We are on a fast moving ship of news these days, aren’t we? As I read articles about real estate and the mortgage market, I’m shocked how quickly things transpire. However, I’m also trying to spread more positive news to balance out some of the more concerning articles I’m seeing. Bottom line for me is that I’m looking for any shred of a silver lining and identifying how my clients can weather the storm and find opportunity in the marketplace.
After the government mandated lockdown pulled back its scope, the real estate community has returned to work so normalcy can continue and agents can make things happen for their clients. Realtors and other professionals have now been deemed essential. Agents can continue to market and show property, with the exception of open houses and broker tours. We have been encouraged to conduct virtual tours whenever possible but can show properties under certain guidelines. Properties need to be vacant and limited to 2 people, and we must always maintain social distance. In this environment, common sense is king, and no one should jeopardize their own health at any time.
Service providers are now back in action as well. Appraisals are once again taking place, although most are simply limited to the exterior. From a social distancing perspective, these precautions are certainly beneficial. The green light also shines on home inspectors as they return from the sidelines for the first time in weeks.
My title and escrow agents have never stopped performing their responsibilities. The companies I am using have barred any face-to-face signings, however they have been functioning 100% from the start of this ordeal using mobile notaries and doing E-Recordings at City Hall. Their jobs are truly essential as all transactions would stop without their vital services.
One of my lenders mentioned that all new purchases and jumbo loans are still moving forward and are being treated with high priority. Refinance loans are taking longer and some banks are requiring clients to have over $250K in that institution’s accounts to qualify for a jumbo loan. However, there are many lenders and mortgage brokers out there that will not need that requirement for refi loans, so take advantage of the ridiculously low rates.
Sales and current escrows are down approximately 30%, which is a big drop, though not unexpected given what we are seeing take place. Fortunately, this reaffirms that transactions are still taking place. Properties are getting into contract and things will continue to loosen up and return to the new normal. Stay humble and thankful.