California Assn. of Realtors, Fannie Mae launch short sale assistance desk to provide brokers, agents ability to shorten approval time on short sales, assist real estate professionals with post-contract issues

LOS ANGELES , March 31, 2011 (press release) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today announced it has partnered with Fannie Mae on an initiative designed to help REALTORS® quickly resolve issues that may arise after a short sale offer is made on a Fannie Mae-backed loan.

The Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk ("Assistance Desk") provides brokers and agents the ability to significantly shorten the time they have to wait for approval on Fannie Mae short sale transactions and helps real estate professionals with the handling of post-contract issues such as loan servicer responsiveness, the existence of a second lien or issues involving mortgage insurance.

“This initiative marks another important step toward helping homeowners and REALTORS® navigate the complex and difficult short sale process,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce. “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.”

The Assistance Desk leverages relationships between participating MLSs and their members to collect and submit information to Fannie Mae using a dedicated submission form on the MLS website. 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. The Assistance Desk expedites the process so that a real estate professional will receive an initial response within one week confirming that the case has been reviewed.

The C.A.R. implementation is available free of charge to C.A.R. members through California MLSs that have executed the required agreements.

“This initiative complements our overall efforts to encourage troubled borrowers to pursue alternatives to foreclosure,” said Fannie Mae vice president, Marcel Bryar. “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,” said Bryar.

The Short Sale Assistance Desk staff will only accept cases involving properties with a first-lien owned by Fannie Mae, and the servicer must be in receipt of a valid offer for the property. REALTORS® who submit cases must be an MLS member and must be the listing agent for the property, and must obtain a signed Borrower Authorization Form from the homeowner(s). A case may also be submitted to the Assistance Desk if the real estate professional has received an approval from the servicer for the transaction, but either the mortgage insurer or second lien holder has imposed a closing condition that is not possible for the borrower to meet.

Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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