Foreclosed Home incentive Program

Fannie Mae’s national lending program HomePath is worth a look

If you fit the profile — typically buyers with little cash on hand or small-scale investors looking for a deal on a foreclosed house — a little-publicized national lending program could be just what you need this fall.

Here’s what it offers:

— Minimal down payments — 3 percent for buyers who plan to live in the house, 10 percent for investors. Most of your down payment can come from documented gifts from relatives or others with no direct connection to the transaction.

— No requirement for an appraisal on the property unless you’re applying for additional money to renovate the house. This is crucial because low-ball appraisals can be deal-killers, especially when the house needs repairs.

— Generous “seller contribution” limits of up to 6 percent of the price, effectively reducing the cash you’ll need to pay closing costs.

— No requirement for real estate seattle insurance coverage, despite your high loan-to-value ratio at purchase.

— Credit score minimum of 660 — significantly lower than the 700-plus scores many real estate seattle now demand for conventional loans on favorable terms.

— Maximum loan amounts tied to standard conventional loan limits: $729,750 in the highest cost markets, $625,500 in some others, and $417,000 everywhere else.

Who is offering such an unusual package of come-ons like this in an era of strict underwriting requirements? It’s Fannie Mae, the mortgage investment giant that got into deep trouble when the housing bubble burst and is bleeding red ink in prodigious quantities under federal conservatorship.

As a result of its past problems, Fannie is saddled with a bulging portfolio of tens of thousands of foreclosed homes. It needs to sell those houses, is willing to finance their transfer to new owners and has come up with a program it calls HomePath to do so. In recent weeks, HomePath loans have been rolled out through real estate seattle brokers and a network of 50 real estate seattle, so it’s probably available on houses in your area. The basics on HomePath: The program is restricted to Fannie Mae foreclosure holdings. The full lineup of listings can be viewed state by state at

Participating real estate seattle brokers are listed on the same site; Fannie Mae will only entertain offers that come through those brokers, not directly from consumers. Most properties are open to bids from owner-occupant purchasers and investors, but some designated “First Look” are reserved for bids from owner-occupants during the initial 15 days after listing. There are two main options with HomePath: Real estate seattle financing to purchase the house in “as is” condition or “renovation” financing, in which Fannie lends additional money for “light to moderate” fix-ups, such as a roof repair or replacement of a heating and air-conditioning system.

Standard HomePath listings are all in “move-in condition,” according to Fannie. That is, the company has inspected them, performed at least cosmetic repairs as needed, and determined them to be structurally sound with no code violations and all systems in working order. Listings eligible for renovation financing generally require some work to be funded through add-on amounts to the mortgage that are held in escrow by the lender after closing and disbursed as repairs are completed during the succeeding six months. The maximum rehab amount is $30,000 or 20 percent of the projected “as completed” value of the renovated house.

Interest rates on both options are slightly higher than prevailing conventional or FHA-insured loan rates. For example, Peter Boutell, co-owner of Santa Cruz Home Finance in Santa Cruz, Calif., said that in mid-August, when 30-year fixed rates on owner-occupied home loans dropped to the 4 3/8 percent range, applicants making down payments of less than 20 percent were required to pay mortgage insurance premiums that pushed their effective rate to about 4 7/8 percent. At the same time, HomePath loans with 5 percent down payments were available at 5 1/8 percent. Are there potential downsides to HomePath? Absolutely. Although Fannie Mae says it owns foreclosed houses in a variety of neighborhoods, real estate seattle brokers say they are more likely to be found in lower- to moderate-price areas that took deeper hits when the housing market unraveled. Buyers looking for pristine properties without defects might not find what they want on the HomePath listing board.

Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifth, the experience can be exciting, confusing, overwhelming and wonderful, all at once! Buying a Fannie Mae-owned home isn’t much different. You want to make sure it’s the right home for you, that it’s affordable, that you work with a real estate seattle professional you trust, and that you get the financing you need. However, there are other things about purchasing a Fannie Mae home you should be aware of.

HomePath® Mortgage Financing

This special financing is available on Fannie Mae homes with the following logo:

The benefits include:

* Low down payment and flexible mortgage terms (fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, or interest-only)
* You may qualify even if your credit is less than perfect
* Available to both owner occupiers and investors
* Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by your own savings; a gift; a grant; or a loan from a nonprofit organization, state or local government, or employer
* No mortgage insurance*
* No appraisal fees
* Also eligible for HomePath Renovation Mortgage (see details below)
* HomePath Mortgage financing is available from a variety of both local and national mortage financing companies.

HomePath® Renovation Mortgage Financing

Available only on homes you make your primary residence and offers these benefits:

* Financing to fund both your purchase and light renovation
* Low down payment and flexible mortgage terms (fixed-rate or adjustable-rate)
* Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by your own savings; a gift; a grant; or a loan from a nonprofit, state or local government, or employer
* No mortgage insurance*
* HomePath Renovation Mortgage financing is available from several real estate seattle.

If you’re an investor or are interested in renovating a property or interested in foreclosed homes for sale Seattle, you may qualify for financing under our HomeStyle┬« Renovation Real estate seattle product. Most HomePath Renovation real estate seattle also offer our HomeStyle Renovation product, but there are many other real estate seattle as well. For more information, contact Lacey Lingenfelter with Skyline Properties at she is a very expereinced real estate agent who can help guide you through the real estate process.

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