Fannie Mae property sales will continue without David Durham
David Durham came to the Grand Valley 31 years ago. He had a law degree, but decided to take the real estate exam, hoping that it would help him provide for his family.
As a young real estate agent with no local connections, he started his career by canvassing neighborhoods, leaving business cards, shaking hands and trying to rustle up business. In 1983, he came across a Fannie Mae home that was in foreclosure in the Oxbow subdivision. He contacted the agency and told them that he could help them sell the house.
“That one house turned into 40 homes before six months had gone by,” Durham said. For the next several years, he concentrated on selling Fannie Mae homes.
As the economy began to improve in the late 1980s, Durham acquired more listings from homeowners and more requests from buyers who didn’t want foreclosed property, although he remained a Fannie Mae specialist.
Fannie Mae is a government-controlled company that helps provide money to the U.S. housing market by buying residential mortgages and packing pools of those loans for sale to investors. The company, whose name is short for Federal National Mortgage Association is overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
When the housing market tanked, a number of deliquent mortgages became owned by Fannie Mae. Homes acquired by foreclosure are referred to as Real Estate Owned (REO) and Fannie Mae has a special process of selling these properties. It doesn’t directly sell homes; it only sells them through real estate brokers.
“Fannie Mae is a corporation located in Dallas, Texas,” Durham said. “There’s no emotional attachment to the house and they are a motivated seller.”
Since the seller (Fannie Mae) has no emotional attachment to the property, it’s easier for the listing agent to make recommendations regarding ugly carpeting, hideous paint jobs or other recommended improvements without worrying about hurting someone’s feelings. Durham routinely gives advice about what type of improvements are necessary in order to sell a Fannie Mae property.
When the local economy began to suffer, there was once again a large amount of Fannie Mae properties coming through the pipeline at Bray Real Estate, and Durham knew he needed help. He took Jason Holm under his wing and began mentoring him through the process of what it takes to sell foreclosed property owned by Fannie Mae.
No two homes are in an identical state by the time they end up in foreclosure. In some cases, the previous owners have long since vacated the property. In other instances, they’re still living in the home, and the agent may have to negotiate a “cash for keys” settlement in order to convince the occupant to leave the property and hand over the keys. Sometimes, the house is in great condition and someone has taken care of the yard. In a few instances, everything not nailed down is taken and the yard has been neglected for a year.
“It can take longer than six months or longer for banks to foreclose,” said Holm. It can also take awhile to get the property on the market for sale. Although sometimes it can happen in a couple of weeks, it usually takes a couple of months, which can lengthen the amount of time that a house and yard get neglected.
Although Durham isn’t ready to retire, he’s ready to slow down. The easiest way for him to do that is to step away from Fannie Mae properties. He and Holm worked with John Duffy for several weeks to prepare him to help Holm take over the duties. Durham will continue selling real estate for individual buyers and sellers. He also hopes to travel with his wife, Soni. He’s already got trips to Lake Powell, Texas, southern California and Jamaica planned.
“I have some other things I’m involved in as well,” Durham said. His particular passion is the Avalon Theater, where he is involved in a fundraising campaign to raise private funds to match the $3-milllion pledged by the City of Grand Junction and the Downtown Development Authority. Durham also hopes to learn how to fly fish and play a little more golf.
“We think we’ll see his face around here,” said Robert Bray. “He has not ignored his client business in spite of Fannie Mae. He’ll simply be working at a less hectic pace.”
Although Durham didn’t go to work with Robert Bray until the 1990s, the two have a long history together. Durham likes to remind Bray that the reason he didn’t go to work for him back in the early 80s was that Bray told him he’d have to wear a tie. Now, Bray doesn’t routinely wear a tie, either, and there is an easy camaraderie between between business associates who have also become friends.
“We’re really fortunate David came here,” Bray said. “His giving to the community, his mentoring to associates and his cooperation have made him a valuable part of the Bray team.”
If you’re interested in buying a Fannie Mae property, don’t call David Durham. If you do, he’ll steer you in the direction of Jason Holm or John Duffy. But if you’re interested in working with Durham to sell your house or buy your next one, give him a call. He says he’s going to learn to fly fish, but chances are good that he’ll sell more houses than catch fish.