May

Numerous changes are underway

Real estate‚ by nature‚ is an “in-person” business. Open houses‚ private showings‚ and a crowded closing table are all part of the profession. In these times of social distancing‚ how are real estate professionals adapting? Take a look1:

  • Gone (for the moment) are the days of sharing a car with clients on the way to a showing. “I’ll meet you there” is the new norm.
  • Open houses are currently on hold (Redfin stopped the practice on March 16). Tours are being recorded and shared or broadcast live through apps like FaceTime.
  • Remote signings and notarizations—now legal in 23 states—are more commonplace.
  • The FHFA instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to adopt “alternative” appraisal methods to limit in‑person interactions.2 This has led to more “drive‑by” appraisals‚ which are supplemented with data gathered from public and private sources.

I wish you good health as your business adapts to the current climate. I am here if you need assistance.

1Charisse Jones‚ “3D tours‚ remote signings: How coronavirus is changing homebuying this spring‚” USA Today‚ last updated March 24‚ 2020.
2Dima Williams‚ “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac adopt ‘alternative’ home appraisals due to coronavirus‚” Forbes‚ last updated March 23‚ 2020.

May

Memorial Day volunteer and donation opportunities

Honor‚ remembrance‚ reflection. These are the true purposes of Memorial Day. If you are uncertain of how to honor our fallen heroes‚ consider volunteering with and/or donating to one of the following organizations:

  • TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). Created by bereaved military families‚ TAPS provides counseling and support groups to those grieving the death of a military loved one.
  • Knights of Heroes. Through its outdoor adventure programs‚ Knights of Heroes offers adult mentorship‚ character development‚ and lasting friendships to children who have lost a parent in service to our country.
  • American Widow Project. Founded in 2007‚ the American Widow Project delivers peer counseling and educational programs to help widows rebuild their lives.
  • Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. Provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

I hope you find this information to be helpful. Here’s to a safe and healthy holiday weekend.

May

Free credit reports available until April 2021

In an effort to help Americans better protect their financial health during these difficult economic times‚ the three main credit reporting agencies are now offering free weekly online credit reports. Here’s what consumers need to know:

  • Experian‚ TransUnion‚ and Equifax announced that free weekly reports from each agency are available until April 2021.
  • The process for obtaining reports remains the same: Consumers visit AnnualCreditReport.com‚ fill out a form that includes their name‚ Social Security Number‚ and current address‚ and then select which agency’s report they wish to receive.
  • Consumers are advised to save reports as PDFs or print them out.
  • Credit reports do not include a credit score. Reports give access to the credit information that is used to calculate a score.

I hope your customers find this information to be helpful. As always‚ I enjoy staying in touch.

May

Overall home sales up 0.8%

COVID-19’s impact on the housing market is just starting to be felt. And while the latest numbers are unfavorable‚ silver linings can be found. Here is the most recent housing data from the National Association of REALTORS®1:

  • Total existing home sales fell 8.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March. Despite the decline‚ overall sales were up 0.8% from a year ago—the ninth straight month of increases.
  • The median sales price jumped 8% from this time last year to $280‚600.
  • March’s national price increase marked 97 straight months of year-over-year gains.

I wish you good health as your business adapts to the current climate. I am here if you need assistance.

1“Home sales increase year-over-year despite expected monthly March sales decline due to impact of COVID-19‚” National Association of REALTORS®‚ last updated April 21‚ 2020.

May

What buyers are willing to pay for energy efficiency

To receive savings on future utility bills‚ homebuyers are willing to pay the price now.1 The National Association of Home Builders explored this topic in its 2019 edition of ‘What Home Buyers Really Want.’ The numbers:

  • To gain $1‚000 in annual energy savings‚ buyers are ready to spend an additional $8‚728.
  • Forty-six percent said they would pay between $1‚000 and $9‚999 to earn $1‚000 in savings; 37% said they would spend more than $10‚000.
  • For those shopping for homes priced $500‚000 or more‚ the amount they would pay is $10,560.

Creating a ‘green’ home can be costly‚ but buyers do not appear to be shying away from the required investment. I hope you find this information to be helpful.

1Carmel Ford‚ “How much are buyers willing to pay for energy efficiency?” Eye on Housing‚ last updated April 12‚ 2019.