Servicing Guide

Published September 9, 2020

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Fannie Mae Property Preservation Matrix- April 2019 (Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services) (Property Exterior)

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services      

See below for sub-topic: Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Initial Services: Property Exterior

To see other sub-topics for Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services, please click on any of the topics below: 

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Overview

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Initial Securing

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Initial Services: Property Interior

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Identifying Property Conditions

Initial Services: Property Exterior   

The servicer is expected to perform all of the below Initial Exterior Services within fourteen (14) calendar days from the FTV. When a property securing a Fannie Mae loan includes multiple units, each unit used as collateral for the loan must also have services performed as it becomes vacant. 

Exterior Debris Removal 

Exterior debris removal includes removal of all debris, trash, and dead vegetation. Fannie Mae expects removal of these items from the entire exterior of the property and for the servicer to ensure the property is free of debris while the property is delinquent and vacant. Refer to Section 17: Addendums within this Property Preservation Guide for debris count and personal property references.

Expectations

  • Pick up and remove all exterior debris, trash, and dead vegetation.
    • Dead vegetation includes, but is not limited to: fallen leaves/tree limbs, dead shrubs/plants/small ornamental trees from the property.
  • Ensure all debris (e.g., phone books, advertisement fliers, cobwebs, etc.) are removed from all porch areas 
  • Empty and turn over all trash cans and store in the garage, if applicable, or at the rear of the property out of street view.

Interior items not intended for exterior use that have been left outside and exposed to the elements are considered debris. Examples include:

  • Furniture intended for interior use
  • Refrigerator / Freezer

Other examples of items found outside considered debris include:

  • Broken/deteriorated items intended for outdoor use
  • Scattered wood/metal
  • Tires

Notes:  Items located inside outbuildings or garages are not considered exterior debris. These areas should be secured as part of the initial and ongoing services. Accessible debris in all crawl spaces and under the porch must be removed.

All debris must be removed from the property and properly disposed. Leaving trash or debris on public or neighboring property will not be tolerated.

The Debris Removal and the Move Personal Property Allowables include a combined maximum of 10 cubic yards for the removal of raw garbage, perishable items, debris, and/or moving of personal property. The combined maximum of 10 cubic yards is inclusive of interior and exterior debris removal and the moving of any personal property. A cubic yard is defined as 3’ x 3’ x 3’ or 27 cubic feet and is measured by volume, not weight or content. 

When 11-20 cubic yards of combined interior or exterior debris or the relocation of personal property in the way of the grass cut or in street view, the servicer may elect to complete the work and then submit a bid after the fact via HomeTracker for the additional cubic yards. Refer to Section 12: Bid After The Fact within this Property Preservation Guide for further details. The servicer must provide before and after photos to support total debris removed from property, not just the overage. Refer to Section 17: Addendums within this Property Preservation Guide for debris count and personal property references.   

When to Submit a Bid

  • When more than 20 cubic yards of combined interior and exterior debris removal and/or moving personal property needs to be performed, the servicer must stop debris removal/moving personal property work and submit a bid via HomeTracker. 

  • When the servicer decides to address debris removal/moving personal property outside of the allowable threshold and prior to Fannie Mae approval, the servicer should take into account Fannie Mae may not agree with the cubic yard count and/or cost and may deny and/or modify the request.

Photo Examples

Move Personal Property    

Moving exterior personal property is limited to items which obstruct lawn maintenance or are in street view. Personal property must be moved to a secure location such as a shed, garage, or the interior of the property. 

Examples of personal property to move include, but are not limited to: 

  • Lawn equipment

  • Patio furniture

  • Tools/building materials

Examples of personal property to not move/remove include, but are not limited to: 

  • Bird baths    

  • Dog houses

  • Grills    

  • Picnic tables

  • Stacked building materials such as bricks    

  • Swing sets

  • Trampolines    

  • Vehicles/boats

The Debris Removal and the Move Personal Property Allowables include a combined maximum of 10 cubic yards for the removal of raw garbage, perishable items, debris, and/or moving of personal property. The combined maximum of 10 cubic yards is inclusive of interior and exterior debris removal and the moving of any personal property. A cubic yard is defined as 3’ x 3’ x 3’ or 27 cubic feet and is measured by volume, not weight or content. 

When 11-20 cubic yards of combined interior or exterior debris or the relocation of personal property in the way of the grass cut or in street view, the servicer may elect to complete the work and then submit a bid after the fact via HomeTracker for the additional cubic yards. Refer to Section 12: Bid After The Fact within this Property Preservation Guide for further details. The servicer must provide before and after photos to support total debris removed from property and/or the moved personal property, not just the overage. Refer to Section 17: Addendums within this Property Preservation Guide for debris count and personal property references.     

When to Submit a Bid     

  • When more than 20 cubic yards of combined interior and exterior debris removal and/or moving personal property needs to be performed, the servicer must stop debris removal/moving personal property work and submit a bid via HomeTracker.   

  • When the servicer decides to address debris removal/moving personal property outside of the allowable threshold and prior to Fannie Mae approval, the servicer should take into account Fannie Mae may not agree with the cubic yard count and/or cost and may deny and/or modify the request.  

What To Do If

If…

Then…

Personal property is found outside and is in the way of grass cut or is in street view,

Move the personal property to a secured location.

Extraordinary circumstances arise (e.g., tire farm, dump site, hoarder site, crime scene, etc.),

Stop debris removal and notify Fannie Mae about the issue by submitting the proper bids via HomeTracker. The servicer must provide details of extraordinary property conditions after liquidation to the Fannie Mae REO broker.

Photo Examples

Yard Services    

Fannie Mae expects the servicer to maintain yards year-round and comply with local ordinance/association standards. There is only one Initial Yard Service Allowable for the life of loan. In the event a subsequent initial yard service is required, a bid must be submitted via HomeTracker within fifteen (15) calendar days from date of discovery. 

Each initial and ongoing (recut) yard service includes but is not limited to:  

  • Cut grass and remove clippings from sidewalks, driveways and lawns (front, sides, rear, etc.) from the entire property up to one acre.

  • Remove weeds/grass from fence lines, foundation of home, driveways/sidewalks and flower beds without damaging existing plants or flowers. 

  • Remove all non-decorative vegetation attached to structure(s) and fencing (including hanging vines). 

  • Edge all driveways, walkways and sidewalks.

  • Clear all driveways, walkways and sidewalks of clippings and dirt. Do not blow clippings into neighbor’s yard.

  • Remove water, leaves and incidental debris from covered pool/hot tub/spa.

  • Remove all incidental leaves and debris/trash.

  • Clear all debris and weeds from basement window wells. 

  • Remove all debris as a result of services from the property. 

  • Desert landscaping, rockscape, or low maintenance landscaping includes, but is not limited to, pulling and spraying of weeds, removing tumbleweeds, and trimming grass where necessary.

Note:     Fannie Mae does not provide a defined grass cut schedule. Yard services are expected to be performed year round, as needed, regardless of season. 

Lots Up to One Acre (Up to 43,560 Square Feet): Initial and ongoing (recut) yard services must be completed within the allowable based on the area to be cut and where grass is less than 12 inches on the majority of the lot. 

Example: Lot size is 25,000 square feet and grass is 24 inches on 20% of the lot and 10 inches on 80% of the lot. Complete grass cut within the allowable.

When the yard services cannot be completed within the allowable and grass is less than three (3) feet high on the majority of the lot, the servicer may complete work and submit a bid after the fact. Refer to Section 12: Bid After The Fact within this Property Preservation Guide for further details.

When the yard services cannot be completed within the allowable and grass is over three (3) feet high on the majority of the lot, the servicer must submit bids via HomeTracker. 

Lots Over One Acre (More than 43,560 Square Feet): The servicer is to cut the perimeter on useable land on over one acre lots regardless of the perimeter square footage (as long as the perimeter square footage adds up to less than one acre). The servicer is to utilize the corresponding grass cut lot square footage allowable. 
The servicer must cut:

  • All sides and entry points surrounding the property, driveways, sidewalks, and main dwelling and any attached structures. 

    • It is at the discretion of the servicer if cutting around any detached structure(s) is needed.

  • From the front view of the property to the street (starting with the grass closest to the front of the house working towards the street to allow as much street visibility as possible).

Note:     Any pasture/farm land and/or wooded areas are not required to be cut.

Example: Lot is 90,000 square feet in a rural area with a long driveway from street view. Perimeter to be cut is 22,000 square feet. The servicer is to utilize the ‘15,001 – 25,000 square feet’ grass cut allowable to cut the perimeter (initial allowable and then re-cut allowable thereafter). No over allowable bid is necessary.

When the perimeter cut for yard services cannot be completed within the allowable, the servicer must submit bids via HomeTracker. Typical over allowable instances include: local ordinance requirements, close proximity to neighbors/ businesses, and/or grass is over three (3) feet high on the majority of the lot. 

When Submitting a Bid

Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission and include the following:  

  • Lot dimensions
  • Grass height
  • Copy of local ordinance, if applicable

What To Do If

If…

Then…

Conditions prevent yard service from being performed (e.g., weather, ground is too moist/flooded, little to no growth, etc.),

Document the situation. Servicer must return within 10 to 20 days to complete necessary services if conditions permit.

Extraordinary circumstances arise,

Stop yard services and notify Fannie Mae about the issue by submitting the proper bids via HomeTracker.

Excessive leaves prohibit proper yard services,

Follow the debris removal process outlined in Exterior Debris Removalwithin this section. When deciding to address excessive leaf removal outside the allowable and prior to Fannie Mae approval, the servicer should take into account Fannie Mae may not agree with the cubic yard count and/or cost and may deny and/or modify the request.

Animals are found at the property and/or if the animal is preventing services from being performed,

Contact local animal control immediately to coordinate the handling of animals in order to complete services.

Photo Examples

Trim Trees / Shrubs / Vines

Fannie Mae expects the servicer to maintain trees/shrubs/vines year-round as well as remain in compliance with local ordinance/association standards.

Maintenance of the entire property includes the trimming of the shrubs/trees/vines, fence lines and saplings near the foundation, as well as the removal of clippings, dead foliage, and vines on the main dwelling and detached structures. Tree/shrub/vine trimming should be completed in a manner that is consistent with the appropriate levels for the structure and/or local ordinance.

Expectations

  • Trimming must be completed when affecting the condition or access to the main dwelling, detached structures, fencing, lanai, and/or mechanical equipment.

  • Decoratively prune all shrubs in front viewable areas to appropriate levels for the structure, this includes any side bed if viewable from front or if the property is located on a corner lot.

  • Trim tree branches to a minimum of one (1) foot away from the structure and at least three (3) feet off of the roof.

  • Remove all non-decorative vegetation attached to structure (including hanging vines). 

  • Trim all damaged/dead branches.

  • Any resulting debris from the trimming must be removed from the property as a part of the trimming service. The Debris Removal Allowable must not be utilized to remove the resulting trimming debris from the property.

When the cost of trim trees/shrubs/vines services cannot be completed for the allowable or the allowable has been exhausted, the servicer must submit bids via HomeTracker.  

When Submitting a Bid  

Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for further guidance on bid submission and include the following: 

  • Tree/shrub/vine dimension.

  • Cubic yard amounts that will be produced.

What To Do If

If…

Then…

Conditions are too severe (e.g., weather, ground is too moist/flooded, etc.) to perform trimming,

Document the situation. Services must be completed as soon as possible.

Excessive overgrowth exists,

Stop trimming and notify Fannie Mae about the issue by submitting the proper bids via HomeTracker.

Photo Examples

Tree Removal    

On occasion a tree must be removed for safety reasons. When this occurs, the servicer must submit two (2) bids simultaneously and must only include removal to the stump, not removal of the root system. Bid photos should clearly identify the tree being requested for removal by some sort of marking on the tree (chalk numbers, string, etc.).

Photo Examples

Snow Removal

When ice is present or after a minimum of three (3) inches of snowfall, the servicer must utilize the Snow Removal Allowable. When the cost of service exceeds the allowable or the allowable threshold has been exhausted, the servicer may elect to complete the work and then submit a bid after the fact via HomeTracker. Refer to Section 12: Bid After The Fact within this Property Preservation Guide for further details. The servicer must provide before and after photos to support this and all prior snow removal services. 

When the servicer decides to address snow removal outside of the allowable threshold and prior to Fannie Mae approval, the servicer should take into account Fannie Mae may not agree with the service and/or cost and may deny and/or modify the request.     

When the cost of snow removal services exceeds the allowable, the allowable has been exhausted, or the servicer does not utilize the bid after the fact process, the servicer must submit bids via HomeTracker.  

Expectations

  • Remove snow/ice from all entries and paths to the property to include lockbox locations.  

  • Remove snow/ice from steps, driveway, and walkways, including sidewalk in front of the property and ensure access to parking area (garage, carports, etc.). Snow/ice must not be pushed up to the property or garage, blocking access.

  • Apply salt or melting agent on all cleared areas including steps, driveway, and walkways, including sidewalk in front of the property. 

  • When any amount of ice is present, the servicer must assess the situation and provide services such as applying melting agent or breaking up ice, to ensure access to the property is safe.  

When Submitting a Bid

Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission details and include the following: 

  • Location to be cleared (private road, roof, etc.).

  • Dimensions including depth, length, and width or square feet.

  • Snow / ice removal method (plow or products to be used).

  • Copy of the local ordinance, if applicable.

What To Do If

If…

Then…

Excessive snow is present on the roof and snow from roof is causing damage,

Provide bid via HomeTracker to remove.

Clearing of the snow cannot be completed due to extreme situations,

Document the situation and complete snow removal as soon as possible.

Excessive snow clearing or the plowing of a private road is necessary,

Notify Fannie Mae about the issue by submitting the proper bids via HomeTracker.

Photo Examples

Address Posting

The servicer is required to confirm the correct address at the property prior to commencing any preservation work. After confirming the correct address, in the event the address posting is missing, the servicer must use the Address Posting Allowable to put the correct street number(s) on the property. These numbers must be large enough to see clearly from the street and must meet local ordinance/association standards.

Photo Examples

Roof Patch / Repair                                                                                                                                     

When a roof leak is discovered, appropriate measures must be taken to preserve the property by stopping the leak. The Roof Patch / Repair Allowable must be used to make minor repairs to a roof if found to be damaged.  When the cost to repair exceeds the allowable(s), the servicer must tarp the roof within the allowable and submit over allowable bid(s) to repair the roof. Should the servicer identify new roof damage caused by a claimable peril, the servicer may tarp the roof using the Roof Patch / Repair Allowable until the insurance adjuster inspects the property. 

Prior to installing tarp, the servicer must take all before photos for the roof repair/replacement bid that will be required once the insurance adjuster inspects the property for damages. When a tarp is installed, the servicer must inspect the interior and exterior of the property more frequently to validate the continued effectiveness of the tarp. Fannie Mae’s expectation is that the tarp would not remain on the roof more than 60 days from the date of install. Should the tarp become ineffective during the 60 day period, bids to repair must be submitted via HomeTracker.

When the cost to patch/repair an area of the roof exceeds the allowable, the servicer must submit a bid to repair. Flat roofs only require a bid to repair as tarps are ineffective in these instances. The Roof Patch / Repair Allowable includes the repair of all portions of the roof including, but not limited to: chimneys, skylights, roof vents/boots, flashing, decking, and shingles. However, if damage is caused by a claimable peril (wind, hail, tree fall, etc.), roof tarping is allowed temporarily as described above. The allowable also includes the removal of a tarp that has been previously installed if used in conjunction with repairing the roof.

When Submitting a Bid

Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission guidelines and include the following:

  • Provide dimensions of the affected area (square footage).

  • Provide specific interior location of the damage (e.g., the corner of the kitchen ceiling above the sink).

  • Include full photo documentation including interior and exterior photos where the leak is present (including photos taken from the roof and attic photos).

  • Include all insurance documents such as Notice of Claim (NOC), Explanation of Benefits (EOB), adjuster’s estimate, and/or denial letter(s) if applicable.

What To Do If

If…

Then…

The entire roof must be replaced,

Stop all work related to the roof and submit two (2) bids to replace the roof and a bid to tarp the roof via HomeTracker. Cost estimators are permissible when a second qualified roofing contractor bid is unattainable. Refer to Roof Damages in Section 8: Damaged Properties / Disaster Impacted Properties within this Property Preservation Guide.

The chimney, roof vents/boots, flashing, or skylights need to be resealed or replaced,

The Roof Patch / Repair Allowable can be utilized to perform the services.

Damage is not caused by claimable peril and cannot be repaired within the allowable,

Stop all work related to the roof and  tarp the roof within the Roof Patch / Repair Allowable. Submit two (2) bids to repair the roof via HomeTracker. Cost estimators are permissible when a second qualified roofing contractor bid in unattainable.

Photo Examples

Chimney Caps

When a chimney is present and missing a cap/spark arrestor, a maximum of one (1) cap/spark arrestor per chimney and a maximum of two (2) per property may be placed within the Chimney Cap Allowable. When there is more than one (1) flue per chimney, the servicer must utilize one (1) chimney cap to cover the entire chimney when possible.

Photo Examples

Clean Gutter

The servicer must use the Clean Gutter Allowable to clean existing gutters when necessary which includes removal of the associated debris from the property. 

Photo Examples

Repair Gutter

The servicer must use the Repair Gutter Allowable to repair, replace or reattach (secure, refasten) any existing/missing gutter sections and downspouts, including rerouting the downspout to divert the water away from the house.

Expectations

  • When completing gutter repair, ensure the materials and color used match as closely as possible to current materials. 

  • Proper installation for all gutter sections and downspouts is required and must be performed to industry standards. Proper material must be utilized. 

  • If unable to complete within the allowable, the servicer must submit a bid to repair/replace gutters. Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission guidelines.

What To Do If

If…

Then…

There are no gutters and there is no evidence gutters were ever installed,

Do not install gutters. There is no action required.

There is an existing splash guard,

Do not remove. Ensure splash guard is placed under gutter downspout to lessen erosion.

There are gutter section(s) missing and downspout(s) are hanging,

Replace the missing section(s) and reattach the downspout(s) within the allowable.

Photo Examples

Exterior Handrails

The Exterior Handrails Allowable may only be used to repair damaged handrails/railings or replace missing handrails/railings where they previously existed on an elevated patio, balcony, or where three (3) or more steps are present. When local ordinances/association standards differ from Fannie Mae requirements, the servicer must adhere to local ordinance/association standards.

Expectations

  • Replace any missing or broken handrail that cannot be repaired. The servicer must use appropriate handrail materials and ensure the materials and color used match as closely as possible to current materials. Photos must show there was evidence of an existing/previous handrail or where three (3) or more steps are present. 

  • All installed handrails must meet code requirements. 

  • When installing a handrail or repairing/replacing railings/spindles on decks, patios, balconies, porches, etc., the servicer is required to use exterior-rated materials designed for the specified installation. Unfinished lumber (e.g., raw 2x4) is not allowed on missing handrail installations unless it was the original material being repaired. 

What To Do If

If…

Then…

Handrail is missing and it is obvious one was present,

Replace the handrail using appropriate handrail materials.

Handrail is broken and cannot be repaired,

Replace the handrail using appropriate handrail materials.

There is no handrail present and local code requires a handrail,

Install using appropriate handrail materials within the allowable. If unable to complete within the allowable, submit a bid with a copy of the local ordinance. Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photos within this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission guidelines.

There are no handrails present and local ordinance does not require handrails,

There is no action required unless the servicer determines a safety hazard exists without the handrail or where three (3) or more steps are present. Use of the Exterior Handrails Allowable is acceptable in these situations.  

Property has existing handrails that are loose,

Re-secure existing handrails. Utilize the Exterior Handrails Allowable if further repairs are necessary.

A handrail is installed,

The handrail must be installed correctly and meet all code requirements.

An existing handrail is present and does not meet local ordinance/association standards,

Utilize the Exterior Handrails Allowable to bring the handrail into compliance.

Photo Examples

Exterior Dryer Vent Cover

The Exterior Dryer Vent Cover Allowable is to be used only when a cover is not present.

Photo Examples

Roof Cleaning

The servicer is required to ensure the roof is clear of limbs, branches, and excessive accumulation of leaves and moss. The Roof Cleaning Allowable is determined by the amount of debris, in cubic yards, on the roof, not the overall size of the roof itself. 

If the servicer is unable to clean the roof within the allowable threshold, the servicer must submit an over allowable bid via HomeTracker. Bids in these instances must include pictures of interior ceilings/attics to ensure the roof debris has not caused damage to the roof. 

When removing moss present on the roof, the servicer must use a moss/mold/mildew/algae stain remover. Pressure washing in these situations is not acceptable and may cause further damage to the roof.   

Photo Examples

Fascia 

The Fascia Allowable includes repairing and/or replacing up to 20 linear feet (LF) of missing or damaged fascia or more if the price per linear foot is less than allowable.

The servicer must ensure the fascia repair/replacement materials used match current materials. Dimensional lumber is to be primed/painted in order to prevent further damage due to weather.    

Photo Examples

Soffit 

The Soffit Allowable includes repairing and/or replacing up to 20 linear feet (LF) of missing or damaged soffits or more if the price per linear foot is less than allowable.

The servicer must ensure the soffit repair/replacement materials used match current materials. Materials must be primed/painted in order to prevent further damage due to weather.   

Photo Examples

Step Repair

The Step Repair Allowable must be used to repair damaged and/or replace missing steps where steps previously existed. The allowable can be used for repairing/replacing tread, risers, and/or stringers. When local ordinances/association standards differ from Fannie Mae requirements, the servicer must adhere to local ordinance/association standards.

Expectations

  • Replace any missing or broken steps that cannot be repaired. The servicer must use appropriate step materials and ensure the materials and color used match as closely as possible to current materials. Photos should show there was evidence of an existing/previous step. 

  • All installed steps must meet code requirements. 

  • When installing/repairing steps, the servicer is required to use appropriately-rated materials. 

What To Do If

If…

Then…

The steps are broken and cannot be repaired,

Replace using appropriate materials within the allowable.

No steps are present and local code/ordinance requires steps,

Install using appropriate materials within the allowable. If unable to complete within the allowable, submit a bid with a copy of the local ordinance. Refer to Section 2: Technology and Photoswithin this Property Preservation Guide for bid submission guidelines.  

There are no steps present and local code/ordinance does not require steps,

There is no action required unless the servicer determines a safety hazard exists without the repair. Use of the Step Repair Allowable is acceptable in these situations. 

The steps are loose,

Re-secure the steps. Utilize the Step Repair Allowable if further repairs are necessary.

Existing steps do not meet local ordinance/association standards,

Utilize the Step Repair Allowable to bring into compliance.

Photo Examples

Graffiti Removal

The Graffiti Removal Allowable must be used to cover up graffiti markings on the exterior of the property and the interior, when viewable from the street.

Expectations

  • All vulgar, obscene, or inappropriate words/comments/artwork found in the interior must be covered if viewable from the street or required by local ordinance.

  • Any graffiti found on the exterior must be covered with paint that matches as close as possible to exterior paint. 

  • The servicer is expected to use the correct product and/or number of paint coats necessary for ensuring graffiti is properly covered.

What To Do If

If…

Then…

The interior walls have crayon/pencil or other markings that are not vulgar, obscene, or inappropriate,

No action required.

Interior walls have height charts, contractor markings, or other non-offensive markings or drawings,

No action required.

There is graffiti on the window(s),

Use the allowable to clean the window using appropriate products.

There is exterior graffiti on masonry, concrete, hard plastic, or other semi/non-porous materials,

Use the allowable to pressure wash in order to remove the graffiti.

Local ordinance/association standards require the servicer to paint plywood boards in Fannie Mae approved plywood instances.

Use the allowable to paint the plywood boards to adhere to local ordinance/association standards.

Photo Examples

To see other sub-topics for Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services, please click on any of the topics below:  

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Overview

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Initial Securing

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Initial Services: Property Interior

Section 5: Initial Securing and Initial Services: Identifying Property Conditions

 

 

 

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