Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is offering a way for real estate professionals working on short sales to communicate directly with the company when they run into problems.

The new "short-sale escalation process" is an expansion of Fannie Mae’s HomePath for Short Sales tool and is open to real estate pros working on a short sale involving a loan owned by Fannie Mae.

The process is designed for issues such as valuation disputes, servicer delays, or uncooperative subordinate lien holders, Fannie Mae said. Agents can also use the process to get a recommended list price before putting a property on the market, the company added.

"By giving agents a straightforward, transparent way to escalate short-sale issues to Fannie Mae, we will close more sales, prevent foreclosures and help neighborhoods continue to recover," said Jay Ryan, vice president for real estate sales at Fannie Mae, in a statement.

"Getting short sales done benefits everyone involved, and we’re committed to doing our part."

Once an issue is submitted via an inquiry form, Fannie Mae will contact the agent or servicer directly to resolve the issue, the company said.

Fannie Mae said real estate pros had already begun using the escalation process.

"Fannie Mae has taken a serious step to address common issues with short-sale files," said Maryann Little, vice president for short-sale mitigation with AA Premier Properties LLC and Short Sale Mitigation LLC, in a statement.

"I’ve found HomePath for Short Sales to be an easy tool to communicate with Fannie Mae. Recently, I escalated a file to work out a difference in valuation and in less than 24 hours it was resolved. I appreciated that I could send comps directly to Fannie Mae and let them know what we were seeing on our side of the short sale."

Last year, Fannie Mae accelerated short-sale timelines, streamlined short-sale guidelines, and signed delegation agreements with mortgage insurers that allowed servicers to approve any short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure that met Fannie Mae’s requirements without individual mortgage insurance approval.

Fannie Mae said it completed 58,376 short sales through the first nine months of 2012. Combined, loan servicers working on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac signed off on a record number of short sales in the third quarter, about 34,000.

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