Real Estate TransitionsTips for Home BuyingTips for Home Selling April 3, 2020

Tips for Home Selling & Buying | Covid19 & Real Estate

There is information overload as we all hunker down and observe the Washington State Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order (SHSHO) and the Federal Social Distancing Guidelines.  We thought it might be helpful to highlight some of the information related to the CARES Act and Staying in your Home and the latest rules related to Buying/Selling Real Estate during the SHSHO.

As in, you want to stay in the home you have but are worried about the financial consequences of this Pandemic.  Here are some of the relevant components of the CARES Act signed by the President on 3/27/2020.

  • Mortgage Forbearance – an agreement with your lender to hold back from foreclosure activities when you can’t meet your repayment obligations. If you can pay your mortgage, you should continue to do so. If you can’t make your payment due to a decline in income resulting from the impact of Covid-19, you should call your lender/mortgage servicer.
    • Borrowers of government-backed mortgages can request up to 360-day payment forbearance.
    • Applies to single family homes and condominiums, independent of whether they are owner occupied, a second home, or an investment property.
    • Proof of hardship isn’t necessary
    • No additional fees, interest, or penalties can be assessed for the forbearance.
    • Except for abandoned or vacant property, no foreclosure actions can be initiated for 60 days from 3/18/2020.

  • Government-Backed Mortgages – this includes loan products from the Veteran’s Administration, USDA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Conventional Loans that are backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Don’t know if your loan qualifies?
  • Non-Government Backed Mortgages – call your lender/mortgage servicer if this is a temporary problem related to Covid19. Many companies are providing assistance and putting plans in place.  Many are willing to provide zero interest & late fee deferral options and have paused in process foreclosure sales, evictions and repossessions. No one wants a repeat of the subprime 2008 mortgage crisis!

  • Assistance for Renters – There is a 120-day suspension on evictions for renters unable to pay in Federally-assisted properties (single family & multifamily properties) with loans owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Real Estate is not considered an essential services, but given the impact on the economy of real estate, real estate brokers have been given very specific guidelines as to what we can and can’t do to balance the need for housing sales and purchases to continue and to keep people safe.

  • As of April 2nd, we CAN do the following: We are getting daily updates as to what we can and can’t do. Currently we can list homes on the market, stage homes, have professional photography, show homes, facilitate essential services like (lending, title, escrow and county recording) and other limited essential services like moving assistance, home inspections, emergency or structural integrity home repairs, and all of this activity must be by appointment only and observing Covid19 guidelines. We CANNOT hold open houses or brokers opens. However, things might have changed by the time you read this article – so check with your Real Estate Broker for the latest details.

  • Homes are Selling & Closing: Interest rates are low, there continues to be a demand for housing, and as we navigate the what we can and can’t do, the housing supply is there also. Last week as the SHSHO was in place – we weren’t allowed to do a lot of what we can do today, so the numbers took a slight dip. We expect that to improve in the next few weeks as we carefully and respectfully keep guiding our clients who are selling & buying and closing on their sales. The market is becoming more balanced generally if you have a 3-6 month supply of homes, you have a balanced market and as of April 1st we had 2.3 months of supply on the Eastside.

Article Published in the Woodinville Weekly Real Estate Section. Since 2017 The Blue Team has written the bi-monthly Real Estate Column sharing their expertise in this community publications. Sharing their Tips for Home Buying, Tips for Home Selling, Tips for Investors, Buying & Selling Luxury Homes, Real Estate Transitions (Including Relocation & Senior Real Estate Tips), and Equestrian Real Estate.