After receiving complaints from community members about the affects plywood and boarded-up windows have on property values and neighborhood blight, Howard Wedren wanted to do something to help these individuals.
Tired of seeing the majority of vacant and abandoned properties in local neighborhoods covered with either a plywood or steel type of structure over their windows, Wedren decided to create SecureView, a new product for residential and commercial properties which secures the appearance of a property without exposing its vacancy to onlookers.
SecureView is designed using polycarbonate window covers that have the unique appearance of looking like a normal window. An exclusive video demonstration of SecureView was presented by Wedren to Mortgage Servicing News at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Mortgage Servicing Conference showing that the product has the ability to prevent any break-ins from happening through the windows.
For example, the windows have the capability to not break if an intruder throws a brick towards the product, as the brick will only deflect back towards the street. Wedren said SecureView could be installed on any type of asset, such as shattered manufacturing facilities, public housing units and schools.
So far, the technology has been piloted in Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Columbus, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. Wedren said it is now time for more hard-hit areas affected during this housing crisis to utilize this product.
“SecureView is getting incredible traction from lenders and servicers right now,” Wedren said in an interview.
The Detroit Land Bank secured over 100 properties through SecureView, Wedren said. He told MSN that other servicers have contacted him about installing this technology for their vacant properties, but no deals have been made official yet.
According to Wedren, it takes a vendor about 15 minutes per window to install the SecureView technology on a vacant and abandoned property. The product itself is made from recycled materials and does not require any training for a vendor to learn how to install it.
“It’s a simple process like plywood, but the only difference is that you can’t tell the property is vacant,” Wedren added.
Also, the installation is a one-time occurrence, which helps a servicer avoid multiple cost of reboarding. During the preforeclosure, the product will remain on a unit until final disposition in REO. SecureView is beneficial to install during this stage because it reduces squatting and overall crime in a neighborhood, Wedren said.
After a foreclosure takes place, SecureView helps listing agents sell an asset because it increases marketability due to improved curb appeal, Wedren stated. Another feature of the product is that it allows first responders a clear line of sight into a vacant property and it has the ability to withstand inclement weather, such as a tornado or a hurricane.
One industry executive who is fully endorsing this product called it a “game-changer” that will only help the housing market’s overall recovery efforts.
“Many communities have been complaining that banks are not taking care of their REO properties properly and that the sight of plywood hurts overall property values for their homes,” said Robert Klein, founder and chairman of Valley View, Ohio-based Safeguard Properties. “This product works with city officials to avoid neighborhood blight and keep values high.”