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LPS sued by American Home for alleged robo-signing fraud

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American Home vs. Lender Processing Services

New York investor Wilbur Ross has a net worth of 1.9 billion according to Forbes and specializes in buying up distressed businesses and restructuring them to be profitable once again. Today, American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. (AHMSI) has sued Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) for electronically signing over 30,000 residential mortgage documents without review which has resulted in millions upon millions of dollars in legal fees.

This isn’t the first lawsuit LPS has seen for their role in the robo-signing scandal that hit the mortgage and housing industries so hard. LPS has been served with criminal subpoenas in Michigan and is under investigation in California and Illinois, but the most troubling suit for LPS is easily lawsuit brought on by the FDIC against LPS for negligence and breaches of contract for which they are demanding a jury trial to recoup $154.5 million in losses on behalf of Washington Mutual Bank (WaMu) of which they are now the receiver.

As a single lawsuit, $154.5 million isn’t all that much, but together with lawsuits from banks, federal agencies, state agencies and individual homeowners, the icing on the LPS cake is that the Ross-controled company, AHMSI has filed in a Dallas County, Texas for LPS improperly signing and notarizing mortgage assignments on its behalf in all 50 states.

Another robo-signing lawsuit against LPS

Court documents show that LPS allowed their workers to sign American Home officers’ signatures on documents and employed notaries who improperly notarized the documents. This practice has been cited by most lawsuits against LPS and agencies are aware of even which individuals in the organization were sanctioned to sign under one name (with dozens of varying signatures for each LPS official who allegedly “signed” thousands of documents without manual review).

American Home stopped using LPS in November 2009 when it learned LPS was using these “surrogate” signers and are suing after a lengthy period that has failed to resolve the dispute between AHMSI and LPS. The suit says that “despite their contractual obligations and express promises to the contrary, defendants have refused to reimburse or indemnify American Home” and seeks compensatory and punitive damages along with other remedies.

LPS said in a statement that they disagree with the allegations and not only did they offer to cover some of American Home’s costs, LPS says AHMSI has refused to show proof of any “actual losses.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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