Marcia Waters melded her knowledge of being a detective in Lafayette and a broker with Coldwell Banker when she was hired as an investigator for the Colorado Division of Real Estate 5 ½ years.
“The one thing I learned coming from law enforcement, and then working for Coldwell Banker Residential for two years, is that I would not describe myself as a sales person,” Waters said. “Real estate is a very difficult business. I much prefer and enjoy my investigative background. My law enforcement background and my real estate brokerage knowledge were the perfect match for working as an investigator for the Colorado Division of Real Estate.”
Starting on Friday, 39-year-old Waters will take charge as the new director of the division, which is responsible for enforcing regulations pertaining to real estate brokers, appraisers, mortgage brokers and others.
She replaces Erin Toll, who left the office in June, after three months of controversy that included a much-publicized whistle-blowing charge against her former boss, Barbara J. Kelley. Kelley, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, tapped Waters this week as Toll’s replacement.
“I think I am going to be much more moderate than the previous administration,” Waters said in a phone interview late Thursday afternoon. “I think a lot of issues can be resolved through more education, training and sometimes probation.”
She also said that she wants to be more “forward-looking,” when it comes to weeding out the bad apples in the business.
Bad actors need to be stopped in tracks
“I think there is a lot of innovation in the industry, if you have somebody who is inclined to proceed,” with fraud or deceptive practices, she said. “One of my goals is to open up the lines of communications with industry officials, so we can head off that type of behavior in the early stages. We are going to be less reactive and more proactive than we have been in the past.”
One of her goals is to investigate ongoing schemes that are occurring “in 2010, which is different than investigating things that occurred in 2005. The division has some very valuable historical knowledge. But we are now going to focus more on the present than the past. It will be a very difficult transition, but with more open communications with the industry, it will help us a lot.”
Toll, for her part, said many of Waters’ plans sound like a page out of her playbook, although she admitted, “I was never moderate – I was always very aggressive.”
Toll praises Waters
Toll said Waters is extremely qualified for the position.
“I wish her the best,” said Toll, an attorney by trainings, who is now a broker with Perry & Co. “I didn’t hire her, but I promoted her three times. She knows the law really well, coming from a law enforcement background. She was very good at what she did.”
Waters already has been very visible in real estate circles. She just spoke to the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association and next week is addressing the Colorado Realtors Association.
One area she is bracing for is an increase in complaints against appraisers, because of changes mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and new truth-in-lending requirements.
Appraiser complaints expected to rise
For example, loan originators are now considered “settlement service providers,” and if they see problems with appraisals – such as data not being properly collected or analyzed – they are required to file a complaint with the division’s real estate appraisal board. That is also true about real estate brokers and title companies that see problems with appraisals, she said
“I think we are going to see an increase in complaints against appraisers,” she said. Indeed, her stuff currently is authorized at slightly more than 50 full-time employees, but she said it is possible they will need more investigators to deal with the expected increase in appraisal complaints.
She also said it is possible her office could become involved in the recent flap regarding big banks such as Bank of America using “robo-signing” of documents, instead of reviewing them, which led to Bank of America temporarily halting foreclosures. Other lenders also are taking similar steps.
“It would depends if it gets down the level of the licensees that we regulate,” Waters said. “If some of the problems involved mortgage loan originators that were involved with applications that did not accurately reflect loans being made in line with borrower’s assets and earnings, it is possible we could get involved.”
Waters is a Colorado native who graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in sociology, with a focus on criminal justice.
Investigated wide-range of crimes
She served on the Lafayette police department for eight years, first as a patrol officer and then a detective.
The range of crimes she investigated included home invasions, burglaries, child abuse, adult sexual abuse, attempted murder “and one homicide toward the end of my career. I was not the lead detective on that case, but I did a lot with search warrants to gather evidence. I did a lot of writing of search warrants.”
When not at work, she tries to spend as much time with her two boys, who are 6 and 8 years old.
She still lives in the Boulder area, and commutes downtown Denver with her husband, a para-legal.
“It helps with our commute, because we can use the HOV lane,” she noted.
Skiing not her thing
One thing that does surprise people is that despite being a Colorado native, she doesn’t ski.
“I am always embarrassed to tell people that I have never skied,” Waters said. “Slapping two pieces of wood on my feet and sliding down the side of a mountain, for me, does is not a good idea. For me, I know it would be a recipe for disaster.”
But she hopes that she can help homeowners avoid potential disaster by following the fall-line of legislation and preemptive strikes against those planning schemes to commit fraud.
“I think it is going to be exciting.”
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com.< class="related_post_title">Related Posts:>