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Fannie Mae foreclosure incentives: take a second look at First Look™

(Housing News) Fannie Mae is offering incentives on foreclosures, and while many homeowners are unaware, many agents are as well – time to take a second look at First Look™.



foreclosures fannie mae first look

foreclosures fannie mae first look

Fannie Mae Offers Incentives on Foreclosures

Fannie Mae is now offering an incentive to buyers who write an offer on a Fannie Mae property during the First Look™ period. According to the HomePath® website, “A foreclosed property can represent a great opportunity and a good value—but a HomePath® property can offer even more.”

The “even more” that the website refers to is the opportunity for owner-occupant buyers to receive closing cost assistance, and also take advantage of the special financing opportunities associated with obtaining a HomePath® loan.

Terms and Conditions Apply

Fannie Mae is offering up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance to buyers who plan to occupy the home and who write an offer on one of their foreclosures prior to March 31, 2014. The other conditions are as follows:

  • The transaction must close on or before May 31, 2014.
  • The closing costs must be requested when the offer is written.
  • The buyer must use the property as a primary residence or the buyer must be a public entity.
  • Only properties in certain states are eligible.
  • The offer must be made during the First Look™ period (a period of time “created to promote homeownership and contribute to neighborhood stabilization” when the property is only available for purchase to buyers that plan to occupy it as their primary residence).
  • Other the additional terms and conditions are detailed here.

Take a Second Look at the Program

Almost exactly a year after I reported that Fannie Mae was being accused of forcing borrowers into foreclosure, I’ve just come across the announcement about this new program, which started on Valentine’s Day.

Over the last 12–18 months, short sales on Fannie Mae properties have not been easy. Valuations have come back exceedingly high, and negotiations to prove to Fannie Mae and servicers that their values are not aligned with market value have been challenging. With challenges in convincing Fannie Mae to agree to approve a short sale at market value, many additional Fannie Mae properties have ended up in foreclosure.

Last February, many people accused Fannie Mae of intentionally overvaluing their properties. As a foreclosure, Fannie Mae can list the property above the current market value, and seek buyers willing to obtain a HomePath® loan.

With the Fannie Mae HomePath® loan, no appraisal is required. With no appraisal, the buyer could pay 10% or even 20% over market value. Ironically, of course, the new owner of the Fannie Mae REO now owns a property purchased for more than market value; the owner is now underwater like the short sale seller that couldn’t get his short sale approved just a few months before.

Between the HomePath® loan with no appraisal and the 3.5% of closing cost incentive available, it seems less than amusing that the same Fannie Mae that promotes homeownership and neighborhood stabilization is dangling this carrot in front of homebuyers. As for me, I’d say that writing an offer on a Fannie Mae property during the First Look™ period might deserve a second look.

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.

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  1. Konrad Young

    February 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    This is an excellent opportunity for home buyers. Don’t miss out, contact a Realtor and get your deal closed by May.

  2. tallgirl1952

    March 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Oh ever so right on. Pulling in buyers by offering close costs and no appraisal needed financing on overpriced listings. Then also not honestly negotiating short sales. Fannie Mae has got to go.

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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