Updates on The Real Estate Market

We understand it is an uncertain time for both physical and financial wellness. We want to keep you updated with what we know. We have decades of collective experience to draw from and we’ve been monitoring all of our sources closely and what we know is…

Update for Friday, April 3rd, 2020

Residential real estate is now classified as an essential service

This means that no open houses should be held. Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

We know it is imperative that we practice strict health and safety protocols to protect ourselves, our clients and our community. California Association of Realtors released documentation to guide the real estate industry in doing just that.

According to CAR: “Not withstanding this new development, all real estate licensees must take into account the health and safety of their clients and fellow licensees, and follow the existing protocols for protecting against the spread of COVID-19. If such heath safeguards and protocols are not followed, the rule for the state could easily change to stop or restrict all real estate activity. To that end, in conformity with current health guidelines, real estate licensees should follow all CDC and local health mandates.”

You can read the full statement from CAR here

California Association of Realtors also released a set of guidelines for COVID-19.

  • Showings should be done virtually, if at all possible.
  • All activities should be completed electronically, if at all possible.
  • Sellers are to be advised that they should not be present within a dwelling at the same time as other individuals. 
    • Sellers are to be advised that they may remain on the property 
    • If a seller insists on remaining on the property, that seller is to agree to the terms and sign the declaration that is required for persons entering the property.
  • Any persons on the property must agree to adhere strictly to the social distancing guidelines at all times by remaining at least six feet apart per the recommendations established by the CDC. 
  • Sellers and buyers must be expressly made aware of the risks of showing and visiting properties

You can read the full COVID-19 guidelines here

Update for Friday, March 27th 2020

Here are the top 3 tips we want you to know:

1) Looking for mortgage payment relief?
Call your mortgage servicer or bank and ask, it just takes a phone call.

2) Changes in pay or concerns about income?
Learn about what stimulus benefits you are eligible for atIRS.gov

3) If you are still in the market, you’re not alone.
Time is on your side to prepare for launch so that you can enter the market without delay, when you are ready. Buyers, interests rates are very favorable for expanding your purchasing power.

Mortgage and Rent Forbearance, Eviction delays

“Landlords may be allowed to fall behind on their mortgage payments amid the coronavirus outbreak in return for not kicking renters out of apartments.”
More information at: latimes.com

“CNBC Make It rounded up a list of what many major banks are offering to do for Americans affected by the current health crisis. Keep in mind that most banks are providing relief on a case-by-case basis and you may not qualify for all of the programs. If your bank or financial institution is not listed, you should still reach out directly to ask about what assistance it can provide. We will update this list as we receive more information.”
More information at: CNBC.com

“Fannie Mae wants to help ensure families are given optionsin these uncertain times in the case of job loss, a reduction in work hours, illness, or other issues.We want to remind those impacted by COVID-19 of available mortgage assistance and relief options.”
More information at: fanniemae.com

Update for Friday, March 20th 2020

Real Estate Hasn’t Come to a Halt

We’ve put 3 homes into escrow this week. Some buyers might think they want to slow down and wait to see what the market will do – but we don’t think that is the answer.

We also just closed 4 new leases this week; we think that it is a great time to diversify your real estate portfolio with investment properties, like rental buildings.

mls westside 15 year chart

Over the past 25 years, the real estate market has dipped several times, including during the dot-com crisis in the 1990s and the financial crisis in 2008. As the market recovered, real estate values ultimately met and then exceeded prior values.If you’re in it for the long term, real estate is a strong, safe investment that continues to trend upward, despite occasional drops.

Other headlines we think our community would benefit from:

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Slightly Up, But Still Historically Low

Our partners are advising buyers to make offers that include a longer-than-standard loan contingency period. Because lenders are busy with a flood of borrowers refinancing and buyers taking advantage of low rates, allowing more time for loan approval will be helpful. If during that time the market changes – renegotiate. Time is your friend in this market.

“While a rate cut alone won’t directly impact mortgage rates (except for home equity-lines), the Fed may also propose other types of economic stimuli, which could improve mortgage rates.  Similar to stocks, mortgage rates rise and fall based on demand. Recently, there have been more sellers than buyers, which has actually caused mortgage rates to go UP. If the Fed starts buying mortgage backed securities (MBS) as part of its stimulus package, it would relieve some of the stress and bring mortgage rates down.” – Jonathan O’Donnell, Mortgage Broker

There is Relief for Homeowners Who Have Lost Income…

According to NPR, “Federal regulators, through the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are ordering lenders to offer homeowners flexibility. The move covers about half of all home loans in the U.S. — those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie. But regulators expect that the entire mortgage industry will quickly adopt a similar policy.

Under the plan, people who have suffered a loss of income can qualify to make reduced payments or be granted a complete pause in payments.”

Source: NPR

And for Renters

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday evening issued an executive order making it clear that local governments can impose eviction protections for tenants who are unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus or loss of income as a result of the outbreak…

According to the governor’s order, such ordinances should spell out that if a tenant cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19, that tenant’s rental payment is deferred for a reasonable period but not waived.”
Source: CAA.org

Closing Escrow From a Safe Distance

“Social distancing restrictions and business closures are making it hard for the people required to conduct a home closing to gather in one room. Plus, with some municipal buildings closed, recording a sale might not be possible. But, as much as they are able, parties appear to be trying to make the closings work.” – Source:CNN

At Halton Pardee + Partners, we’ve closed many sales remotely. Our partners have even facilitated the sale of properties without ever meeting their clients in person when those sellers primarily live in another state (or country. Rest assured, there is not much that can’t be accomplished by phone, text, email, and digital applications such as Docusign.

When Life Events/Changes Make Moving Necessary

If you’re currently on the market to sell – remain steadfast, you don’t have anything to lose. Buyers are still making offers and you are not obligated to accept any offer you don’t want to. If leasing your property makes more sense than selling at this time, then that is also something to consider. The question is common — “should I sell, lease, or stay?”. We are happy to discuss options and strategize with you. After all, this is our area of expertise and it’s what we love to do.

We know this is a challenging time but we’ve got this. We are here for you.