Fannie Mae is once again offering closing-cost assistance for buyers who close on a home in the mortgage giant’s real-estate owned (REO) inventory, but in most states will not bring back cash bonuses it previously paid to buyers’ agents.

Buyers who put in initial offers on or after April 11, and close on the sale of a Fannie Mae HomePath property by June 30, will be eligible to receive up to 3.5 percent in closing-cost assistance.

The offer is only good for buyers who intend to occupy the home they are purchasing as their primary residence — second homes and investor properties are not eligible.

Offers submitted before May 15 have the best chance of qualifying, Fannie Mae said, as offers submitted after that "are particularly questionable for closing" by the June 30 deadline.

It’s essentially the same deal Fannie Mae offered to buyers last year. In the last three months of the year, Fannie Mae was also offering a $1,500 cash bonus to buyer’s agents on each sale of a HomePath property.

In announcing that it’s restoring its closing-cost assistance for HomePath buyers, Fannie Mae said it will offer a $1,000 bonus to buyers’ agents in California and Washington whose clients close on a HomePath property by June 30.

Fannie Mae pays listing agents representing its REO properties a standard commission of 2.5 percent, with a guaranteed minimum of $1,000. Buyer’s agents are paid commissions equal to 3 percent of the sales price.

In its most recent annual report to investors, Fannie Mae said it acquired 262,078 homes in 2010, up 80 percent from 2009. REO sales picked up 51 percent, to 185,744, leaving Fannie Mae with REO inventory of 162,489 homes valued at $14.9 billion at the end of the year. The company also said $212.8 billion in mortgages guaranteed by the company were delinquent by 60 days or more.

"Given the large number of seriously delinquent loans in our single-family guaranty book of business and the large current and anticipated supply of single-family homes in the market, we expect it will take years before our REO inventory approaches pre-2008 levels," Fannie Mae warned.

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