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Program Gives First-Time Buyers Leg Up on Investors | Housing

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Program Gives First-Time Buyers Leg Up on Investors

LAS VEGAS -- Foreclosed homes in Las Vegas are being snatched up left and right by investors. But starting this week, Fannie Mae is trying to help homeowners get first dibs. The program is called First Look.

First Look allows first-time home buyers to place an offer first over an investor when buying a Fannie Mae-owned home. The window of opportunity has now been extended from 15 days to 30 days in Nevada.

At least 50-percent of the foreclosure sales in Las Vegas are cash only because banks see it as a hassle-free way to get the properties off their books.

With inventory at an all time low, and competition heating up, the First Look program can help people who don't have the cash to pay up front.

"(The) First Look program was Fannie Mae's program designed to strengthen communities and give first-time home buyers an edge," said Claudia Turcaz with the Nevada Association of Hispanic Real Estate.

The program gives first-time home buyers a 30 day edge to place an offer on a foreclosed home owned by Fannie. The house, however, must be $150,000 or less.

"It does allow and give first-time home buyers to play on same level playing field as cash investors that are coming in and picking up these foreclosed properties," she said.

Housing experts say First Look pays off for the entire community in the end.

If you are a first-time home buyer and want to take advantage of this program, you can ask your real estate agent to check specifically for Fannie Mae foreclosures.

The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors estimates there are a little more than 2,200 foreclosures on the market now.