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Today, Ogletree Law Firm P.A., has grown to a law firm with clients ranging from large corporations to individuals, and legal matters from complex litigation to real estate transactions.  We offer services in a broad range of areas including litigation, real estate closings, title agent services, immigration matters, corporate matters, commercial and civil litigation, personal injury, workers compensation and criminal defense.  One of the greatest benefits Ogletree Law Firm offers its clients is our dedication to quality, understanding of the law, trust and respect. Through our experience and the broad range of services that we provide, we are able to offer our clients access to the resources of a large firm with the personal attention of a local firm.

Fannie Mae refinancing guidelines offer flexibility

Secondary mortgage market company Fannie Mae has issued refinancing guidelines that allow the refinancing of mortgages on owner-occupant, second-home, and investor loans. In addition, borrowers that do not have private mortgage insurance on their existing mortgage are not required to obtain it for the new loan, even if the new loan-to-value ratio exceeds 80 percent. These provisions go beyond requirements for the Obama administration's federal "Home Affordable Modification Program," which, among other things, limits refinancing incentives to mortgages for owner-occupied houses. Freddie Mac has announced issuance of its own refinance guidelines, which are similar to Fannie Mae's on key points.

Homebuyer tax credit

The economic stimulus bill recently passed by Congress provides for an $8,000 tax credit that would be available to first-time home buyers for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. The credit does not require repayment. Most of the mechanics of the credit will be the same as under the 2008 rules: the credit will be claimed on a tax return to reduce the purchaser's income tax liability. If any credit amount remains unused, then the unused amount will be refunded as a check to the purchaser.

New Standards for Selection of Appraisers Effective May 1, 2009

Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)...

FROM: NAR Government Affairs
RE:    1.    Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)
         2.    Fannie Instructs Its Servicers Not to Cut Commissions on Short Sales
DATE:       March 2, 2009

NOTICE:     THIS EMAIL WAS DISTRIBUTED TO Government Affairs Directors at
12:15 PM Eastern
1.    Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)
On December 23, 2008, New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo,
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government sponsored enterprises) announced the
final agreement of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC).  The agreement
establishes standards on solicitation, selection, compensation, conflicts of
interest and appraiser independence.  The HVCC is effective May 1, 2009, for
any mortgage that will be sold to the GSEs.  Federal Housing Administration
(FHA) and Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) mortgages are not covered in the

Real estate agents, including REALTORSR, and mortgage brokers are prohibited
from selecting appraisers.  Lenders are permitted to use "in house" staff
appraisers to conduct appraisals.  However, the loan production staff is
prohibited from (1) selecting, retaining, recommending, or influencing the
selection of an appraiser for an appraisal assignment or for inclusion on an
appraisal roster and (2) having any substantive conversation with an
appraiser or appraisal management company regarding valuation, including
ordering or managing an appraisal assignment.  The Independent Valuation
Protection Institute (IVPI) will establish a telephone hotline and E-mail
address to receive complaints from appraisers and users of appraisal
services on the improper influence or attempted improper influence of

The agreement was first announced in January 2008.  The NAR Appraisal
Committee discussed the agreement and decided against adopting a formal
policy position.  When first announced the HVCC it included a period of time
where the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) would solicit input from
various appraisal stakeholders.  The Appraisal Committee did provide
feedback and comments to NAR staff for a letter drafted to the GSEs.  The
letter was submitted to both GSEs on April 30, 2008.  NAR continues to
provide information to its members on the agreement.

2.    Fannie Instructs Its Servicers Not to Cut Commissions on Short Sales
On February 24, 2009, Fannie Mae sent Announcement 09-03 to its servicers
instructing them not to negotiate commissions on short sales below the
amount negotiated by the listing agent (unless the commission exceeds 6
percent).  The requirement took effect March 1, 2009.  Fannie Mae recognizes
(a) negotiating commissions for short sales is unfair because getting a
short sale to closing requires intensive work over many months, often
requiring working with numerous buyers, and (b) compensating real estate
agents fairly benefits Fannie Mae because agents play a crucial role in
short sales.
The Announcement reminds servicers that third party approvals (i.e., private
mortgage insurers) may be required and can affect commissions.  NAR has
asked both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to strengthen their policies against
reducing short sales commissions, welcomes Fannie's announcement, and has
urged Freddie to follow Fannie's lead.

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