Want to buy a new home in two years? Avoid foreclosure now

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Fannie Mae says it will make it easier for struggling homeowners who avoid foreclosure now to buy a home in the future.

Under new rules that will take effect in July, Fannie says it will allow homeowners who voluntarily transfer ownership through a "deed in lieu of foreclosure" or complete a short sale, where the home is sold for less than is owed, to apply for a new mortgage it will back.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-backed mortgage-finance companies that back about half of the U.S. mortgage market.

Homeowners must wait two years after their home is sold or transferred to apply for a new loan that would be backed by Fannie. Currently, borrowers must wait four years. The rules will remain the same for foreclosures. Fannie still won't help you until five years have passed.

To be able to apply for a new loan after the two years, you must be able to make a 20 percent down payment, unless you have extenuating circumstances such as a job loss. In that case, you might be able to put down 10 percent.

Of course, Freddie still can't help your credit score. If you've had financial troubles, your credit has likely taken a hit, and it can take up to seven years for that to clear. A poor credit score will almost certainly hamper your ability to get a loan.
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