When it comes to buying property, the process can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the biggest decisions you’ll make is how to finance your purchase. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that play a major role in the mortgage market. They are responsible for purchasing and securitizing mortgages, making property ownership more affordable for millions of Americans. However, the process of applying for financing through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can be tricky, and there are many common mistakes that buyers and investors make. Before applying for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and how to avoid some common mistakes. Let’s dive in!

What is Fannie Mae?

Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that was created in 1938 to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. real estate market by purchasing mortgages from lenders. The organization’s mission is to provide access to mortgage credit to all creditworthy borrowers, with a focus on underserved communities and low-to-moderate income borrowers.

To ensure that borrowers are able to make the payments on their mortgages and that the mortgages being originated are of high-quality Fannie Mae sets guidelines for mortgage underwriting and loan origination. These guidelines are used by lenders when they are underwriting and originating mortgages, and they help to ensure that mortgages are originated that are consistent with the overall goal of Fannie Mae to promote stability and affordability in the housing market.

What is Freddie Mac?

Freddie Mac, officially known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), was created in 1970 to provide competition for Fannie Mae and to make mortgages more widely available to a broader range of borrowers. Like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac buys mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities that it sells to investors. Freddie Mac is a regulated entity that has very strict guidelines and rules to follow. It has a collateral underwriting and quality control process that are very stringent and must be followed to the letter.


5 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Financing:

Avoiding mistakes when applying for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans is crucial for the success of your mortgage application. These government-sponsored enterprises have strict guidelines and requirements that must be met in order to secure funding. It’s important to work with experienced professionals and thoroughly review all requirements before submitting your application to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Not Understanding the Difference Between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

While both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play a critical role in providing financing for the American real estate market, there are key differences between the two organizations that investors and borrowers should be aware of. One of the most significant distinctions is where each organization sources their mortgages from.

Fannie Mae primarily purchases mortgages from larger, commercial banks. These banks typically have a national presence and a wide network of branches, making it easier for Fannie Mae to acquire a large volume of mortgages from a single source. This allows Fannie Mae to have a broader reach in the real estate market and access to a wider variety of loan products.

On the other hand, Freddie Mac primarily purchases mortgages from much smaller banks, such as community banks and credit unions. These smaller institutions may have a more localized focus, and therefore, a more limited selection of loan products. However, Freddie Mac’s focus on smaller banks allows it to serve a specific niche in the market and provide financing to a segment of borrowers that may not be served by larger banks.

As an investor or borrower, it is essential to understand the differences between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and how each organization operates. This knowledge can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to selecting a lender and securing financing for your property.


Mistake #2: Not Meeting the Guidelines and Requirements

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have specific guidelines and requirements that borrowers must meet in order to qualify for a loan. For example, borrowers must have a minimum credit score and debt-to-income ratio, and the property must meet certain standards such as appraising for a fair market value. The property must also have a clear and marketable title, and be properly zoned for its intended use. In addition, the borrower must be able to show that they have the financial ability to make the mortgage payments.

Not meeting these guidelines and requirements can lead to a delay or even rejection of your loan application. It is advisable to work with experts in the field such as AEI Consultants or approved lenders who can help ensure that you meet all the guidelines and requirements, and also provide guidance on the types of reports that need to be submitted.


Mistake #3: Not Providing all the Necessary Documentation

When you apply for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, you’ll need to provide a variety of documentation to support your application. This might include pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and other financial documents. If you don’t provide all the necessary documentation, your application will be delayed or rejected.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have additional guidelines that must be met depending on the type of loan being sought. For example, Fannie Mae has a High-Performance Building Module that sets guidelines for energy efficiency and sustainable building practices, and Freddie Mac has a Green Assessment and Green Assessment Plus that assesses the environmental sustainability of the property.

Additional reports that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may also require include Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, Property Condition Assessments, and Physical Needs Assessments just to name a few. These reports are meant to ensure that the property is safe, sound and meets all the necessary codes and regulations. These guidelines and requirements are subject to change, so it is important to stay updated on the latest information.


Mistake #4: Not Working with an Approved Lender or Multifamily Approved Seller/Servicers

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a list of approved lenders and multifamily approved sellers/servicers that they work with. These approved lenders and sellers are experienced in the process and have a good understanding of the guidelines and requirements. Working with an approved lender or multifamily seller/servicers will increase your chances of success. Not providing all the necessary documentation can delay the process and may even result in the loan being denied. Since approved lenders and multifamily approved sellers/servicers are experienced in the process, they already have a good understanding of the guidelines and requirements set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They know what is needed to meet the standards and can help guide you through the process to ensure that all the necessary information is provided. Working with an approved lender or multifamily approved seller/servicers will increase your chances of success in obtaining a loan.


Mistake #5: Not Preparing for the Underwriting Process

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a rigorous underwriting process that borrowers must go through in order to qualify for a loan. This process can take several weeks, and during this time, the lender will review your financial situation and the property you’re buying in order to make sure it meets their guidelines. It’s important to be prepared for this process and to have all your documentation in order.

To prepare for the underwriting process when applying for a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, a borrower can follow these steps:

  • Gather and organize financial information: The lender will want to see proof of income, assets, and liabilities, so it’s important to have all the necessary documents ready and organized.
  • Get a credit report: Make sure to get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus. Review the reports for accuracy and address any errors.
  • Review the property: Before you apply for the loan, make sure to inspect the property and address any issues or potential problems.
  • Hire professionals as needed: Consider hiring professionals like an appraiser, home inspector, or AEI Consulting services as they may be able to identify and address any issues with the property.
  • Meet with a lender: Schedule a meeting with a lender to discuss your financial situation, the property you are interested in, and the underwriting process. This is an opportunity to ask questions and clarify any concerns.
  • Provide all necessary documentation: When applying for a loan, make sure to provide all necessary documentation, including proof of income, assets, liabilities, and property information.
  • Keep communication open: Stay in communication with your lender and any other expert in the field throughout the underwriting process. Respond to any requests for information in a timely manner and follow up on the status of your loan application regularly.

Finals Thoughts on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: 

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll increase your chances of success and be better prepared to navigate the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan process. If you’re a borrower, be aware of the process and the requirements, and make sure you work with experts in the field.  Before wrapping up let’s review a few of the possible required reports for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans:

Required Documentation Reports for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: 

AEI Consultants can help investors and borrowers navigate the complexities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac financing by providing a wide range of assessment services, including:

  • Environmental Assessment: AEI can perform Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) to identify potential environmental hazards, compliance issues and the potential for contamination. This will help investors understand any potential environmental risks and liabilities associated with a property.
  • Property Condition Assessments: AEI can perform Property Condition Assessments (PCA) which will provide investors with an in-depth analysis of the physical condition of a property and identify any necessary repairs or upgrades. Physical Needs Assessments will help to identify the physical and functional deficiencies of a property.
  • Seismic Risk Analysis: AEI can perform Seismic Risk Analysis Reports (SRA) which will identify the potential risks of earthquakes and other natural disasters to a property.
  • Energy-Efficiency and Sustainability: AEI can provide Fannie Mae High Performance Building Module, Freddie Mac Green Assessment & Green Assessment Plus, which will evaluate the energy efficiency and sustainability of a property.
  • Zoning and Land Surveys: AEI can provide Zoning Analysis Reports and ALTA Surveys which will help investors understand any zoning or land use restrictions that may impact the property.
  • Freddie Mac Small Balance Loan (SBL) Reports: AEI can provide SBL Reports, which are specifically tailored to meet the requirements of Freddie Mac’s Small Balance Loan program.
  • Fannie Mae Multifamily Affordable Housing (MAH) Reports: AEI can provide Fannie Mae Streamlined Property Condition Assessments Reports, Fannie Mae Multifamily Affordable Housing (MAH) Reports, which are specifically tailored to meet the requirements of Fannie Mae’s affordable housing programs.

With AEI’s help, buyers can make informed decisions and ensure compliance with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guidelines. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experts at AEI. We are here to help you navigate the process and make sure you have the best chance of success when applying for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac financing. Reach out to speak with one of our consultants today.

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