Summer Deals on Foreclosures

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Looking for a deal where the home seller pledges, in advance, to contribute potentially thousands of dollars to your closing costs? Check out the summer sale terms available from two of the largest and most motivated sellers of foreclosed homes in the country: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

You may know the companies for their troubled mortgage businesses or the financial foibles that crashed them into the control of the federal conservators in 2008. But, the flip side of those problems is that they now have massive numbers of properties taken back through foreclosures. Fannie Mae had 153,549 of them at the end of the first quarter. Freddie Mac owned 65,174. That's nearly 220,000 houses for which they need to find new owners... quickly... or they'll rack up even bigger losses for taxpayers.

To move that bulging inventory, both companies have begun time-limited sales campaigns with significant incentives for new owner-occupant purchasers (NO investors allowed on these specials). Fannie and Freddie both are offering to pay up to 3.5 percent of the price of the house toward buyers' closing costs. Fannie's program covers properties on which contracts are accepted and close no later than October 31, 2011.  Freddie's sale requires contracts no later than July 31 and closings by September 30, 2011.

Fannie's program even offers mortgage money to help finance these purchases, sometimes with as little as a 3 percent down payment.  The company also has what it calls a "renovation mortgage" option that provides additional mortgage amounts to cover fix-ups. Freddie does not offer special mortgage financing for buyers during the sale period but has other inducements including two year home warranties and 30 percent discounts on appliances.

There is a wide spectrum of foreclosed properties in the Salt Lake City real estate market, from luxury-end homes, low-budget condominiums, suburban homes and town homes.  The summer clearance sales are part of rapidly accelerating efforts by both compaines to get ahead of the tidal waves of foreclosures flowing into their portfolios in recent months. During the first quarter of this year, Fannie Mae acquired 53,549 properties alone.  However, during the same period, it managed to sell off 62,814 houses. A record number that produced a net outflow.

Freddie Mac also sold more foreclosures than it took in during the first quarter, acquiring 24,709 houses while selling 31,628. In some parts of the country, Freddie Mac's offerings are even stimulating multiple bids on houses, according to spokesman Brad German.  Both companies are targeting only buyers who plan to live in the homes, rather than non-occupant investors who want to flip or rent them out, as part of a larger neighborhood real estate stabilization effort.

The contribution of up to 3.5 percent of the sale price toward the buyers' closing costs can be substantial. On a $200,000 house, the buyers could receive $7,000 toward their closing expenses, which might well be the difference between their ability to afford to buy or not. Combine that with additonal incentives, such as favorable financing or warranties, and the total package can look extremely attractive to first time and moderate-income purchasers.

Are there downsides or restrictions for would-be-buyers on either HomePath or HomeSteps?  Yes. Top of the list: Keep in mind that these are foreclosed properties and some of them have been abused by previous owners/occupants. Fannie and Freddie both do repairs to bring houses up to what they believe are marketable standards but don't be surprised to find that they are not in pristine condition.

Second, though foreclosures do generally sell for less than non-distressed houses, you need to understand that both Fannie and Freddie are in the business of maximizing returns on assets for their federal creditors. Do not assume that the listing prices are deep discount giveaways. Be diligent in comparing prices and values before bidding and negotiating, just as you would with any other real-estate purchase.  This is where having a good Realtor on your side, looking out for your best interests, is key to a successful and beneficial transaction.

For more information on Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned properties, contact a member of Linda Secrist and Associates.  We can help you find deals in an area near you.  Salt Lake City real estate, Draper real estate, Sandy real estate, Holladay real estate, Murray real estate, South Jordan real estate, West Jordan real estate, Herriman real estate, Riverton real estate, Park City real estate, Alpine real estate, Bountiful real estate, Farmington real estate and more.



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Comments (1)

Daniel H. Fisher (704) 617-3544 - Charlotte, NC
MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC

It looks like there are some great deals on foreclosed homes in Holladay, UT. In Charlotte, NC, there are similar Fannie Mae Homepath 3% loans and downpayment assistance to 3.5% as well as some great HUD homes for sale in Charlotte NC and SC that are eligible for special $100 down payment financing.

Jun 29, 2011 06:19 AM