I've prepared this blog with the hope that it will educate and streamline the process for First Time FHA Buyers and their agents when writing offers on Fannie Mae REO's; of which we should see a large supply in the near future.
Our market has changed and is not a traditional market any longer. As Realtors/Brokers & buyer's we all must adjust. Adjust to the fact that FANNIE Mae’s reo RPA supercedes all State RPAs (Residential Purchase Agreements). Fannie is also exempt from normal closing cost that a seller would be required to pay, Such as Title, Escrow, City/County X-Fer Taxes.
1). So what does this mean to you as the buyer or buyers agent? It means you cannot assume that Fannie is going to pay for it even if you put it in your state RPA. You have to ask for it to be paid, and expect that total amount to be included as a portion of the total max of closing cost that the seller, Fannie will pay.
It's an art to writing the perfect offer; however what is more of an art and much needed in this market, is educating your buyers. Sellers normally take the best offer, and Fannie Mae is no different. The best offer may not always be the highest offer and I have seen a lot of this lately. Buyers and their agents often question or wonder why their higher priced offer are rejected and lower offers accepted by the banks. The pecking order is CASH (We all know is King), Conventional, FHA, and Then VA. Why? It doesn't take rocket scientist to figure this out. We all know cash offers can usually close in 15 days and they are less likely to fall out. Conventional buyers usually have more money to put down and the lender guidelines/requirements for financing aren't deal breakers. FHA, less money down, and lender required repairs could be deal a breaker for a seller selling a property AS IS. VA, will just multiply FHA x 2 or 3 with no money down... If you were selling your property, what would your pecking order be in a declining, unstable market? Time is money, and if a property is tied up for 30-60, 90 days and falls out of escrow, a lot of money is loss. These days the banks are currently in the business of minimizing losses. We may see this change in an appreciating market, but not in a declining unstable market.
2) So does this mean that FHA buyers won't get a chance to buy Fannie REO's at or near Rock Bottom Prices?
No absolutely not. It means that buyers agents have to put together solid offers. Writing a contract 10 to 15K over list price on a Fannie Mae REO so that closing cost can be paid by the seller is an example of a poor offer, (Agents are u looking at comps when u do this, is this really in the best interest for your buyers?) Every Fannie Mae REO property has an extensive Broker Price Opinion (BPO) also know as a CMA, completed the listing agent as well as an appraisal. When the price is set, they are well aware of the value a property will appraise. Fannie Mae is also provided a monthly marketing update in which they are given statics to support lowing, increasing or mainting list price of the property. Writing an offer over the appraised value means the FHA deal is more likely to fall out should the appraisal come in low.
When you see HomePath Financing! That’s a good thing it means the property will not have to be appraised (Fannie Has an Appraisal On File) and can be sold at list / offer price should you come to terms; however you have to use an approved Home Path Lender. A good way to go should this opportunity present itself.
3) How do I present my best offer the First Time?
Buyer's make sure you are Pre-Approved (preferably an institutional lender) Not Pre qualified. It’s also a good idea to show good faith by putting down a healthy Earnest Money Deposit (EMD). $1000.00 deposit with 3.5% down on a 150K is a poor example. I would recommend $2,500 to $5,000 if you want your offer to appear strong. When you read a RPA you can tell a lot about a buyer by their EMD. Cash offers are required to put 10% down as a EMD. As an REO listing agent I can only present to my client what you give me.
If your a buyer or buyers agent that is doing FHA financing because you don't want to exhaust your savings account, show me!! Along with your offer and EMD your agent should be also including POF in your accounts. If you don’t tell me this I have no way of expressing or showing my client why your offer is just as strong as the next or maybe even better!! By doing this you increase your chances of direct competition with conventional offers, and you make it easy to select the best FHA offer.
In closing I have just a few words of advice for agents writing offers.
If listing agent instructions say preferred method to submit an offer is via Email. DO IT (In the subject line Enter Property Street & Buyers last name)
Stack your Fannie offer as follows prior to emailing
1) PRE APPROVAL LETTER
2) EMD OR POF
3) STATE CONRTACT
4) FANNIE RPA (Signed/Initialed)
If there is a Bank Addendum Attached in MLS. Have your buyer initial and sign it. Should your offer be excepted with the counter the terms can be written in and this streamlines the time it takes.
Know that any lender required repairs after an agreement has been reached will be added to the top of the purchase price. Therefore do a complete initial walk through with your client before writing an offer, and ask for know repairs credits up-front if your comps don’t reflect the asking price with needed repairs. Remember the first offer received is not always the best offer so don't think you have to be first. Never write an offer without seeing the property, I actually check MLS and will request agents update their Dis Key's if an offer comes in too fast.
This article is exclusive to Fannie Mae REO's; however the principals are universal and can be applied to all fields. Agents and buyers do your home work , comparable sales don't lie, so use them. My team of agents are trained to complete a CMA for buyer clients whenever their writing an offer. I would encourage others to do the same.
Jonathan Burgess Broker/Owner
Code 3 Real Estate
NFSTI Reo Certifed
Res Net Certified
Reo Trans Certified
Code 3 Realty & Mortgage Inc.
777 Campus Commons Drive Ste 200
Sacramento CA. 95825
Branch Offices In Tracey CA & Riverside CA.