ServiceLink delivers a bundled SFR solution that supports you from title and close to valuations, auction and property inspection.
By Amy Daniel, Senior Vice President, Title & Close
Consumer demand for single-family rental properties continues to climb. Home prices that haven’t yet softened, coupled with relatively high interest rates, has made affordability a top concern among potential homebuyers as they weigh the pros and cons of committing to a 15- or 30-year mortgage. Where these consumers may have qualified to purchase a $500,000 property when interest rates were in the 3.5% range, they’re now looking at a $350,000 price point as interest rates hover around 6.0 or 6.5%. Renting a home is an appealing option when they see how much more house they can get for their money. SFRs also offer a community vibe and the flexibility to move with career opportunities, which clinches the deal for many home seekers.
Investors are, of course, well aware of this growing demand. While their current wait-and-see stance on the market may belie their continued interest in SFR properties, they have simply paused to consider their new strategy in the current market. Behind-the-scenes analyses of values and ROI potential are fueling new strategies for approaching the market, whether through investment in individual properties, build-to-rent communities or both. With an eye on the second quarter and beyond, savvy investors are set to hit the ground running.
Essential to their success is a service partner with the scope, staff, knowledge, experience and technology to help them identify, evaluate and close deals efficiently. If you’re among this group of investors, consider some of the challenges you face in the current market and how having ServiceLink on your team can help you make short work of them.
Navigating the Challenges of the SFR Market
The SFR market moves fast. If you’re not making decisions, clearing issues and closing deals quickly, you’re losing out on opportunities — and long-term profit potential. It takes a team, with boots on the ground in neighborhoods across the country and exceptional expertise behind the scenes, to help you make it all happen.
Imagine these scenarios:
- You find out after making a deal that the rental restrictions on a certain community are stricter than you’d thought. Now you’re saddled with a property you can’t rent.
- You’ve got a lead on a property, but you don’t have the local knowledge or insights about values in that neighborhood to fully evaluate the opportunity. Do you have any assurances that its value will hold over time?
- You want to get a jump on the next big deal and wish you could get the inside scoop on properties or trades coming to market.
- The worst-case scenario – a natural disaster – happens in an area that you are heavily invested in. You are having issues reaching contractors and agents to get eyes on your properties to see what the potential damage is.
In each of these scenarios, ServiceLink can help. Our end-to-end, bundled offering includes not only technology and process solutions to help you gain new efficiencies, but also people across the country who are poised to help with every aspect of SFR investment, from accelerating your entry into new markets, to providing specialized expertise in mortgage processes, to helping you scale.
Title. The first thing to look for in an SFR title partner is someone who’s not afraid to pick up the phone to gain deeper insights into properties from local agents across various communities. Information that’s publicly available isn’t always up to date, so connecting with communities is a vital part of ServiceLink’s review process. We uncover and deliver relevant, accurate information ASAP, recognizing that every minute counts and that these reports are critical to informing your decision-making.
SFR properties that involve non-performing loans or foreclosures require special care, too. In addition to title specialists who are experts in curative processes, ServiceLink has a team dedicated to default properties, who document everything that has transpired with a property and clear out-standing title issues as quickly as possible.
Valuation. You want to act quickly when an opportunity arises, but not so quickly that you end up overpaying for an asset. That’s why, in addition to full appraisals conducted by our national appraiser panel, ServiceLink offers hybrid appraisals, automated valuation models (AVMs), desktop valuations with or without third-party inspections, broker price opinions (BPOs) and other valuation products.
We view each of these from your risk management perspective and provide an independent opinion of value, calling out all the considerations of the property’s condition. When a default property is under assessment, we enlist the specialization of our default appraisal team to ensure the reliability of both as-is and as-repaired values.
Auction. ServiceLink Auction can give you that heads-up, sneak peek into properties coming up for sale at auction so you can be among the first to know. When you sign up with us to receive notifications, we’ll send you reports detailing which properties will be going to auction and when, to give you a leg up on those deals. We can also support you in the disposition of properties, helping you assess available disposition options and make decisions that align with your objectives.
Property inspection and maintenance. Inspections, whether routine or in times of crisis, can bring peace of mind like nothing else. Maybe one of your properties has been vacant for several months and you need visibility into potential damage caused by water leaks or vandalism, for example. Even worse, a natural disaster blows through an area where you own properties, and you have no sense of what condition those properties are in. The national ServiceLink team can deploy seasoned disaster inspectors to go out, examine the property and report back to you so you can determine next steps for making repairs or taking other action.
ServiceLink offers maintenance services as well, providing the day-to-day upkeep services in addition to managing emergency repairs and inspections, to ensure that your properties are well cared for year-round.
Closing. Speed-to-close is a priority with any investment, and you should be able to close wherever it’s most convenient for you, through mobile notaries, local attorneys or eClose services. In addition to providing these options, ServiceLink works as a team to handle the closing through the seamless preparation, review and recording of documents. The closing team immediately alerts the property inspection team that the file just closed, so they can rekey the house, do a vacancy check and manage any other details related to the property. It’s one less thing for you to worry about, and one more way we ensure efficiency to keep you moving forward with your investment priorities.
There’s no doubt that SFR activity is poised to take off at any moment. Being in top form to leverage the emerging investment opportunities requires a service partner who can help you through all the related challenges and nuances. Talk with us about how ServiceLink can support you every step of the way.