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Government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently introduced new incentives to bolster home sales through their HomePath and HomeSteps programs, respectively, which are designed to help the firms liquidate the real estate owned (REO) properties they hold in their portfolios.

Specifically, Fannie Mae is offering up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance on HomePath properties available in 27 states during the FirstLook period.

During the FirstLook period, owner-occupant or public entity buyers are able to submit offers on HomePath properties, giving them the opportunity to purchase homes without competition from investors. Fannie Mae recently announced the extension of the FirstLook period from 15 days to 20 days.

"This incentive will provide more opportunities for families to find a property to call home," says Jay Ryan, vice president of REO sales for Fannie Mae, in a release. "Our goal is to sell as many HomePath properties as possible to owner-occupants who will stabilize neighborhoods and help the housing recovery."

To be eligible for the incentive, the initial offer must be submitted between now and March 31, 2014, and close on or before May 31, 2014. The incentive will offer qualified buyers up to 3.5% of the final sales price to pay closing costs.

In many cases, buyers can use these savings to buy down their interest rate through upfront points, resulting in additional savings over time. Buyers can work with the lender of their choice to determine if this is an option.

To view a list of the states where this incentive will be offered, click here.

In addition, Freddie Mac has introduced a special Winter Sales Promotion that will pay cash incentives to real estate agents who list or sell HomeSteps homes in 23 select states between now and April 15, 2014. The promotion also offers homebuyers a choice of incentives, including funds to cover condominium association fees.

"HomeSteps' 2014 winter sales promotion is focused on firing up sales in 'cold weather' states and condominium deals everywhere,” says Chris Bowden, senior vice president of HomeSteps, in a release. ‘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."

As per the release, selling agents will receive a $1,000 incentive, and listing agents a separate $500 incentive, when they sell HomeSteps homes located in one of the 23 target states during the promotion period.

In addition, home buyers have a choice of $500 incentives they can use towards condominium association dues, flood insurance premiums or the home warranty of their choice.

To qualify, the closing must settle on or before May 30, 2014. The promotion does not apply to investor purchases, auction sales, sealed-bid sales and bulk sales, Freddie Mac reports.

To view a list of the 23 states where the Winter Sales Promotion for HomeSteps is being offered, click here.


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