Fannie & Freddie Chum for Buyers by Offering Big Incentives...Be Careful!

Written by Posted On Thursday, 27 February 2014 13:22

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering limited-time incentives in a pair of programs for both real estate agents and homebuyers as the two government-taxpayerssponsored enterprises are trying to sell some of their REO properties. Freddie will offer a $1,000 bonus to selling agents and a separate $500 bonus to listing agents when they use the HomeSteps program to sell a Freddie owned property.

Chris Boden, senior vice president of HomeSteps, said he expects the program to jumpstart a housing market slowdown being blamed on winter weather.

“HomeSteps’ 2014 winter sales promotion is focused on firing up sales in ‘cold weather’ states and condominium deals everywhere. With mortgage rates still low and home inventories tightening, the 2014 HomeSteps Winter Sales Promotion is a great opportunity for families ready to buy and real estate agents ready to sell,” Boden said.

Meanwhile, homebuyers may receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance when they purchase a HomePath property in 27 states for Fannie-owned properties.

Jay Ryan, Vice President of REO Sales said:

“This incentive will provide more opportunities for families to find a property to call home,”   “Our goal is to sell as many HomePath properties as possible to owner-occupants who will stabilize neighborhoods and help the housing recovery.”

So in review, FNMA/Freddie:

  • Routinely list properties well above appraised values
  • Strongly encourage buyers (usually first time ones) to use their HomePath mortgage program that DOESN’T require an independent appraisal
  • Will now kick in up to 3.5% of closing costs
  • Will now bonus the agents involved

Is there any concern that:

  • Buyers may have an agent most interested in a quick commission AND bonus, not in their best interest
  • Most of the FNMA listings are priced above appraised value
  • That no independent appraisal is performed when using a HomePath mortgage – which is pushed to the buyer
  • That the additional closing cost incentive is just more bait to hook an uninformed buyer
  • That in the end, this buyer has likely unknowingly paid more than market for the home and may quickly be underwater

This is change and oversight? In five years when the issue of distressed homeowners comes back into focus, who will be blamed?

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Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.

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