $44k to qualify. Seller must be able to do a back handspring. Seller must list at least three properties within 24 hours to qualify.

    wth ever. STUNT FAIL, I hope the appraisal world is listening.

  2. Atlanta Real Estate

    October 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    In a word: WEAK.


  3. John

    October 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Business Weeks summed it up well former subprime ceo now AMC ceo. Streetlinks just signed up Plaza Home Mortgage as its “partner.” Thats some kind of HVCC firewall between the mortgage broker and the appraiser.

  4. Paula Henry

    October 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Wow – it sounds like the obstacle I’m facing trying to meet the banks “short sale” approval this week. Of course we’ll approve a short sale if the buyer brings $12,000 to close and signs a new note for $47,000.

    Never gonna happen!

  5. Sid

    October 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    This performance guarantee is very useful, especially to home buyers that don’t want to get shafted by realtors and appraisers trying to jack the purchase price up on them so they can make jam more deals through and more in commissions and fees. I’d much rather have the lender turn me down for a purchase because the appraisal came in low than to find out later that I’m underwater by 50% because the appraiser, realtor and mortgage broker worked together to jacked the appraisal up and get the loan to go through.

    Who wudda thunk it. Another angry realtor/appraiser complaining about a company that doesn’t let their appraisers do deals with the realtor/mortgage broker to jack up the value of the appraisal and make his commissions/fees go up. It’s complainers like you that is the reason companies like Streetlinks are going to weed guys like you out of the business. You people did it to yourself and now your going to pay the piper. You guys just don’t get it. The lender and the buyers are the ones that took the beating because of all the jacked up appraisals you people did to pad your wallets. And now you complain because you want to put more risk on the lenders and home buyers.

    • Steve

      December 2, 2009 at 12:13 am

      Wait!…let me get this right…it’s, as you say, “The lender and the buyers are the ones that took the beating…” That’s the story?! Whoa…the LENDERS took the beating. Those poor innocent b*st*rds… Yikes…I guess I’ve NEVER heard that it was the appraisers who caused this mess…at least not to the exclusion of the Lenders being culprits too. Dude, you’re a GENIUS! (or maybe you’re a lender…unlikely that you’d be both lol)

  6. Ben Goheen

    October 19, 2009 at 1:59 am

    “Sid” – How exactly do appraisers inflate the purchase price of a home? I didn’t realize that was something I could do. Also, basing appraisal fees on the value of a home is illegal. Higher fees can be charged for complexity, size, etc. but not the loan amount.

  7. Nevada Rent To Own Homes

    October 28, 2009 at 6:20 am

    @Sid: Totally agree on that those who asked for greater appraisals led to the companies like Streetlinks become a growing threat to rest of us.

  8. Maria

    December 7, 2009 at 11:56 am

    So Sid, you think an officer of a dishonest, failed mortgage company would be a good CEO of an Appraisal Management Company? Good standards and ethics there right?

  9. mister d

    August 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Lets take a look at Steve Haslams career. Started at First Financial, then went to CITI, then went to Landsafe (Countrywides AMC), then he ends up at Novastar as Reatil lending VP. Nothing but a miserable trail of mortgage failure and corruption follows this 4 time loser.

  10. Vicki H.

    January 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Street Links is a joke, I was suppose to close a real estate deal today and because of Street links incompetence of knowing their own software or not giving a crap, it's not closing, they have had the appraisal reinspection report since Wednesday at 11:00 and can't get it to bank underwriters, seriously, this is not the way to do business, they have tarnished the reputation of the lending broker, the bank, Flagstar and the real estate agents involved in this deal because they can't manually go into system change name/number on appraisal and send it on to the underwriters at the bank, come on we have a legal bindsing contract and they can't do it the old-fashioned way and fax it, overnight it or whatever they have to do to ensure the contract conditions are met, ridiculous! Then you wouldn't believe the questions they ask, how come there are no comps within a mile radius, well duh it's out in the country, it's an acreage! How can someone sitting behind a desk in Indiana know the first thing about the market here in Omaha, NE? third Party appraisal companies is NOT the solution, no wonder the public is afraid to get a loan if they have to deal with this?

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?



NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<


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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.



young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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