Oh, the Hazards of the Escrow Desk!
Here is a true story from a Loan Broker client.
His client, a Buyer, was in the market to purchase a home and put in several offers for properties through his Real Estate Agent. Buyer got an e-mail from his Real Estate Agent that for his offer to be considered he must wire the good faith deposit to the escrow company immediately.
The Buyer immediately went to his bank to transact the wire. After he came back he called is Real Estate Agent to advise him the wire was sent. The Real Estate Agent said that he DID NOT send such an e-mail to the Buyer. In the midst of the confusion and incomprehension, we got the “What do we do now?” call from the Buyer’s Loan Broker.
We immediately tell him to tell the Buyer to call his bank and have his bank call the receiving bank that there was wire fraud perpetuated and to stop any release of funds from that account. The receiving bank is in Texas.
Only two hours had passed between the wire out and the phone call to stop the funds but that money was already gone and the account closed. $15,000.00 of hard earned money, Poof!
Here is what everyone should learn from this unfortunate event:
(1) In wire fraud the weakest link could be the Real Estate Agent. If the Real Estate Agent uses a public domain account like yahoo, gmail, sbcglobal, etc., the chances of his e-mail being hacked by fraudsters becomes substantially higher.
(2) Before the wire is sent, the sender should always confirm the wire information with the actual recipient and thus put the recipient on notice. (3) Why was the Buyer wiring to an escrow account in Texas when he is purchasing a property in California??
To hammer the issue even further, here is another story of a consumer who was defrauded and the contortions that he had to go through to try to get his money back. His bank (Wells Fargo) was no help and in fact seemed to hinder the consumer’s attempts. It is not good, guys.
Without knowing what to do and immediately doing it with the cooperation of all the financial institutions, recovery is almost impossible.
THE BAD NEWS BEARS
They say bad news comes in threes. In the case of Wells Fargo, I would say that it comes in fours and fives and sixes.
What is it with them?
They need to get a corporate Fengshui Master to go in and do some adjustment because I don’t think their stars are aligned at all. Competency (or incompetency) issues just keep coming one after the other.
The newest story to hit the wire is the accidental release of the private information of their wealthiest clients to a third party attorney in an unrelated issue. Really? Their wealthiest clients?
If you had to make such an “accidental” mistake could you at least aim for the poorest clients, who don’t have much by way of tax returns, P & L or other sensitive information? In this day and age of privacy and confidentiality, particularly in our escrow industry, a mistake like this is mind boggling.
More bad news coming from this financial institution. They are being scrutinized for placing unneeded, forced auto insurance on customers with car loans with them who were otherwise already insured. 570,000 customers may be affected and Wells is setting aside $80 million for payback.
And finally in this Wells world, the Department of Labor ordered Wells to hire back the whistleblower who was fired after she reported that staff were opening up fake accounts.
Oh, and Wells has to pay her back $575,000 for back pay. Sometimes justice does prevail, a little bit.
Yes, just a little bit because $575,000 is peanuts when compared to the $185 million fine they have to shell out. However, given the awful issues that Wells has gotten themselves into, left and right, I don’t know that going back to work for this particular financial institution is going to be good for this person’s mental health.
AMAZON WANTS YOUR REAL ESTATE LISTING!
Not satisfied with selling everything to the world, Amazon also has developed their connections and recommendations to vendors who consumers can call for electronic and other types of repairs, local services and important home help.
It was only a matter of time that this company would make their foray into the real estate market.
Apparently, the time is now as they plan to put together a site where interested real estate professionals can offer their services to Amazon clients. One stop shopping, so to speak.
Buying that bed on their site? Why not buy a house where you can put it in?
WHAT GOOGLE CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT HOME BUYING
Everyone is avidly looking at the state of the real estate market and being as we are intimately involved, whenever I am with a gathering of people they will invariable turn to me and ask me, “Hey!
How’s the market?” (Do they do that to you, too?)
No matter where or who, this is an avid topic of discussion because people are desperate to know if their investment is doing well and/or is it time to look for more?
So Chase and Google partnered on a report on what parameters consumers are searching for when they Google to get information on home buying. Not surprisingly, affordability of home, affordability of mortgage, and type of mortgage to suit the needs are the most used parameters.
First, I find it fascinating that we go to Amazon to buy our stuff and we go to Google to search, The report, although includes only 1 Lender’s research results, do provide for some interesting statistics.
What would we do without Google? Or without Amazon?
FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN U.S. IS NOT DEAD!
It is wise to remember that it is not just the Chinese who have been investing like crazy in our country.
Canadians have always been in the ball game; they love anywhere that is warm and sunny, hence Florida and the Palm Springs are major targets.
The National Association of Realtors came out with a survey of foreign investment and now you can see why in some areas of the country it has become so much of a fight for U.S. residents to find affordable inventory. It is difficult to compete with money from abroad.
So, hmm, what happened to all the U.S. Citizens who were going to immigrate to Canada when the new Administration was voted in?
Remember, we are the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave Facing Unaffordable Housing.
AVOCADO TOAST AND THE UBIQUIOUSNESS OF THE INTERNET
I just have to post this event because really, only in today’s world! Last month I read about one mortgage company is offering of one month’s supply of Avocado Toast if you get a loan with them. What the heck is Avocado toast anyway?
So here is how it happened – some Australian millionaire was trying to make a point and said that Millennials shouldn’t whine about not being able to buy a home.
All they had to do was give up their avocado toast. The interview made the internet news with this article and before you could say “TOAST” some sharp dude from SoFi Mortgage picks up on this and shoots out their advertising campaign that they will deliver to the Borrower’s door enough avocado toast to last a whole month. So now our irrepressible internet is off and running and all the noise is about avocado toast.
One more time, with feeling, I ask, “What the heck is Avocado Toast?” Guess I am not a Millennial.
PSST, WANNA BUY WALL STREET?
WallStreet.com, that is. Here is an interesting piece of information. The domain name of WallStreet.com is being sold and it will come with its rights to its Facebook page, Twitter, and other registered trademarks, according to this article: the auction will take place on August 8th in New York City.
You have a couple of days to get your cash together to make a bid! What do you want to bet that it will be bought for beaucoup bucks by a Chinese investor? This would be exactly the type of thing to interest a Chinese company with an eye to bragging rights.
Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?