Monthly Archives: July 2009

Jacksonville invention keeps eye on vacant property

Jacksonville Business Journal’s staff writer, Christian Conte, reports that a local business owner has an invention for our times: a monitor for foreclosed homes and other vacant properties that will do the job for a fraction of the cost of personal monitoring.

Rich Rollins’ worldwide patent-protected REO Sentinel is a battery-powered device about the size of a smoke detector that can detect water leaks, gas leaks, power outages and takes motion-triggered photographs when a property is entered. The idea is to stop property damage by accident, neglect or by vandals, homeless squatters, gang activity and illicit drug labs. It will be marketed and sold nationwide by a subsidiary of Rollins’ Infusion Technologies, he said.

The REO Sentinel has the potential to save property holders thousands of dollars in damages as well as time and money from having someone monitor the property in person, Rollins said. The device can be monitored on the Internet.

“It’s big for us and it’s big for Jacksonville,” Rollins said.

Designed specifically for residential properties, Rollins said he got the idea for the device when he was approached two years ago by a property inspection and preservation company to develop the device.

Watson Realty Corp. Vice President and Broker Manager Paula Silberberg said that while she would still monitor real-estate-owned, or lender-owned, properties in person, a device such as the REO Sentinel has the potential to help slow a growing problem in the industry.

“I think it’s a very interesting product,” Silberberg said.

Rollins, a resident of Jacksonville since 1996, has invented several products and services for the real estate and mortgage industries, including a bill presentation and payment solution that eventually sold to Fidelity National Financial Inc. (NYSE: FNF). Rollins also owns National Quick Sale, a Web-based company that offers resources to reduce short-sale processing time from 60 days to within a week to 10 days.

When the pilot program for the REO Sentinel is complete, Rollins said he’ll start selling the service, and already has a list of consumers waiting to buy it. He expects to earn $100 million or more in the next 12 months and to add 20 employees to his 90-person staff in Jacksonville and other cities around the nation.

Consumers will be able to lease the REO Sentinel for a $125 installation fee and a monitoring fee of $25 to $39 per month. Rollins expects to sell the service for use in about one-quarter of the estimated 1 million real-estate-owned properties on the market in the United States. The device is removable and can be relocated to different homes.

Another version of the product, OnGuard Sentinel, will be sold to homeowners for use at vacation or second homes. A third version will be sold to construction companies for use at construction sites. Those two products will likely be released later this year or early next year.

In the meantime, Rollins said he is also negotiating with Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM) for a second pilot program for the REO Sentinel and is still refining the device itself so that services like mold detection can be added to what is monitored.

Real estate analyst Ray Rodriguez said there is a growing interest in monitoring real-estate-owned properties, but noted that for many companies, investing in new technologies is not a top priority right now.

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Chrystal Safari’s job? she gives great advice! She is a full-time real estate broker with Peters & Associates, a boutique firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, specializing in luxury homes from $700,000 and up, and is a MASTERS Designee specializing in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology. Visit ChrystalSafari.com for more information on luxury real estate, and Mark it your new Favorite!

Charlotte Market 4th Smallest National Drop

‘Even with the current market downturn, the multi-faceted strength of our market has traditionally been reasonable appreciation, affordability, and transition.  While there are many deeply discounted homes available now in the form of builder inventory and foreclosed homes, our strong market has resulted in great news for most homeowners,’ adds Chrystal Safari, Luxury Home Specialist with Peters & Associates, Incorporated, Charlotte, NC.  

The Charlotte Business Journal reported June 30, 2009, Charlotte-area home prices are down 10% in April from a year earlier. Prices rose 0.5 percent in April from March.

The 10 percent price decline for the past 12 months was the fourth-smallest among the 20 markets tracked by the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Denver had the healthiest market of the 20 cities, with a 4.9 percent drop in home prices from April 2008. Dallas ranked second (down 5 percent). Boston was third (down 7.7 percent). The overall index of the 20 cities saw an 18.1 percent price decline. Phoenix was the weakest market, with a price drop of 35.3 percent, followed by Las Vegas (down 32.2 percent) and San Francisco (down 28 percent).

The index says as of April, average home prices across the United States were at similar levels to what they were in the middle of 2003.

From the peak in the second quarter of 2006, average home prices in the 20 markets are down 32.6 percent. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index tracks sales prices of typical single-family homes in leading metropolitan areas.

Chrystal shares, ‘Affordability is still key.  Many homes at all price points are ready now.  Rates are still great.  There are loan programs out there with 85% Loan to Value, with no MPI.  If you’re in the market for your next owner occupant home or would like to add to your rental/investment portfolio call me.  I’m at your service.’

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Living, playing, and working in south Charlotte for over 27 years, and with over 14 years experience in the real estate field as an investor and Luxury Home Specialist, I have the knowledge, experience and discretion you need to maximize your return on investment whether for your personal home, investment portfolio, or small business property.  Contact me at Chrystal.Safari@gmail.com