Fannie Mae Servicing Announcement
In June of this year, Fannie Mae made a Servicing Guide Announcement SVC-2013-13 in which some of their policies with regard to short sale and Mortgage Release™ (the latter being their term for deed-in-lieu of foreclosure) were clarified. On the surface, the Announcement appeared to add another layer of guidelines for mortgage servicers. However, there was one component of the announcement that seemed to get under the skin of many short sale listing agents across the country.
The Fannie Mae Announcement discusses minimum lengths of time in which a property should be offered for sale on the Multiple Listing Service. Here’s what the Announcement says with respect to Multiple Listing Service Requirements:
On or after August 1, 2013, all properties being considered for a standard short sale/HAFA II must be listed with an active status on a multiple listing service (MLS) for a minimum of five consecutive calendar days, including one weekend (i.e., Saturday and Sunday), prior to the servicer submitting the standard short sale/HAFA II recommendation to Fannie Mae for review, or approving the standard short sale/HAFA II.
The property must be listed on the applicable MLS, which covers the geographic area in which the property is located and a printed copy of the property’s MLS listing must be kept on file. If a property is located in an area that is not covered by an MLS, the property must be advertised in a manner customary for that real estate market for at least five consecutive calendar days, including one weekend.
Why Short Sale Agents Object
While I’m not entirely clear about the source of the listing agent drama, it seems to be that listing agents are objecting to one of two things:
- They are objecting to a 5-day MLS listing requirement. Such a requirement would mean that short sale listing agents must put all of their Fannie Mae short sale properties on the MLS for a minimum of five days (which includes one weekend). Note that if an agent puts a listing on the MLS, it usually takes a minimum of one or two days (even in the most efficient seller’s market) in order to receive an offer, and another day or two to present the offer and negotiate all of the terms and conditions.Any listing agent worth his salt would try to open up the home to multiple offers in order to attempt to get the highest and/or the best offer for the seller that s/he represents. So, the five-day period seems like a non-issue to me. However, if the listing is a pocket listing which the agent plans to sell himself, then the short sale listing agent might not like this new requirement.
- They are objecting to Fannie Mae imposing rules on how the property is marketed to the public. Lots of agents may be concerned with the fact that Fannie Mae is imposing a layer of rules about how a property is marketed when Fannie Mae does not own the property. Real estate agents are fiduciaries of the seller and not fiduciaries of the short sale lender, so is it right for the short sale lender to dictate how a property is marketed?
One of the largest problems associated with short sales has always been that the short sale lenders have attempted to rule the roost. Short Sale lenders have always expected the short sale buyers and sellers to agree to many of the (often ludicrous) terms and conditions required by the short sale lender. That being said, when you are a short sale seller looking to offload a humongous debt with no further consequences to you, sometimes you need to jump through a few hoops in order to do so.
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, SelfStorage.com 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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, Realtor.com, 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 Realtor.com’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
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