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Federal plan to make short sales shorter

Fannie and Freddie's overseer has plans to streamline the process

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For home sellers, buyers and real estate brokers hoping for breakthroughs on simplifying short-sale transaction and timelines, this may not be the proverbial silver bullet, but it's definitely positive news: The agency that controls Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has a serious effort under way to remove or minimize some of the major hurdles and to put those changes in the field as soon as this fall. Officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency -- the folks who now make the rules governing millions of mortgage transactions at both companies -- told me last week that they are actively seeking input from lenders, servicers, Realtors, investors and housing counselors about how to speed up short sales on loans connected with Fannie and Freddie. National Association of Realtors officials, who have already met with the agency's special short-sale task force, confirm that the effort is for real and promise potentially significant reforms. FHFA officials say their deadline to wrap u...