Regulatory Agencies :: The Construction Management Pro

FREE FEMA Residential Coastal Construction Class

May 28, 2013

FEMA Building Science, the FEMA New Jersey Field Office, the New Jersey DCA and Rutgers are offering a FREE course in Best Practices in Flood and Wind Mitigation for engineers, architects, contractors, builders and local officials. The course will be offered in three locations:

June 6, 2013 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Holiday Inn at Hasbrouck Heights
283 Route 17 South, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

(201) 288-9600

June 20, 2013 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Ocean County Training Center
200 Volunteer Way, Waretown, NJ 08758

(609) 242-8450 

June 25, 2013 8:00 am-5:00 pm

Monmouth County Fire Academy
1027 Highway 33 East, Freehold, NJ 07728

(732) 683-8857

To register for classes email: David.Pradell@fema.dhs.gov

For more detailed information go to: www.region2coastal.com

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Christie Administration Announces Launch of “reNew Jersey Stronger” Housing Assistance Initiative

May 28, 2013

$780 Million Available for Homeowners Impacted by Superstorm Sandy

Beginning May 24, 2013, eligible homeowners can now apply for grant assistance at www.renewjerseystronger.org or by calling 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946).

The housing assistance programs comes less than a month after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. The Action Plan details how the State will utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal funding to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative will utilize $780 million of the allocation.

Homeowners will be able to apply online and by phone starting today. They will also be able to apply in-person starting June 8 at Sandy Housing Assistance Centers which will be located in those counties most impacted by the storm. “Housing counselors both at the centers and over the phone can help applicants navigate the entire process by providing support and clear guidance,” said Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner of the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which will administer the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for New Jersey.

Under the reNew Jersey Stronger housing initiative, homeowners whose primary residences were damaged by the storm in the nine most-impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) may apply for two grant programs. Vacation homes, second homes and recreational vehicles or trailers are not eligible for the programs based on federal restrictions on the use of the funds.

  • Homeowner Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program: This $600 million program will provide eligible homeowners up to $150,000 in grant funds to aid the reconstruction, rehabilitation, elevation and mitigation of damaged primary homes. The program is intended to fill the gap between the costs needed to repair the home and other sources of funds the homeowner has received to repair their home such as insurance payments or assistance from FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additionally, the program will help homeowners with the construction process by developing repair specifications, identifying qualified builders to do the construction work, and ensuring the quality of the work completed. Seventy percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the RREM Program must have registered for assistance with FEMA and must have a household adjusted gross annual income of less than $250,000. Priority will be given to homes that are deemed “substantially damaged” (damages exceed 50% of a home’s assessed value) as a result of Sandy.

  • Homeowner Resettlement Program: This $180 million program is aimed at encouraging Sandy-impacted homeowners to remain in the nine counties that were most seriously affected by the storm. This program will provide $10,000 grants to eligible homeowners to encourage them to resettle in their existing home or resettle in the same county and in so doing will help to restore home values and stabilize many devastated communities. Homeowners must agree to remain in the county of their damaged residence for three consecutive years following the grant award. Sixty percent of the funds will be reserved for low-to-moderate-income households in accordance with federal requirements.

All applicants under the Resettlement Program must have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and must have sustained at least $8,000 in damages or more than one foot of flooding on the first floor as a result of Sandy. There is no formal deadline for accepting applications, there will be an initial application period that will run from May 24, 2013 to June 30, 2013. All completed RREM and Resettlement applications received by June 30 will then be in the first group to be processed. Once the application period closes, selection will prioritize those homeowners with the most damage (i.e., substantial, severe and major), whose homes are in the most impacted counties (i.e., Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean), and who are of low- to moderate-income.

In early July, applicants will be notified of their place on the list and whether they will receive an award out of HUD’s initial allocation of funding. Anyone who is not successful in getting an award will be placed on a waiting list pending a future allocation from HUD. An announcement on future allocations is expected in September.

Applications will continue to be accepted after June 30, 2013, but these applicants will be processed only after all the most impacted homeowners from the first group have been served.

For more information on the reNew Jersey Stronger housing assistance initiative, including details about the application process, determination of eligibility, and award calculation, visit www.renewjerseystronger.org or call the hotline number 1-855-SANDYHM (1-855-726-3946). Locations and directions to the Sandy Housing Assistance Centers that are opening June 8 will be posted at www.renewjerseystronger.org as the information becomes available.

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FREE FEMA Residential Coastal Construction Class

May 19, 2013

 

FEMA Building Science, the FEMA New Jersey Field Office, the New Jersey DCA and Rutgers is offering a FREE course in Best Practices in Flood and Wind Mitigation for engineers, architects, contractors, builders and local officials. The course will be offered in three locations:

June 6, 2013 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Holiday Inn at Hasbrouck Heights
283 Route 17 South, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

(201) 288-9600

 

June 20, 2013 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Ocean County Training Center
200 Volunteer Way, Waretown, NJ 08758

(609) 242-8450 

 

June 25, 2013 8:00 am-5:00 pm
Monmouth County Fire Academy
1027 Highway 33 East, Freehold, NJ 07728

(732) 683-8857

 

To register for classes email: David.Pradell@fema.dhs.gov

For more detailed information go to: www.region2coastal.com

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Now Available: Stronger NJ Business Grant program

May 2, 2013

Now Available: Stronger NJ Business Grant program 

Source: New Jersey Builder’s Association

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is accepting applications for the Stronger NJ Business Grant program. This program provides up to $50,000 per impacted location and up to $250,000 per entity to eligible small businesses and non-profit organizations which sustained a minimum of $5,000 in physical damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Governor Chris Christie has tasked the NJEDA to administer $460 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to support the recovery of storm-impacted businesses. Of this total, $260 million will fund the Stronger NJ Business Grant program.

For more information regarding the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, including eligibility information and application instructions, please visit: http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusinessgrant.

The NJEDA Office of Recovery Superstorm Sandy hotline is also open at 1-855-SANDY-BZ to answer any questions you may have regarding the program and application process.

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Foreclosure Settlement

March 30, 2013

In January 2013, an agreement between 11 mortgage servicers and the Federal Bank regulators was reached. That agreement ended the independent Foreclosure review program.

Parties to the agreement included Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, US Bank, Wells Fargo and their affiliates or acquired loan servicing companies.

The agreement stipulates that borrowers whose mortgage loans were serviced by any of the participating entities and were involved in a foreclosure proceeding between January 1, 2009 and December 21, 2010 will receive compensation even if a request for review form was not submitted by the December 21, 2010 deadline.

Eligible borrowers should have been to be contacted by the Paying Agent, Rust Consulting, Inc., by March 31, 2013 with payment details. Borrowers can call the Paying Agent at 1-888-952-9105 to update their contact information or to verify that they are covered by the agreement’s amendments.

for more information:

https://independentforeclosurereview.com/faqs.aspx#FAQ_AGREEMENT

 

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Public Comments Invited for 2nd Draft, National Green Building Standard

May 3, 2012

A 45-day public comment period for the second draft of the 2012 National Green Building Standard (ICC 700) opened Friday, April 27, 2012. As part of the process approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), only those changes to the first draft that were approved by the standard’s consensus committee during its February meeting are open for public comment. The deadline is June 11. Also released was the Pre-Public Comments Report (PCR), which documents the changes the committee members made  — and why they made them – based on comments received on the first draft.

Initiated in 2007 by the International Code Council and NAHB, the 2008 National Green Building Standard (ICC 700) was developed by a 42-member consensus committee and approved by ANSI in January 2009, making it the first point-based rating system for green residential construction, remodeling and land development to be approved by ANSI. As an ANSI-approved standard, the document is subject to periodic updates as a way to ensure that advances in building codes, technology, and other developments can be considered for incorporation – and this new version of the standard is expected to reflect those changes.

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Home Appraisal Process Flawed, Government Report Finds

March 14, 2012

The Government Accounting Office has come to the same conclusion many home builders have: the home loan appraisal process remains flawed.

“Some 20 years after the passage of Title XI [which establishes rules about appraiser qualifications and independence] questions remain about the oversight of the appraisal industry and the quality of appraisals,” says the recently released GAO report.

Appraisal fraud, the deliberate overstatement or understatement of a home’s value, remains a concern. Of the 816 mortgage fraud cases the FBI closed from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011, 92 involved appraisal fraud, the report said.

And there are still worries within the industry that the increased use of appraisal management companies, which are often accused of focusing more on the bottom line and quick processing, is sacrificing quality, the report continued.

A much-simplified summation of the GAO’s study is that the appraisal process needs better monitoring. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) agrees and said there is evidence that the flawed system is continuing to hamper the home building industry’s recovery by derailing sales.

A recent NAHB poll showed that one out of three builders surveyed lost signed sales contracts because of flawed appraisals. And a National Association of Realtors survey conducted last fall found 18% of Realtors reporting recent contract cancellations or delays as a result of a low appraisal.

“The current system is not working,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen in Nation’s Building News. “We must resolve a flawed appraisal process that produces inaccurate assessment of home values because this fosters price instability, puts more families in danger of default or foreclosure, and undermines the housing and economic recoveries.”

The GAO specifically looked at the workings of the Appraisal Subcommittee, which is tasked with monitoring states’ compliance with Title XI as well as monitoring appraisal requirements of the federal financial institution’s regulators. The GAO concludes that the subcommittee hasn’t developed clearly defined criteria for assessing whether states are complying with Title XI, and the subcommittee’s monitoring of compliance has been limited.

The subcommittee was also faulted for lacking policies to evaluate whether the activities of the Appraisal Foundation, a non-profit organization that gets government grants and sets the criteria for appraisers and appraisals, are related to complying with Title XI.

In its defense, the GAO report points out that the Appraisal Subcommittee is funded by fees paid by appraisal registration fees, which have dropped off as appraisers left the industry. To make matters worse, the subcommittee got more duties under the Dodd-Frank Act. It is now charged with creating a national appraiser complaint hotline and provides grants to state appraiser regulatory agencies, which have complained they are under-funded. The report expresses concern over whether the subcommittee will be able to meet those requirements with its current resources.

In addition, the GAO expresses concern that the subcommittee might not have the teeth it needs to enforce the regulations anyway.

“These findings underscore the need to establish an effective oversight system to ensure that appraisals accurately reflect true market values and don’t harm aspiring home buyers or builders,” says NAHB’s Nielsen.

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER magazine.

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Free Pre-Apprenticeship Opportunity

December 28, 2011

The Finishing Trades Institute of the Mid-Atlantic Region received a Green Jobs Innovation Fund grant which makes available a free education and training opportunity for Out of School Youth, Dislocated Workers, Unemployed Workers and Veterans.  The Tri-Green Pre-Apprenticeship Program offers 160 hours of classroom and hands on instruction leading to three industry recognized certifications (Green Advantage, OSHA 10 and First Aid/CPR) and 10 college credits as described in the attachment.  Successful completers are offered advanced standing for the available apprenticeship seats at The Finishing Trades Institute.

The initial Philadelphia area offering will be conducted January 9 – February 3, 2012.

To read more about the program follow this link: http://www.fti.edu/certificate_program.html

To register for the program online (recommended) follow this link:  https://fti.unionlogic.net/trigreen

To print a registration form to drop off or mail, follow this link: http://www.fti.edu/pdf/tri_green_application2011-2012.pdf

Your support to identify Out of School Youth, Dislocated Workers, Unemployed Workers and Veterans interested in learning more about the construction trades, gaining knowledge and skills, advancing their education and or increasing their employability would be appreciated.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience.  Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Susan Shaffer

Tri-Green Outreach Coordinator

The Finishing Trades Institute

2190 Hornig Rd

Philadelphia, PA 19116

C: 570-885-9612

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Property Management for Scattered Site Rental Property

October 4, 2011

A NeighborWorks® Place-based Training brought to you by the Network

October 17 & 18  9:00 AM – 4:00=PM

145 W Hanover St. Trenton, NJ

This two day course will explore how to manage geographically scattered and small-scale rental properties which pose a unique and difficult challenge in affordable housing ownership. A portfolio of small properties requires the owner to possess or obtain special property management skills. Management will not have the advantages of on-site property management staff, or the economies of scale a multiple-unit building provides. This course is designed to help the participant identify ways of mobilizing and adapting a management operation to effectively monitor the operational performance of a scattered-site real estate portfolio. Through case study analysis and discussion of best practices, participants will learn to identify and examine the different property management options available to best meet their organization’s needs. Approaches to keep such housing stock healthy and energy efficient will be addressed. A special module will cover the specifics of managing REO properties

Presented by Brett William, Neighborworks Training Institute

Fee: $150 Members/ Non Members $200.  (a savings of $295/$245 off this NeighborWorks® course) At this time we currently are NOT accepting electronic payments.  Registration includes Continental Breakfast, Breaks, Lunch and Workshop materials. Please address all checks and money orders to The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey and send to the following:

Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
attn: Scattered Site Rental Property Training
145 W Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
 
Event Location: HCDNNJ Conference Room
145 West Hanover Street
Trenton, NJ  08618
 
Parking and Directions
The session starts promptly at 9:00a on Monday, October 17 and Tuesday, October 18. ; We strongly recommend you arrive by 8:30am as parking is limited; Meter parking is available on the streets adjacent to our office, and there are surface parking lots in the vicinity as well.   DO NOT park in the Network’s parking lot, as these are reserved spots and subject to towing if occupied by non-authorized vehicles.  If you need directions, go to
www.hcdnnj.org and select Click Here to view Agenda

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Mortgage Servicer’s turn to Short Sales

September 8, 2011

Mortgage servicer’s contending with attorney general investigations and extended foreclosure delays turned more to short sales in the past year according to industry reports.

In August 2009, short sales accounted for only 8% of all liquidations of distressed properties. That number grew to 25% by the middle of 2011, according to research from Moody’s Investors Service.

Meanwhile, the time it took from a borrower default to eventual REO liquidation grew from an average 14 months in early 2009 to 24 months by the summer of 2011. Part of the added time was a result of servicers having to halt the foreclosure process in October 2010 to correct forged documents and mishandled foreclosures as part of the robo-signing scandal. New regulations from federal agencies and ongoing negotiations between the state AGs have left servicers turning to an early sale of properties before filing foreclosures. The increased time to foreclose has resulted in higher losses on the eventual sale of those properties.

“To reduce their expenses and mitigate the high loss severity on liquidated loans, servicers are increasingly opting to bypass the foreclosure process and liquidate properties more quickly through a short sale,” Moody’s analysts said.

Researchers at Deutsche Bank said servicers are using the transactions to also cut into the shadow inventory of properties stuck somewhere in the foreclosure process. Standard & Poor’s said the market actually cut into the shadow inventory during the second quarter for the first time since 2009.

Deutsche Bank found short sales actually take less time to complete than REO sales because of the documentation problems.

The average REO took 17 months to sell in the middle of 2011, compared to just under 12 months for short sales completed in that time, according to Deutsche Bank.

Loss severities dropped as well. Servicers experienced a 70% loss rate on REOs sold in the middle of 2011, compared to less than 60% for short sales.

These transactions also do less damage to a borrower’s credit score, dropping it between 50 and 200 points compared to an REO sale, which can slash the FICO score for the borrower as much as 400 points.

Borrowers who manage a short sale can buy a new home between one and two years as well, according to researchers. Those whose homes sell through REO must wait between five and seven.

However, short sales continue to be a struggle as investors often squabble over whether or not to approve the transaction.

“Short sales, like other servicer loss mitigation strategies, may stir a fierce ‘class warfare’ between investors in different parts of the deal capital structure,” Deutsche Bank researchers said.

Moody’s analysts said short sales steadied loss severities over the past year, as foreclosure problems continue to plague the recovery.

“We can attribute the stabilization of average loss severities in part to a rising number of liquidations through short sale, which by reducing liquidation timelines, foreclosure expenses, and legal costs, can reduce the losses incurred on defaulted loans,” Moody’s said.

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