Fannie Mae Launches Distressed Borrower Education Site

August 9, 2010


Fannie Mae launches a borrower-facing outreach site designed to educate distressed homeowners on potential retention strategies and foreclosure alternatives.

The online education resource — available in both English and Spanish — offers calculators to demonstrate to borrowers the mechanics of refinance, repayment, forbearance, and modification options if the borrowers would like to keep their home. In addition, it covers information on Fannie’s Deed-For-Lease program, which allows borrowers to become renters in the same property after pursing deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.

For borrowers who would like to leave their home, the online education resource offers possible options such as, a short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure when you can no longer stay in your home but want to avoid foreclosure.

For borrowers who aren’t sure what the best option is for them, the Options Finder can assist you. By answering some questions, the Options Finder determines which option may be right based on your current situation.

When you need additional assistance, the Resources section offers the following and much more:

Fannie Mae Resources

Review what Fannie Mae is doing to assist homeowners and how they can help you.

Contact your Mortgage Company

Find and contact your mortgage company to discuss your situation.

Helpful Forms

Download forms to help you prepare for (and keep track of) working with your mortgage company or a housing counselor.


Use the calculators to determine which scenario fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Search for helpful answers to some of the most common questions regarding your options.

Take Action – What You Should Do Next

Once you ‘ve learned about options that may be available for your situation, it’s time to take action.

Step 1: Research

Be sure to bookmark the page and print the information on the option(s) that applies best to your situation. You will want to refer to this information when speaking with your mortgage company.

Step 2: Gather

Gather the information shown below. You’ll need this information handy so you can refer to it during your discussion with your mortgage company. Use the Financial Checklist to help get organized and prepared.

  • Your mortgage(s): Loan number, past due notices, monthly statement, etc. for your first mortgage and second mortgage or other liens (if applicable).
  • Your other debts: Copies of bills and monthly statements for all other debts such as credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, utilities, etc.
  • Your income: Paystubs, unemployment benefits letter, alimony, child support, etc. for all borrowers on the mortgage.
  • Your hardship: Explain your situation and any hardship that has affected your income or ability to make your payments, etc.

Step 3: Contact

Contact your mortgage company and ask them about the options that are available for your specific situation. Also ask for the name and/or employee number of the mortgage specialist who is helping you and be sure to give them your up-to-date contact information. Use the Contact Log to keep track of your conversations and follow-up items.

Step 4: Discuss

Make sure you are ready to discuss everything about your current situation—the more the mortgage company understands and the more accurate the information, the more they can help you find the right option.

Step 5: Confirm

Ask them to confirm your current situation to be certain there are no other issues. Make sure you understand the next steps involved and if there is anything you will need to complete for the specific option.

Fannie Mae Relaxes Waiting Period for Buying a New Home After a Short Sale

May 3, 2010


In Announcement SEL-2010-05, Fannie Mae updated several policies regarding the future eligibility of borrowers to obtain a new mortgage loan after experiencing a preforeclosure event (preforeclosure sale, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure).

The “waiting period” – the amount of time that must elapse after the preforeclosure event – is changing and may be dependent on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for the transaction and whether extenuating circumstances contributed to the borrower’s financial hardship (for example, loss of employment). In addition, Fannie Mae is updating the requirements for determining that borrowers have re-established their credit after a significant derogatory credit event.

***Note:  The terms “short sale” and “preforeclosure sale” both referenced in the Announcement have the same meaning – the sale of a property in lieu of a foreclosure, resulting in a payoff of less than the total amount owed, which was pre-approved by the servicer.***

Waiting Period After a Preforeclosure Sale, Short Sale, or Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure

Fannie Mae is changing the required waiting period for a borrower to be eligible for a mortgage loan after a preforeclosure event. The waiting period commences on the completion date of the preforeclosure event, and may vary based on the maximum allowable LTV ratios.

Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements(1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 4 years  2 years – 80% maximum LTV ratios,  4 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios,  7 years – LTV ratios per the Eligibility Matrix
 Short Sale  2 years


Exceptions to Waiting Period for Extenuating Circumstances
Preforeclosure Event Current Waiting Period Requirements New Waiting Period Requirements (1)
 Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure 2 years      Additional requirements apply after 2 years up to 7 years  2 years – 90% maximum LTV ratios
 Short Sale  No exceptions are permitted to the 2-year waiting period

 (1) The maximum LTV ratios permitted are the lesser of the LTV ratios in this table or the maximum LTV ratios for the transaction per the Eligibility Matrix.


The multiple bankruptcy policy is being clarified to state that 2 or more borrowers with individual bankruptcies are not cumulative. For example, if the borrower has one bankruptcy and the co-borrower has one bankruptcy, this is not considered a multiple bankruptcy. The current waiting periods for bankruptcies remain unchanged.

Effective Date

This policy is effective for beginning July 1, 2010.

Requirements for Re-Establishing Credit

The requirements for borrowers to re-establish their credit after a significant derogatory event are also being updated. Fannie Mae is replacing the requirements related to the number of credit references and applicable payment histories with the waiting periods and other criteria.

After a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or preforeclosure or short sale, the borrower’s credit will be considered re-established if all of the following are met:

  • The waiting period and the related requirements are met.
  • The loan meets the minimum credit score requirements based on the parameters of the loan and the established eligibility requirements.

The “Catch”?

Now to qualify after that 2 year period, the new regulations state that a minimum 20% down payment will be required; 10% for a down payment, the wait will revert to the 4 year minimum; less than 10% for a down payment, the wait could be even longer — UNLESS there are “extenuating circumstances” such as job loss, health problems, divorce, etc…

But doesn’t pretty much any short sale by default involve “extenuating circumstances”? Just show them the hardship letter you submitted with your short sale docs. Case closed.

Why This Matters?

So why does this matter, and how should you, as distressed homeowners, USE this information?

Well for starters, if you couple this with the Obama administration’s new short sale assistance program (where mortgage servicing companies are paid $1,000 to handle successful short sales and mortgage holders get $1,500 for signing over their property), you’ve now got more compelling reasons than ever to pursue a short sale rather than just throwing up your hands and “letting things go”.

Freddie Mac Door Knocking Delinquents

October 4, 2009


Freddie Mac has contracted Titanium Solutions, a third-party servicer, to go to the homes of delinquent borrowers to get the missing information and documentation necessary to start three-month long trial repayments under the  Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

“By meeting with our borrowers, one on one, Titanium Solutions can help them overcome the roadblocks keeping them from starting their Home Affordable Modification trial periods,” said Ingrid Beckles, Freddie Mac senior vice president, default asset management.  As a fraud prevention measure, Titanium representatives will not be allowed to accept mortgage payments or any other money from borrowers, Freddie Mac said. Representatives will also carry a copy of the solicitation letter the borrower initially received from their servicer, which contains unique information about the borrower’s loan.

In addition to the door-to-door campaign, Freddie Mac sends representatives to foreclosure mediation events put on by the Treasury Department and has hired Home Retention Services, a subsidiary of Stewart Lender Services, to process the backlog of modification applications from distressed borrowers with Freddie Mac mortgages. Home Retention Services will assess the eligibility of delinquent borrowers with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages for Home Affordable Modifications or other possible workouts and process borrower financial information for the servicers’ review and approval. While the new initiative will supplement the capacity of participating servicers to process loan modifications, Beckles emphasized that “borrowers should continue to call their servicers first to determine the best solution for their situation.”

Potentially eligible borrowers identified by a participating Freddie Mac servicer will receive a letter from Freddie Mac asking them to call Home Retention Services using a proprietary toll-free number. The letters will be specially formatted and include unique borrower PIN numbers to protect borrowers from counterfeits produced by fraud artists.

Home Retention Services will work with the borrower, assess their eligibility for a Home Affordable Modification, complete the documentation and income gathering processes, and advise the borrower of their proposed modified payment. Home Retention Services will forward the completed package to the servicer for final approval. The borrower’s Home Affordable Modification trial period begins once the servicer approves the modification and receives the borrower’s check for the new monthly mortgage amount.

Home Retention Services will also advise borrowers of other Freddie Mac workout options if they don’t qualify for Making Home Affordable.

Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program

July 4, 2009


Money Management International (MMI), the nation’s largest nonprofit credit and debt counseling and education agency, today announced the official launch of their foreclosure prevention program, which has grown from a successful pilot program started in July 2007. With receipt of its second $1 million grant from HSBC-North America, MMI is able to expand its Preserving Homeownership and Savings Education Strategy (PHASES) program.

Utilizing the HSBC funds, the PHASES program provides grants for up to $7,500—an increase from from $5,000 during the pilot phase—to qualified homeowners who are striving to recover from a temporary financial setback. As part of the program, the PHASES team provides one-on-one financial counseling sessions to help keep families in their homes and effectively manage their personal finances.

During the pilot phase of the program, MMI and HSBC helped hundreds of homeowners become current on outstanding mortgage payments and have provided vital financial planning skills to keep consumers on the road to financial stability. The pilot program’s success is evidenced by its receipt of the NeighborWorks America’s 2008 Innovations in Homeownership Contest, for its innovative post-purchase strategy for consumers.

“HSBC is delighted to continue this partnership with MMI to provide the resources families need to keep their homes, and feel more confident about their future path, ” said Tom Detelich, president, Consumer and Mortgage Lending for HSBC Finance Corporation. “We are committed to working with MMI and other top national and local community organizations to provide practical tools to help families make an immediate difference and help plan for the future.”

MMI President and CEO Ivan Hand added, “In its pilot phase, the MMI PHASES program helped more than 200 consumers keep their homes and build stronger financial futures. With HSBC’s support, and the work of our housing counselors, the program was a great success and we’re glad to announce our expanded support for American homeowners.”

The PHASES program is currently available to homeowners in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. To learn more about the MMI PHASES program, call 888-589-6959 or visit

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a national HUD-approved housing counseling agency and nonprofit credit and debt counseling firm. MMI has been helping consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts since 1958. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish.

How to Determine A Short Sale Offer

February 3, 2009


The word “short sale” has certainly been a buzz word in the distressed real estate market we are experiencing now. However, many Realtors and investors are still unclear on how to determine a real estate short sale offer that is acceptable to the lender.

The following steps are to be used as a basic guideline on determining what to offer the lender for a short sale acceptance.

Step 1: Determine Fair Market Value (FMV)

The FMV can be determined by evaluating pending and sold comparable properties in a similar or close proximity to the subject short sale property.

A realtor will have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and can create a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for the subject property. This analysis will identify pending and sold comparable properties with same square footage, bedrooms, baths, garage and other similar characteristics as subject property.

Request the Realtors use a sold time frame within 3-6 months when pulling properties in the immediate or surrounding areas. Usually the short sale lender will not consider any sold comparables that are older than 12 months and that are further away than 2 miles from the location of the subject property.

Step 2: Evaluating Sold Comps Systematically

Contrary to popular and often misguided belief, you can use a formulaic system to work in your favor when determining what to offer on the short sale property. This system has been around for years, but for some reason you may have not heard of it mentioned dealing with real estate. Here is the system. You will use the law of averaging. The way this works is like this.

Let’s say you have 8 sold comparables that are all similar in size, square feet, bedrooms etc. Here is how you apply the formula. You would take out the two highest comps and the two lowest ones and average the rest.


You have a property you think is worth $145,000.

You have a Realtor pull a CMA and you find 8 sold comparable properties that match the criteria above.

The MLS shows the following:

  • $159,000
  • $154,000
  • $153,000
  • $161,000
  • $148,000
  • $143,000
  • $146,000
  • $151,500

Using the formulaic approach you would take out the two highest sold comparables ($159,000 and $161,000). Then take out the two lowest sold comparables ($143,000 and $146,000). This would leave 4 other sold comparables.

  • $154,000
  • $153,000
  • $148,000
  • $151,500

You would then take an average by simply adding up the sum of all the sold comparables and dividing them by the total number of properties left. In this case, that number would be 4.

Total: $606,500 / 4 = $151,625

You can reasonably justify the house may sell for $151,625 instead of the $145,00 you originally estimated.

Step 3: Revealing the After Repair Value (ARV)

This terminology is slang often used with real estate investors. It is similar to the FMV with a few differences made up by the amount of repairs the investor estimates the property needs in order to sell quickly on the open market using FSBO (for sale by owner) techniques and not using the MLS.

It can be argued the ARV is more of a guess or suggested value derived by using sold comparables from houses that were NOT sold by a Realtor.

One way to explain the difference is a realtor will typically use a FMV and a real estate investor may elect to use an ARV. An appraiser can use both value methods, but generally sticks to the ones that come from off the MLS. In my opinion…the ARV is a less accurate and dependable value than what come off the MLS.

Step 4: Figuring Out the Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO)

The BPO  is perhaps the single greatest value factor the lender will use to determine the acceptance of your short sale offer. The BPO is KING!

The BPO is a generalized opinion or value of a property the lender uses to determine what the short sale property is worth on paper. They are ordered by the lender and sent to a Third Party Company, such as BPO Direct, First America, LandSafe, etc. These companies have a list of realtors for each state. The BPO’s are ordered and conducted by a BPO Agent (who is usually a Realtor).

The BPO can be an Interior or Exterior type.

If an Exterior type BPO is conducted, it means the BPO Agent did not go inside the property to evaluate its condition. This could be due to the homeowner vacating the house or not being cooperative with the BPO Agent when requesting a time to come appraise the house.

Dealing with “Pretty House” type short sales (categories later defined), you will find the BPO will typically come in 10-20% lower than FMV or ARV. Based on this, you might consider offering 60% of the ARV or FMV value for your initial purchase offer. Of course, this depends on the amount of repairs needed for the property.

If you have what can be classified as a “Pretty House” short sale, which would show very little needed repairs, don’t expect to get a huge discount from the lender for it. If you cannot JUSTIFY a reason for the lender to accept either a small or large discount … don’t expect them to give one to you.

This also dispels the myth that all houses heading towards foreclosure are good short sale candidates. They are not always.

Here are some classifications and examples to make it easier to determine how much of a loss the lender may agree to accept.

Short Sale Classifications:



Pretty House: Generally in safe, desirable areas and houses selling fairly quickly

ARV/FMV: $100,000
REPAIRS: $5-10,000 (5-10%)
BPO: $80-90,000 (+/- 5%)

Ugly House: Generally a light rehab or fixer-upper, handyman special house in fair neighborhoods

ARV/FMV: $100,000 (With Ugly Houses this number tends to be the “as is” value instead of ARV)
REPAIRS: $11-20,000 (11-20%)
BPO: $80,000 (+/- 5%)

Scary House: Generally in areas that are not desirable, massive repairs needed, lots of crime isn’t uncommon

ARV/FMV: $100,000 (With Scary Houses, this value tends to be the “as is” value instead of ARV)
REPAIRS: $35,000 (21 – 35% +)
BPO: $65,000 (+/- 5-10%)

You can have a Scary House located in a great, fast selling neighborhood and combination of the others, but generally speaking, Scary and Ugly Houses will not be located in excellent neighborhoods. Remember this is a guideline, not an exact science. The BPO Agent will generally consider the “as is” value for both Ugly and Scary Houses.

Now let’s discuss the different loan types the lenders will consider a factor per short sale submission.

Step 5: Learning the Loan Types

When you learn these, you can increase your closing rate for lender accepting your short sale by as much as 50%! Here’s why: if you know more about any property, it provides you better leveraging and ultimately negotiation strategies to target. Not all short sales are created equal.

Conventional Loans

These loans are found all over the place. They provide the most flexibility especially dealing with short sales. Using the $100,000 example, you might start out your offer submitting 60% x 100,000 (FMV) = $60,000… The $60,000 is actually 70% of the BPO Price. However it is very common to see the lender accepting around 80-85% of the BPO price, which would be around $68,000 – $72,250.

This model can fluctuate a little bit, but this is a common average. The BPO (value opinion also considered the PERCEIVED value of the property) to the lender is the MAIN FACTOR. Therefore, in this example, if you thought the BPO was going to come in around $65,000 … You would take 82% of THAT number, which would be $53,300. The lender may very well accept $53,300 based on their perception of the value of the property (their asset).

FHA Loans

I repeat: this is not a scientific grading scale. It is the model used by many short sale investors as a guideline. You can and will have other factors that make you stray from this. If you are dealing with an FHA type loan or any government backed loan, they are going to recoup a set amount if the foreclosure is completed.

For example with FHA loans, the insurer will basically guarantee the lender 82% of an FHA Certified Appraisal amount. Notice, I did not say BPO. For these loans, you will need an FHA Certified Appraisal for the lender to consider in their evaluation process on the property. The BPO will not suffice on these types of loans. You can massage the numbers 1-2%, but 82% is listed in their guidelines.

  • All FHA loans are insured by the federal government
  • As long as the lender follows FHA guidelines, they are guaranteed 82% of the “as is” appraised value
  • FHA loans do not use a BPO. Instead they will require an FHA Certified Appraisal. Use the same techinques on the FHA Certified Appraisal that you would for a typical short sale deal
  • If the debtor is in bankruptcy, no short sale will be approved
  • If the property was used as a rental for more than 12 months, no short sale will be approved
  • If the homeowner does not occupy the property, no short sale will be approved (There can be exceptions to this)
  • The cooperating lender is eligible to receive $1,000 from FHA for performing a short sale
  • Seller MUST fill out FHA specific forms for approval. This will include an Application to Participate and a Homeowners Counseling Certificate, all of which the lender will supply in their FHA Short Sale Packet
  • FHA loans must be at least 30 days past due for short sale consideration
  • The lender is required to give a copy of the appraisal to the homeowner
  • The homeowner can receive up to $1,000 directly from the HUD 1
  • FHA will not go after the homeowner for a deficiency once the short sale is accepted and closed

Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Loans

These type of loans have a guarantee of 88% of the appraised value of the property.

  • Designed for veterans
  • These loans are federally insured
  • VA guarantees the lender at least 88% of the “as is” appraised value
  • A VA appraisal is usually automatically ordered once the debtor becomes 60 days past due
  • The appraisal value can be appealed by the homeowner
  • The VA will work the homeowner and do everything possible for the homeowner to retain VA benefits

Note: Absolutely NO BPOs allowed. All VA loans require certified appraisers to determine value.

Freddie Mac (FDMC) Loans

  • FDMC will not allow the buyer of a short sale property to be anyone but an individual. This means the buyer on the Option Contract (Purchase and Sales Agreement) and HUD 1 CAN NOT be a company, LLC, trustee, or anything of the sort. The purchaser must be an individual name
  • FDMC will almost always require that the property be listed with a realtor, which means they are going to ask for a Listing Agreement. If the offer nets the lender less than 92%, FDMC will require that the property is listed for at least 90 days before approval will be issued
  • The lender has the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 92% or higher. Anything lower than 92% must be approved by FDMC
  • FDMC has a high customer service standard, which means that if the lender is not responsive to your offers, they are going to want to know about it. This creates another point of leverage to get your offer accepted

Fannie Mae (FNMA) Loans

  • FNMA has a high customer service standard. If the lender is not responsive to your offers, they may actually step in and take over the short sale negotiation process
  • The lender has the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 90-92% or higher. Anything lower than 90% must be approved by FNMA
  • FNMA rarely requires that the property be listed with a real estate agent
  • FNMA will allow the lender the authority to approve short sales at a threshold of 90% or higher, but will also allow a heavier discount if needed

For Fannie Mae, Coventional, VA, & FHA short sales:

The buyer can be any entity, company, person or trust (the bank may require written proof of the company or of the trust). Most of the loans that you come across regarding short sales are going to be conventional loans.

Step 6: Memorizing the Minimum Accepted NET Offers (of the BPO or FHA Appraisal)

  • VA = 88%
  • FHA = 82%
  • Freddie Mac (FDMC) = 92%
  • Fannie Mae (FNMA) = 90 – 92%
  • Convential Loans = 80% (no set limit)

IMPORTANT: Understand that these are NET percentages to the bank. If you have your offers padded with things like realtor commissions, closing costs and additional fees, these are NOT to be included in this percentage.

EXAMPLE: The BPO on one of your deals comes in $100,000. Offers that may be accepted based on the above criteria would be:

  • VA = 88% = $88,000
  • FHA = 82% = $82,000
  • Freddie Mac (FDMC) = 92% = $92,000
  • Fannie Mae (FNMA) =  90 – 92% = $90,000 – $92,000

Something else to consider is this: all LOCAL banks, usually the smaller ones, will almost always NOT ALLOW more than a 10%-15% discount off the property depending on the amount of repairs needed to fix. Local banks tend to be more conservative in their approach to discount the property. This is partly due to the network of local affiliates the bank can call to get more than one opinion of repairs needed or value of the subject property.

Step 7: Dealing with Second Mortgages & Junior Liens

If you are dealing with a 2nd mortgage holder, you are basically going to negotiate with them the same way.

You will find that many 2nd mortgage holders will not require as much information to make a decision quickly on discounting their loan amount. They will generally order a BPO or have an appraisal on file. It could be older or current. Make sure and ask about it depending on the numbers you find out dealing with them.

Sometimes a lender will actually tell you a BPO price.

Now before you get all excited and think that is GREAT…think again! Typically, they will LIE to you about the price and actually inflate it. Yeah…I know… you never thought lenders lied, did you? Well…they do…and they do it a lot.

When you are dealing with the 1st mortgage holder, it is not uncommon to find out they will only allow $500 – $1000 towards paying off any 2nd Mortgages, Liens, Judgments etc. All lenders are a little different, but the norm is $1,000.

This is another reason why you will deal with more 2nd position lenders that are willing to take pennies on the dollar to satisfy their loans with the homeowner. In fact, you will often negotiate for 80-90% discounts or get approval for 10-20 cents on the dollar! It can be beneficial if you get the 1st mortage holder to accept a short sale and then present that information to the 2nd mortgage holder IN WRITING! If the 1st mortgage holder is willing to take a hit, where does that leave the 2nd mortgage holder? This can be a powerful negotiation technique.

Remember, any junior lien-holder who is holding an over-leveraged or nearly over-leverage asset (the house) is in a HORRIBLE position. They realize this and if you can build a strong case why it would be in their better interest to discount their holding position rather than risk losing EVERYTHING at the foreclosure auction sale. It will not only generally help them, but it can make you, the investor, a HUGE PILE OF MONEY. Why? You just created equity out of thin air. That is the power of short sale negotiations.

In Closing….

If you take the steps for preparing a short sale offer exactly as shown above and apply them to your real estate short sale business; the sky is the limit for your continued success getting them approved.

*This article was adapted from REI Tips

Fannie Mae Extends Suspension of Foreclosure Sales

January 16, 2009

Foreclosure Sales

In an effort to provide mortgage servicers more time to implement the Streamlined Modification Program (SMP), Fannie Mae will extend the suspension of foreclosure sales and evictions until January 31, 2009. This initiative applies to loans owned or securitized by Fannie Mae.

During the extension, Fannie Mae hopes that attorneys and loan servicers contact borrowers and pursue workout options.

Last November, Fannie Mae announced the SMP and initiated this program on December 15, 2008. The SMP will target distressed homeowners who have missed three payments or more, who own and occupy their primary residence, and who have not filed for bankruptcy. The goal of the program is to keep homeowners in their houses through a combination of reducing the mortgage, interest rate, extending the life of the loan, and possibly even deferring payment on part of the principal –– all with the intention of providing the distressed homeowner with a lower monthly payment.

*This article is courtsey of Josh Cantwell from SREC’s Blog

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