New Fannie interactive Web tool provides foreclosure avoidance options
Fannie Mae’s new WaysHome interactive multimedia tool walks homeowners through options if they are struggling to pay the mortgage — even allowing them to select a character and be a part of an interactive video. The WaysHome video is set in a neighborhood that has been hurt by the foreclosure crisis. Real actors play three residents of the neighborhood — each in financial distress. Homeowners select to play one of the residents and, as their stories unfold, make financial decisions for them and see how the consequences of these decisions play out. Fannie Mae provides tips, tools and links during the process and users have the ability to go back and revise their decisions. Most choices lead to an immediate consequence followed by a related teaching point. WaysHome asks the homeowner input some basic information about his or her situation. For example, the homeowner is asked about whether they have short-term or long-term income issues, and whether they want to stay in the home or leave. It then provides some options that the homeowner should consider. “In 2011, millions of homes will be at imminent risk of foreclosure. As we enter a new year, the company is expanding its efforts to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure — WaysHome is an innovative tool to help achieve this goal,” said Jeff Hayward, Fannie Mae senior vice president. Through the interactive tool, homeowners can experience scenarios that address a range of options for avoiding foreclosure that include repayment plans, forbearance, mortgage modification, deeds-in-lieu and short sales. "With a variety of financial hardships and other circumstances affecting homeowners across the country, making educated decisions is more important than ever," Hayward said. "It’s a travesty when people lose their homes because they don’t know or understand their options." Fannie Mae will be promoting WaysHome on its own website, as well as on its consumer-oriented KnowYourOptions site. It also has planned a series of events in partnership with local faith-based organizations, nonprofits and industry leaders. Write to Kerry Curry.