What’s Going On In Real Estate?
How much market activity has there been in the last 2 weeks?
There has definitely been a slow down of new properties to hit the market, but many of these properties are showing up on the “off market”. If you are interested in know about these, please respond to this message. Some sellers are making available videos that will allow me to show these to you virtually.
Market Activity 3/15/2020-4/3/2020 in Alameda
- 13 new listings
- 1 Back on the Market
- 13 Properties went Pending
- 15 Properties Sold
- 3 Withdrawn
- 5 Cancelled
Compared with this same time last year, the activity is definitely less this year. For example, this time last year there were 25 Properties Sold between 3/15/19-4/3/19 vs. 15 Properties Sold this year.
How are prices holding up since the SIP order?
While some properties are selling at or above seller expectations, others are seeing 10-15% less than they expected.
What are mortgage servicers doing to help those who are experiencing hardship at this time?
Companies are offering Forebearance programs. I advise calling your mortgage servicer to find out the details and possible penalties. Here’s a great reference I got from a lender friend:
- Who Qualifies for Forbearances? Anyone suffering financial hardship b/c of the COVID-19 crisis. Some servicers will take the borrower’s word but many will request “proof” of some sort. Borrowers who are not in financial peril should be careful about claiming they are, as they risk fraud charges.
- How Do I Obtain a Forbearance? Borrowers need to contact their servicer and apply for it. They should not simply stop making payments.
- Do I Have to Pay Back Missed Payments? Yes – without a doubt. Some servicers will want all of the missed payments repaid as soon as the forbearance ends; some will want to restructure entire loans; and some will want to set up repayment over a period of months. Servicers will most likely try to work out the repayment system when borrowers apply for forbearances.
- Does It Matter What Type of Mortgage I Have? Yes. Forbearances will be easier to obtain for conforming (Fannie/Freddie), FHA and VA loans. Jumbo and non-QM borrowers, however, will have a more difficult time obtaining forbearances b/c the government does not have as much influence over those channels.
How Will a Forbearance Affect My Credit? If borrowers obtain a formal approval for a forbearance, it should not affect their credit. If borrowers just stop making payments, however, without getting an approval from their servicer, it will likely impact their credit – severely. There is a caveat here too: while credit reports will not show late payments when borrowers get their forbearances approved, future lenders will be able to see if a borrower obtained a forbearance in many cases, and that could affect credit decisions. This is something we saw with loan modifications after the 2008 crisis.
- Should I Go Through With My Purchase or Refinance If I Am Likely to Seek a Forbearance? Absolutely not. Not only will it be extremely difficult for borrowers to obtain a formal forbearance approval for a recently funded loan, missing payments on newly funded loans put the originating lender in extreme financial peril.
Allowable Realtor Duties
In the last 2 weeks, allowable Realtors’ duties have changed. We have now been deemed (as of 3/31/20) an essential service however many restrictions still thankfully apply.
- No Open Houses, No Broker Tours
- If at all possible, showings should be done Virtually.
- If a virtual showing is not feasible, entrance into a property may be made under the following conditions: by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in-person visits are not allowed when the occupant is still residing in the residence). This has been defined by the Counties as allowing entrance into the property only if it is vacant.
The health and safety of my community is my highest priority. My advice to both buyers and sellers right now is to wait, if at all possible. Because showings are still mostly virtual, sellers will not be able to fully market their homes. For buyers, there are many delays to be expected for transactions while inspectors, appraisers and lenders have less bandwidth and availability. If the home is occupied by either seller or tenant, in-person showings are still prohibited.
With this in mind, I know that there are buyers and sellers, even now, who still need to move forward with their individual real estate needs. Let’s talk if you find yourself in this category.
As always, if there is anything I can do to be of service let me know.