Category Archives: Fannie Mae

Not all bank owned properties are created equal….


During 2010 and 2011  most of my work was as a buyers agent for REO’s or bank owned properties…..  One would think they are all the same but they are not…..I know HUD does not like to be considered REO or bank owned by for the purposes of this comparison I will include them in the description.   Bank owned property is property that the bank foreclosed on or took in leiu of foreclosure.   The bank  owns the property and wants it off the books… They often sell at a discount.  More importantly not all bank owned properties are created equal…..

So what types of properties are there?  The are HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, OCWEN, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, IFHA,  Chase…… You get the picture….. Every different bank or entity has a different procedure…Perhaps different areas are different.  I work in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and I serve Ada, Canyon and Boise counties….

It used to be that bank owned properties were typically trashed.  No one would bother to go clean them up.  There would be trash, dog pee, weeds, etc.  This is rarer (except for HUD listings).  Many bank are willing to put money into the listing to sell them quickly and at a higher price.  This is nice for us because we have better homes to show are clients….

First we will start with the government and quasi- government foreclosures…. These include HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and some OCWEN (VA)…. It probably also included rural development but I haven’t worked with those so I wont discuss them.  The really cool thing about HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is they have a owner occupied period for bids.  That means that if you are looking for someone planning to live in the home they have the opportunity to bid and be considered before anyone else.   This is very important because investors often have cash and look better on paper.  It allows people to own the American dream for less… In my area most of these homes that are nice sell before the owner occupied period is up.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

HUD is part of the federal government…. They make the rules for everyone else but they do not play by those rules… What you see is what you get.  HUD homes are never fixed (at least in my area)…. They wont even fix the property enough to test the systems… Not only that you are not allowed to fix anything either.   This can be very inconvenient.  The homes are listed on the multiple listing service and www.hudhomestore.com.  Your HUD qualified  agent (ME) enters bid.  You have no idea what the others have bid are.  There is no contract (until your bid is accepted).  That is the easy part.  If you are successful with your bid the fun starts.  Your agent writes the contract and has to get their broker and the lender to sign it.   Then the agent has to express mail it and beat the time deadlines.  Any mistakes and HUD threatens and sometimes do cancel the deal.   Most of these homes can have FHA loans because the government did the inspection and appraisal.  If you bid for more then the appraisal you have to pay the difference in cash.  It is usually possible to get 203K loans on these too. They are often a good value but do not  show very well since the government is not willing to make them nice.  It doesn’t matter what the lender requires.  The inspection is either a go or no go….You the buyer have to turn on all the utilities at your expense and then re-winterize the home… Not very fair..We real estate agent used to get an extra 2 % in the Treasure Valley but no more….  It sort of made it worth the hassle.  These homes sales are ulcer producing…. That said I have closed every HUD home that I put under contract.  If anything ever makes me into a Republican it will be dealing with HUD foreclosures… I have gone to my Republican Congressman twice on HUD problems….  This is the same Congressman I ran against in 2008. By the way I am not allowed to use the words distressed, bank owned, REO, foreclosed when describing a HUD property…. HUD thinks these words have a negative connotation.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

Now we will take a detour and talk about the bidding process on most of the rest of the bank owned properties.  The real estate agent writes the offer on the normal real estate form… I find I can almost always get 3% closing costs but I cant always get price reductions on REO property.   You must have either proof of funds or pre-approval.  The earnest money often has to be a cashiers check (usually for at least $1000).  I often bid with a personal check that will get converted into a cashiers check when I know the title company.  The seller always chooses the title company and often the earnest money is held by the title company or the listing broker.  That is not typical in the Treasure Valley.  If there are multiple offers you asked to submit your highest and best… Your buyer also has to sign a form acknowledging that they are in a multiple offer situation.   If your bid is accepted the bank will send a huge addendum which basically negates the original purchase and sale agreement.  It is a form written in favor of the bank but if you don’t sign it you don’t get the home.  The bank will tell you they wont fix things but they will often do so if the lender requires the fix.   I have even gotten the banks to concede on price for cash deals if the inspection is bad.  You must have an agent that is very confident when dealing with the banks.  These deals require around 2 extra weeks because the the time it takes to get the seller signatures and a the time at the end for the REO bank to approve the HUD-1.  The other thing about these deals is that the buyer signs everything before the seller signs anything.  This means that you can’t have the home inspection until you have seller signatures on the addendum and the sales contract.  If there is a hang up and there are lender required repairs that will also slow down the sale since it has to go to a higher level of management for approval.  Mostly these sales will progress like a normal non-distressed sale.  Not all bank owned properties are created equal

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-government agencies.  They are backed by the federal government.  Lately Fannie and Freddie are willing to fix a house up in order to sell them.  They sometimes paint, carpet and fix things so the buyer will bid.  There is usually a 15 day first look program for the owner occupied buyers.  They are usually well priced and show better then their HUD counterparts.  Because of the owner occupied first look program they are ideal candidates for owner occupied buyers…. Fannie Mae has a Homepath financing avenue.  This is a 3% owner occupied and 10% investor down rate.  There are fees that are high but there is no private mortgage insurance.  There is also no need for appraisal… Make sure your agent does a market analysis and listen carefully to your inspector.   Freddie Mac’s gimmick is that they give a free 2 year home warranty for owner occupied dwellings.  These will proceed like a normal sale once it is started. My favorite REO’s might be Fannie and Freddie’s.   Not all bank owned properties are created equal.

Wells Fargo and Bank of America both have the annoying feature that you must prequalify with their bank to submit a bid unless you are a cash buyer.  It adds a day to the process and they will offer some incentives for going with their bank but be forewarned these are big banks and they tend to delay closings….  The asset managers do not seem to talk to the mortgage department so being with the same bank doesn’t get the loan closed any quicker.  I also wonder about a conflict of interest.  I had a case where closing was delayed by more than a week because B of A mortgage department wouldn’t put out the closing docs with less then 3 days before closing and the assest manager didn’t want to extend the contract…. My buyer almost pulled out.  These banks are good to take your investor too.  There is no owner occupied period.   Not all bank owned properties are created equal

The other banks will have different quirks.  Small banks work faster at getting the deal done.  IFHA in Idaho is particularly good to work with.  These homes sell and they sell fairly easily.  The buyer usually gets a good price for their new property.

So I hope this helps with understanding some of the differences with different bank owned properties.   If you happen to be in the Treasure Valley of Idaho and want to buy a bank owned property contact Debbie Holmes.  I will get you the best possible deal and I have a lot of experience dealing with different banks.  Because you now know just like me …. Not all bank owned properties are created equal!

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Why I sell HUD HOMES…MORE OF AN ESSAY..


Over the years I have been the buyers agent for several homes in the Treasure Valley.  The first thing you want to do is make sure your broker has signed the agency up to sell HUD homes.  The first time I sold a HUD home I had to refer my client out and lose a significant portion of my commission check.   It also makes the deal stranger since you know all the in and outs of the deal and the other agent doesn’t.  Talk to your broker or the office manager and ask for the HUD number and check to make sure it is active.  It needs to be renewed every year.  Being the government your brokerage will not get any notice when it needs to be done….

HUD  homes are government owned homes that have been foreclosed on but the government has insured them when to original loan was taken out..  OH no !  Unfortunately I just broke some rules about selling or talking about HUD homes.  We are not allowed to use the words repossessed, REO, distressed, foreclosed when describing these homes because HUD feels that these words have negative connotations  .  We now have to use the words HUD owned.  This also means that the Intermountain multiple listing service had to add a separate category called HUD homes.  This is very annoying because it one more parameter you have to search for.

Now those of you who no me know that I am a rare breed.  I am a Democrat in Idaho who has run for Congress.  If anything ever turns me into a person who thinks the government is malevolent it will be selling HUD homes.  HUD makes the rules for everyone else but does not seem to feel the need to follow them.  Someday I will blog about this….. They will not fix things (even things to inspect the property).  They set their own timelines that are difficult for the loan officers.   They make you rush for brokers signatures and make you send docs in expensive Fedex packages.  When you make a mistake they threaten to cancel the contract.  The mistake can be forgetting to get an initial.  I must admit to being paranoid by now.  To my credit the contract that I have pending was perfect the first time.  You have to be on top of things and be your buyers advocate.

So obviously I do not like HUD or selling HUD homes….  Why do I do it?  Because it gives my buyers a chance to get into the housing market with FHA loans.  Also HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac all have a home owner first look programs.  That means that my buyers are only competing against fellow owner occupants and not investors.  This is a huge advantage to first time home buyers. HUD homes are also often competitively priced with FHA financing (for insurable property). HUD bidding is easy and everything else will seem harder then it needs.  I work for my buyers and not my comfort.  It is important to me that my buyers get a home that  works for them and I am willing to work hard and make my loan officers to work hard to make this happen.

I truly believe that part of the American Dream is to own your own home.  It makes us as individuals, the community and our country stronger.   Part of helping my clients achieve this dream is to offer them as many homes available in my community.