You are wrong about the REST Report... and about me. I've worked essentially 7 days a week for two and a half years, and long days at that writing 500 articles... and not short articles by the way... all of which were written to help homeowners in one way or the other. Its been a huge personal sacrifice and I wouldn't do it again.
I make no money on my blog, I do not allow advertising, and I've never been paid a nickel for referring anyone anywhere, nor have I ever been paid by a homeowner for anything.
Also, I don't sell REST Reports. When the people behind REST came to me, they were able to prove that they were not offering a toy or a scam, but something that could help homeowners push back to get their loans modified. I agreed to tell the lawyers I knew about the REST platform and help them learn to use the system.
I made no money for doing this for the first year. After that, I agreed to start receiving a very small amount on each report from REST... a very, very small amount, especially when you consider the time involved.
Now, let me be very clear about when the REST Report can help get a loan modified or why I say I would use it. The REST Report shows a homeowner all of the numbers involved in the servicer's decision to modify or foreclose. It shows, not just whether the homeowner should pass the NPV, but also the actual numbers down to the penny.
When a homeowner gets denied by the servicer, he or she can use the REST Report to push back... first by asking to see the inputs the bank used to run the NPV test to make sure there were no data entry errors, which there almost always are. And next to make sure that the bank isn't valuing the home incorrectly, which they often do.
That's all the REST Report is for... to provide the homeowner with the details behind the decision. It shows whether the investor would make more money modifying or foreclosing.
I've just presented the REST Report to members of the Hawaii legislature, and am taking it to Ohio, Nevada and Florida as well. I think there's no question that if the REST Report were used in state mediation programs... those programs would work much more effectively... and I'm proposing the states test the effectiveness of the reports on that process, because every time its been used to-date in mediation, the outcome has favored the borrower.
Now, I don't allow anyone to use testimonials to market the REST Report because it would be deceptive. Just because someone used a REST Report and got their loan modified doesn't mean anyone else will do the same, or that it was the report that did the trick. Each loan modification is unique... one has no bearing on another and servicers are inconsistent as hell.
And when someone asks me what percentage of REST Reports get loan modifications I always answer: 0%, because REST Reports don't get loans modified, people get loans modified.
Can you try to get your loan modified without a REST Report... of course you can and 99.9% of people do just that every day. But it sucks... the process sucks... the servicers suck... the government doesn't care one way or the other and neither do the courts. The only consistent thing about trying to get a loan modified is that it's consistently horrific... and that no one cares.
Now, consider this... I've talked to more people trying to get loans modified all over the country than perhaps anyone... I don't really know... but probably more than any other single person. I hear from at least 15 homeowners a day and I take calls into the night. And I talk to lawyers trying to help homeowners save homes every single day for the last 2.5 years, except maybe Christmas one year and on a couple of vacations, although few and far between.
I've certainly seen what doesn't work. I've seen the horrors that the banks and governments have caused and continue to allow to happen. And I've seen hundreds of homeowners use the REST Report and have a better time of it, or use the report and turn things around at the last minute... and all sorts of other positive outcomes. Lawyers who have experience using the report also say that it makes the process better... not perfect... nothing close... just better.
The problem with the reports is their cost is much more than I thought it would be, most law firms charge about $700-$800... but it's not the reports that cost that much, it's the time involved in working with a homeowner to get the report run and then going over it with the homeowner so he or she will understand what it shows and how to use it.
Everyone I've asked I hear that it takes 3-4 hours and often times longer than that, and the volume is very low. A law firm might run a dozen reports in a month, most less than that, and only one or two do more. No one is getting rich running REST Reports.
I'm talking to the state mediation programs and it looks like a couple of state programs will test the reports, so hopefully that will make them available to homeowners without the cost or at a lower cost.
Last thing I want to say... I totally understand that there's just so much scammy crap out there targeting homeowners that its impossible to know what's what, (that's why I stopped writing about the reports last year and started talking to others like state programs.) And I also understand that homeowners have every right to be more than angry at the whole situation... every single aspect of it.
So, I understand why it's easy to lump me into some group of war profiteers if you don't know me from Adam. But, I've done everything I've done to try to stop this nightmare and help people get through it. I've made a difference however small, and I've spent my own money doing it... ask my wife, I'll put you in touch anytime.
Every time I want to quit, I get emails from homeowners thanking me for what I'm doing so I keep going day after day... it's not easy, in fact it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I hope every day that I'm doing the right things and as much as I can to continue the fight because it's not going to be over for a long time and we need more people engaged in the battle. If you don't think that's true, then just wait... I'm quite sure that I'll seem smarter every year.
And I'm easy to reach and easy to talk to, so if anyone wants to discuss anything about the crisis or the reports... or anything else for that matter... they are totally welcome to get in touch. I've said that before and yet it seems that the people that want to call me a scammer or whatever don't want to talk to me... I think they like having their opinions and don't want to hear the boring truth.
Consider this... I think everyone knows that I have a lot of readers and have certainly had millions over the last two years. So, why not sell advertising on my site? Why not get into the biz and sell something? Does anyone think that someone would devote the time to write 500 in-depth articles just to get someone to run a report, but then not sell advertising or anything else for that matter?
Do you know how much work it is to write 500 articles... many of which are long, in-depth articles? And by the way, writing long articles isn't exactly a traffic builder... the "rule" of blogging is to write "short posts." Don't you think there are easier ways to "sell reports" if that's what I was trying to do? Click though the archives and read a few things from months or years ago... I don't think one can "lie" through 500 articles.
Anyway, I've gone on too long already... it's tragic what has gone on in this country and I fear it will get a lot worse before it gets better. I wish I could have done more to make the REST Report more available and less costly two years ago... then again, maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway... who knows.
So, read my column... or don't... I certainly can't stop people from saying on-line whatever they're going to say about me. I've come to realize that being well known means that a few people are going to attack you no matter what. It sucks... but it is the price of putting yourself out there and not being anonymous, I suppose. And I guess I'm happier to have tried and made some difference than i would be at home yelling at my television set.