Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MLSListings Inc. is the first multiple listings service in California to implement a short-sale assistance program from Fannie Mae, the multiple listing service announced last week.

On March 31, the California Association of Realtors and Fannie Mae announced they had partnered to provide brokers and agents with the Fannie Mae Short Sale Assistance Desk, a program designed to "significantly shorten" wait time for approval on short-sale transactions where Fannie Mae is the first-lien holder and a valid offer has been submitted for the property.

The program will also help CAR members handle "post-contract issues such as loan servicer responsiveness, the existence of a second lien or issues involving mortgage insurance," the association said.

The program is free to CAR members through their MLSs. MLSListings reports it is the first in the state to launch the program.

"(The launch) marks an important step forward in helping homebuyers, sellers and our subscribers avoid the frustrations and complexities so common in short-sale transactions," said Jim Harrison, MLSListings CEO, in a statement.

"Access to the Assistance Desk will help our agents and brokers work to resolve cases where the short-sale approval channel has slowed down, so their clients can close the transaction, first and foremost, and do so in a more timely manner."

Members of participating MLSs will submit information to Fannie Mae using a dedicated submission form on the MLS website. Those MLSs will also provide Fannie Mae with data to improve property valuations, which can help expedite approval decisions on short-sale requests, CAR said.

"We expect real estate professionals to first make a reasonable effort to resolve issues by working through the servicer, but the Assistance Desk staff will help in the event the servicer has not provided an initial response within 20 days, a final property valuation within 30 days, or a final decision or specific direction to facilitate a decision within 60 days from the original offer submission date," said Marcel Bryar, Fannie Mae vice president, in a statement.

Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED), a Chicagoland MLS, announced it had signed an agreement with Fannie Mae to participate in the program in March.

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