WASHINGTON, D.C. —The housing giant Fannie Mae has launched a free, interactive multi-media tool designed to educate homeowners about their options to avoid foreclosure, empower them to make informed decisions and motivate them to take action and seek help in 2011. 

The WaysHome video is part of Fannie Mae’s “Know Your Options” initiative to help struggling homeowners. Its technology allows homeowners to put themselves in real-life situations, make informed choices and immediately see the outcome of those actions.

“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’s senior vice-president.

“Since the beginning of 2009, Fannie Mae has helped more than half a million families stay in their homes through modification or other solutions.  With initiatives like WaysHome, we are determined to do everything possible to help homeowners,” Hayward said.

Unique to the other industry-wide foreclosure prevention efforts, WaysHome was developed by Fannie Mae to educate distressed homeowners on the short and long-term impact of their decisions.  Through video re-enactment, WaysHome allows homeowners to experience scenarios that address a range of options for avoiding foreclosure that include repayment plans, forbearances, modifications, deeds-in-lieu and short sales.

The 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 and see how the consequences of those decisions play out.

Fannie Mae provides tips, tools and links during the process and users have the option of going back and revising their decisions should their choices lead to a negative outcome.  Most choices lead to an immediate consequence followed by a related teaching point.

“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.  Homeowners who are proactive about working with their mortgage company, housing counselors or using consumer tools like WaysHome have a significantly better chance of finding a solution that allows them to avoid foreclosure.”

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae is continuing to conduct homeowner outreach across the country, including the opening of Mortgage Help Centers in Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth, with other locations to be announced in coming weeks.

The company also uses direct mail and phone calls to encourage homeowners to pursue foreclosure alternatives.
WaysHome is available at KnowYourOptions.com.

For more information on Fannie Mae’s initiatives, visit KnowYourOptions.com.