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Brushing Up on Fair Housing Laws

Investing in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Properties

One of the ways the federal government promotes homeownership is by providing financing through Fannie Mae (FNMA or Federal National Mortgage Association), Ginnie Mae (GNMA or Government National Mortgage Association), and Freddie Mac (FHLMC or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation).

All of these organizations purchase residential mortgages and then convert the mortgages into securities for sale to investors, indirectly financing the purchase of homes. Because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are such an integral part of home financing, they end up with a huge number of foreclosure properties that they must sell, particularly in large markets, and many of these properties are not HUD or VA homes.

If you stumble upon what looks like a great deal, make your offer subject to a satisfactory home inspection. Delaying your offer until you can have the home inspected opens the possibility that another buyer will swoop in and buy the property. By making your offer subject to a satisfactory home inspection, you can get your offer in and then back out if the property needs a lot of work. Present your offer, but make sure it has a good contingency clause you can use for an emergency exit.

Freddie Mac has a Web site devoted exclusively to promoting the sales of the homes it owns called HomeSteps. This site features a searchable online database containing information on thousands of homes, primarily REO properties, all across the nation. Freddie Mac lists most of the homes with brokers, but it also holds online auctions, so you can bid for properties in the comfort of your home or office.

HomeSteps provides very sketchy information about its homes, but it does provide the name and phone number of the real estate agent to call. When you find a home that interests you, call the agent to schedule a tour.

Freddie Mac’s older sister, Fannie Mae has her own Web site for homebuyers. Complete the search form to specify your desired price range and location, and click Search.

If Fannie Mae has any properties for sale that match your search criteria, the site displays a list of the available properties, and you can click a link to obtain additional information, including contact information for the listing agent.

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