Fannie Mae's summer surprise for all-cash buyers, investors

Rule change allows buyers to tap equity soon after purchase

Fannie Mae quietly made a rule change last week that could be of huge significance for cash buyers of houses — whether they’re investors or owner-occupants — starting immediately. Call it cash-outs for all-cash players.

The company modified its long-standing requirement that all-cash home purchasers must be on the title for at least six months before pulling out money from the house by obtaining a mortgage. Now you can do it — if you qualify — virtually overnight.

Under Fannie’s new "delayed financing" option, buyers paying cash to gain a competitive advantage — lower prices, cleaner and quicker deals than purchasers requiring financing — can now turn around and pull out substantial money from the transaction shortly after settlement.

Given the growing role of all-cash purchases in many markets, Fannie’s change could create new opportunities for players in the bank-owned, foreclosure and short-sale segments, including Realtors, small-scale investors and ordinary buyers who have access to ready cash.