My Take: More evidence that the industry is trying to improve the short sale process and make it more efficient. I consider this only a small step in the right direction, but a good one nonetheless. We'll have to wait and see how effective the "Assistance Desk" really is.
California Realtors and Fannie Mae Launch Effort to Expedite Short Sales
04/01/2011 By: Heather Hill Cernoch
The California Association of Realtors (CAR) has partnered with Fannie Mae on an initiative designed to help Realtors resolve issues that arise after a short sale offer is made on a Fannie Mae-backed loan.
The effort centers around technology from the GSE, the Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk, which provides brokers and agents the ability to shorten the waiting period for approval on Fannie Mae short sale transactions.
It also assists real estate professionals with post-contract issues, such as loan servicer responsiveness, the existence of a second lien, or problems involving mortgage insurance.
"This initiative marks another important step toward helping homeowners and Realtors navigate the complex and difficult short sale process," said Beth L. Peerce, CAR president. "The Assistance Desk will expedite a timely resolution of short sales transactions, eliminating the long approval delays Realtors often cite as problematic with short sales."
Available free of charge to CAR members through California multiple listing services (MLSs) that have executed the required agreements, the Assistance Desk leverages relationships between participating MLSs and their members to collect and submit information to Fannie Mae using a submission form on the MLS site.
Participating MLSs also provide Fannie Mae with data to improve property valuations, which can help lenders in making quicker approval decisions on short sale requests. It accelerates the process, so a real estate professional will receive an initial response within one week confirming the case was reviewed.
"This initiative complements our overall efforts to encourage troubled borrowers to pursue alternatives to foreclosure," said Marcel Bryar, Fannie Mae VP.
"We expect real estate professionals to first make a reasonable effort to resolve issues by working through the servicer, but the Assistance Desk staff will help in the event the servicer has not provided an initial response within 20 days, a final property valuation within 30 days, or a final decision or specific direction to facilitate a decision within 60 days from the original offer submission date," Bryar explained.
The Assistance Desk staff accepts cases involving properties with a first-lien owned by Fannie Mae, and the servicer must have a valid offer for the property. A participating Realtor must be an MLS member and listing agent for the property and must obtain a signed Borrower Authorization Form from the homeowner.