Problems getting action on short sales aren’t in the news as much as they were a few years ago but they remain a stumbling block to business and efforts to speed up processing are still needed. Fannie Mae is hoping some changes it launched this week will help it continue a process it started earlier this year to make it easier for you to at least get action on your short sale offers.
Under these changes, Fannie is asking you to submit your short sale offer to it at the same time that you submit it to the company that’s servicing the mortgage. By submitting your offer to the two companies simultaneously, you enable Fannie, if it’s the investor on the mortgage, to start taking some of the steps needed to get the application processed. These steps include ordering an appraisal and broker price opinion and reaching out to the servicer to help keep the processing on track. Also, if the servicer needs Fannie to review the application as the investor, Fannie can start doing that without delay.
Beyond these process changes, the company has added pages of information on its website for the listing agent to help remove much of the guesswork from the process. What are acceptable closing costs? What sellers are eligible for a short sale? What steps are needed to get a recommended list price? And so on.
These steps come on top of changes the company rolled out a few months ago that were centered on the company’s online submission and escalation processes. That escalation process was intended to give you a direct line to the company if you weren’t getting answers from the mortgage servicer.
The changes apply to Fannie Mae loans, and that’s a pretty big part of the market, so if they result in quicker processing, they could have a material impact on the short sale market as whole.
To help you learn more about these and Fannie’s previous short-sale changes, Heather Elias, NAR’s director of social business practice, sat down with Jane Severn of Fannie Mae for a 4-minute video interview. You can access that above. Severn is with Fannie Mae’s credit loss management division.
REOs and other distressed sales make up about a third of the market today on a national basis and NAR’s just-released Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey shows that distressed homes comprise about a quarter of the homes bought for non-primary use.
Against this backdrop, Fannie Mae about a month ago announced that agents working with households buying a Fannie Mae REO must submit the offer online through the company’s HomePath portal. It won’t accept offers any other way.
The good news is that offers can only be submitted by agents. So, households interested in making an offer on an REO property have to contact an agent and work with that person on the submission.
The other good news is that submission is quick and easy because of the all-online process. That means you fill out all the forms online, scan the supporting documents, save them as digital files, and include them in your submission.
Although the process is straight-forward, it’s inevitable that you’ll have a lot of questions. So, we’re hosting the Fannie Mae executives who are overseeing this process for a one-hour webinar on how the submission process works. They’ll walk you through the steps.
They’ll also talk about policy matters that you’ll need to know about, such as their 15-day “first-look” period, which restricts offers from investors on new REO listings. They’ll talk about financing matters, too.
It’s a free webinar and you’ll be directed to an online manual and other materials to make it as easy as possible to master working online. You can imagine that it won’t be too long into the future when many transactons will be done this way.
The webinar is Thursday, April 26, at 3 p.m., Eastern Time. Presenters are Jane Severn, director of new business initiatives for Fannie Mae, and Robin Still, senior strategic planning analyst with the company.
Go to the registration page for the free webinar. To register, you just need to provide a name and e-mail address: Go to the REGISTRATION PAGE now.
If you’re working with a buyer who’s interested in submitting an offer for a Fannie Mae REO, you’ll have to do it online. The secondary mortgage market company last week launched an all-online system for submitting offers on its inventory of foreclosed homes.
Here’s how Fannie describes it on its HomePath website:
“Making an offer to purchase a HomePath property is now quick, easy and entirely online! Beginning February 2, all offers on HomePath properties must be made using the HomePath Online Offer system. If you’re ready to make an offer, just have your real estate professional click the “Make an Offer” button on the property information and follow the instructions.”
Only licensed agents can make offers, so any consumers shopping for a home on Fannie’s HomePath site have to contact an agent first.
If you’re not already registered as an agent with the site, you’ll need to do that, then click the “Make an Offer” button and follow the instructions. You’ll have to be able to scan documents and otherwise be prepared to input information digitally.
Registering with the site so you can submit offers as a selling agent is not the same thing as registering with Fannie Mae as an approved listing agent. That seems obvious, but sometimes it helps to state the obvious to avoid confusion. To become a listing agent for Fannie Mae in your market, you have to submit an application (also an online process) and then go through its proprietary selection process, which requires you to submit information about your practice. Every market is different, but generally the company works with a handful of brokers or agents that it has selected to list its REO properties.
The company says it pays a commission of 2.5 percent to the listing broker, with a $1,000 minimum, and a commission of 3 percent to the selling broker, also with a $1,000 minimum. It says it has some additional selling incentives in some markets.
Fannie gives owner-occupant buyers a 15-day window after a property comes on the market to make an offer without competition from investors. Offers made by investors during that “first-look” period are rejected from the system with instructions to resubmit after the 15-day period ends, if the property isn’t under contract by that time. The offers are not kept in the system and queued up.
Buyers can use any financing they want, including Fannie Mae financing through its two HomePath mortgage programs, one for purchases and one for purchases with renovation. If the buyer is using HomePath financing, Fannie only requires a downpayment of 3 percent, waives the appraisal and also doesn’t require mortgage insurance. Investors can get up to 90 percent financing.
You can learn more about online submissions on the Real Estate Professionals’ page on the HomePath website and click on “HomePath Online Offers Support page.”