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From the reoinsider:

Chris Bowden, vice president of the Freddie Mac HomeSteps department, which manages the government sponsored enterprises’ (GSE) REO inventory, said stabilizing neighborhoods will depend on getting first-time homebuyers to buy REO.

In a features perspectives published Tuesday on the Freddie website, Bowden said Freddie’s inventory of REO has tripled over the past two years to more than 62,000 properties. The weight of these properties has had a “significant impact” on home prices in these communities, but selling to owner-occupants can reverse the damage and restore neighborhoods.

“Currently, more than two-thirds of our REO sales are to owner-occupants. Most of our marketing and sales strategies are geared toward attracting owner-occupants, and include incentives for both the real estate agents and prospective homebuyers,” Bowden writes.

The Freddie Mac SmartBuy sales promotion offers owner-occupant buyers a two-year home warranty and closing-cost assistance when they buy a HomeSteps REO. Bowden wrote that its partnership with nonprofit organizations and the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is putting on auctions targeting first-time homebuyers. In the first one, 200 owner-occupants bought homes in Las Vegas and in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California. Another 72 owner-occupant buyers purchased homes in the second auction in Phoenix.

In some ZIP Codes, HomeSteps offers REO homes for sale to these owner-occupants through nonprofits before the property is listed for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS). 

But owner-occupants are attracted to properties that have been repaired and restored since the foreclosure. Freddie’s “Good Neighbor” property preservation policies require that the home is “secured, preserved and cleaned” within three business days of the property is deemed vacant. Neighboring properties receive door hangers containing contact information for any interested homebuyers or for someone concerned about the REO in their community.

Approximately 50 percent of the homes that Freddie Mac acquires have occupants – either owners or tenants. In March 2009, they introduced the Freddie Mac Rental Initiative to offer qualified former owner-occupants and tenants month-to-month leases for homes where they live that are now owned by Freddie Mac.

Here is the list of the 338 Freddie-owned properties in SD County – most are somewhat inferior:

FreddiePropertyListAUG10

The sales prices listed are what the previous owner paid, usually about 50% ago.

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