Property Preservation Core Values: Integrity First
By Joe Hummel
I am reminded daily of how many core values are missing in this industry when I walk into a property. Integrity is an important value that should be placed at the top of the list. I am sure most would agree there is a lack of such values these days. I am reminded of the United States Air Force core values that rang loud in my house years ago when my wife recited them over and over, trying to perfect them entering into service; “Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.” Even though I never served in the Air Force, I can say these core values are needed in many industries; especially Property Preservation. These core values are a huge part of my own businesses. I recite them in my head as my wife did to keep focus in these rapidly changing times. Think hard about your own values, and stick by them. I think you are really going to need them to stay in the MFS industry, as the forthcoming changes leave many questioning them, instead of standing by them.
Some may be offended by my next statement, but if that is the case, I am willing to bet our perspectives are driven by differing values. Today, we find that many core values like integrity being replaced by the need for a fast moving dollar bill by quantity. To fulfill this, the dollar must move as quickly as possible through the process to land in the perspective pocket. In that fast travel many details are missed, and errors are created. For those understanding the true processes involved, and the time frames needed to process that dollar, it must be understood the process is much slower than some would like, and needs more attention you may be willing to invest in. I only ask those in the Property Preservation industry; do we need to push our values aside to speed up the money making process? If you don’t have the knowledge to process at the speed required, your values will not save you; rather expedite your out-processing. Knowledge is a key to combat the deficiencies you have with the required speed, but where do you get it? And, once you have it how do you apply it?
I look for others in the industry like me, and I am surprised to see how many there are! Based on all of the OIG reports, and perspective articles I read, we don’t exist, and that is frustrating. We are outweighed by the sea of face paced contractors, drilling locks and boarding windows at record not understanding half of the mission. The numbers speak for themselves in the reports I read, and an article can be created to adjust your perception, but the fact is- the good guy is out there; we are just out numbered. Since we are outnumbered, we must come together to understand the changes that are coming down the line. I think I understand regulation as not necessarily benefitting either side- client or contractor. It benefits the industry, so each side is part of the change, but it’s mutually beneficial for you to understand the motive of the changes, and apply effort to create the management styles needed to adhere to profit retention. If you are not industry educated, you will not win this battle. You will lose. I ask the same question again- Where do you get it? And, once you have it how do you apply it?
Currently, the Property Preservation industry is filled with rules, and regulations complicated with grey areas. When one chooses to join this industry, I hope they understand it’s not as easy as Googling Property Preservation, and ordering some HUD keys. It will be even tougher in the near future. Ask everyone in Maine completing Property Preservation.
I’ve noticed through conversation with many people in property preservation, education is limited and offered everywhere at the same time. The proper understanding of property preservation is practically nonexistent in total course curriculum- anywhere; unless you contract with every national servicer and collect all of their rules. Even though the industry information is masked in a grey areas covered in fog, I can promise there are true regulations to follow, and baseline protocols you MUST understand to be compliant in your state. The problem I see through research is many of your clients do not know the correct rules, or do not offer them up to you. I refer back to core values on this. If this company had any integrity, they would understand they are setting a contractor up for instant failure. Those seeing changes in education material being offered by your client should prove their integrity level. If you haven’t heard a word, or received a memo- you might want to think about that…
Coming together in an industry of uncertainty is a MUST. Your core values are a major part in keeping good business practices. Each person should find their source of support. Some choose to join a membership, some choose to point fingers, and some just don’t care.
I choose to get involved; whether it’s with NAMFS, CubicYard.us, or with an independent contractor. Heck, I go stand on Capitol Hill with a sign if I have to! I have offered my insight to the upper echelon in our industry to affect change; my focus is on education and industry comprehension. The support I have received by many is moving. I will continue to assist companies trying to better their business with awareness, and understanding. I hope to continue to offer advice on the needs of the contractor, but also show the contractor the needs of the client. 9 times out of 10 through conversation- one of them isn’t educated on the information needed to stay in this industry, thus the proverbial wrench is thrown!