I hope this update finds you and your family well. The market is still active, although changing. I have been able to experience a lot of what I outlined below in the past week (the result of a closing, offers going under contract, home inspections, showings, written offers and more).
I have been working hard the past week to ensure all of my current buyer/seller under contract/attorney review transactions move forward in the best interests of my clients (and in accordance with federal, state and local government directives). In parallel, I am working with all of my business partners throughout the end-to-end process to position current buyers and sellers for success not only during this COVID-19 environment, but also for the emerging post-virus market.
There are many touch points in the process and many have their own governing bodies and or company guidelines where they are still developing processes and regulations as they relate to COVID-19.
Below I will share some of the touch points and some general information. By all means, please understand this is not legal or financial advice for how transactions should or will be handled. Situations and federal, state and local government guidance can also change by the hour!
- Open houses - Weichert has cancelled all public open houses. I am working on developing "virtual open houses" for all of my active listings so I can continue to market properties on behalf of my sellers
- Private showings of homes - they are currently continuing (ONLY if sellers want them) with tight social distancing/safety guidelines and many brokers requiring addendums/disclosures as to any virus exposure before a home can be shown. I am also taking steps to work with sellers (and buyers) to ensure a safe buying/selling process/environment for you. The health and well-being of all of our Weichert and local community is paramount and always comes first. The North Central Jersey Association of Realtors requires that if an agent is aware that the seller or an occupant of a property tested positive for COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone who has and is currently quarantined in place at that property, the agent should ward all people who would otherwise visit that property and should postpone any such visit.
- Real Estate Attorneys are hard at work adopting new contract language, adjusting contract timelines and partnering with me to ensure all critical milestones can be achieved whether for buyer or seller.
- Home inspections - These are currently ongoing at the moment, so long as the inspector takes prudent safety precautions and when performing the inspection, does not conflict with government orders and recommendations.
- General contractor inspections - these often emerge as a result of an item found in the home inspection. Similar guidelines apply to those of the home inspections listed above.
- Mortgage/appraisals - While the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through 5/17/20, I encourage each person who may be considering a purchase or re-fi to consult with their lender/mortgage rep to learn their specific new company (as well as mortgage industry) guidelines as they continue to evolve and as they will vary lender to lender.
- Title - Most title companies are conducting business. The orders for titles are being opened, and searches are currently being conducted, as most counties are digital and online. In most cases, liens & encumbrances can be removed remotely.
- Certificate of Occupancy - Each town in the area has adopted different procedures on how they are handling Certificate of Occupancy's (CO) as each town also has different requirements.
- Closing Partners - Closing partners are working with attorneys to establish safe protocols and social distancing. This is an area where practices continue to develop and will be driven by the closing partner in coordination with the real estate attorney.
Wishing all a safe and healthy day/year!