Powering Real-Time Loan Risk Models with a Property Data API

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This article, an interview with James W. Waters, Founder and CEO at Foresight Information Services, originally appeared in the May 2016 Housing News Report newsletter published by ATTOM Data Solutions. For a free subscription to the award-winning Housing News Report, contact christine.stricker@attomdata.com.


What is your elevator pitch for Foresight?

Foresight provides risk mitigation and transaction verification data along with civil and criminal court data and income and social security verification data. We started out with a couple guys and $5,000 in sales in 2011.We are starting to transition from a small business.


How do you and your customers utilize ATTOM Data Solutions?

Mainly we use your API data as a platform for loan risk models. Some of our clients might be a bank or mortgage reseller or businesses that process loans. There are ‘checkboxes’ that compliance departments need to move through to approve a transaction. As part of that risk analysis and compliance piece, foreclosure history – along with other factors – are often a part of that compliance checklist. We present the entire picture of the customer and associated properties. Including lendee bankruptcies, court records, and social security verification.

Some clients also look at the sales history of homes, sale prices, and comparable values. We have many different customers with various risk models. Some of these businesses run 20 or 30 transactions a month – some are in the tens of thousands. The volume adds up.


Why did you decide to use the ATTOM Data API?

You send pro-active emails letting us know about updates, enhancements to your service. People appreciate that and incorporate those changes to make their businesses better. In addition, ATTOM Data Solutions was able to adapt and overcome specific issues. Instead of you saying ‘hey you need to do it this way.’ You were willing to rebuild our stack so it works the way our customers need it rather than stick with the way you built it in the past and have our customers adapt to that.

We eventually decided to move a large chunk of business over to ATTOM Data Solutions from a previous API data provider. We flipped the switch. It’s been good for you and it’s been good for us.


What was your initial experience like with the ATTOM real estate data API?

It started out with some bumps, but it continues very well for our team as well as your team. We had an issue where we had a spike in our usage, which is good for us, but when we see a huge spike in activity providers have to see if there is a breach. We ended up with an account that was shut down temporarily.


What was the response and outcome for that initial challenge?

Your guys worked tirelessly to get us back online to get us back to the workflow that we had been accustomed to for years. What really impressed me was the relationship accountability at the executive level as well as at the account level. We also had your chief data officer working on it. You took care of the issue, your guys worked tirelessly all night, you kept me in the loop. In the morning it didn’t work as planned, but within 10 minutes it was finely tuned.


How did this customer service experience compare with your previous real estate data API provider?

Not even a comparison. It’s sitting on the wing of an aircraft versus sitting in first class. At the end of the day, that was what really convinced me. You rarely have people like me that will write in or call in and say ‘you guys are doing a great job.’

How would you describe your overall experience with ATTOM Data Solutions?

I think you guys are doing a grat job and we’ve certainly enjoyed doing business with you. We are trying to move more business your way because it’s a pleasure to do business with people who are easy to do business with. ATTOM Data Solutions delivers simple changes and complex solutions without having to beg for attention.


Please contact us if you have questions about the underlying data referenced in this article, or would like to have access to that data in the form of custom reports, API or bulk files.

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