County Covid-19 regs supersede fed's "essential services" privileges
On Saturday the federal government released a new list of “essential services” that now includes residential/commercial real estate and settlement services. However, Bay Area Counties, including Alameda and Contra Costa, have not adopted the federal amendment and more stringent restrictions remain in place. Although CCAR is actively working to reach a workable solution with local counties, you must continue to adhere to the County restrictions: including NO OPEN HOUSES + NO IN-PERSON SHOWINGS. Please conduct in-person business via virtual technology. Click on Counties to learn more: Alameda County | Contra Costa County.
Coronavirus Rescue Bill includes REALTOR® benefits
The new federal COVID-19 rescue package contains numerous benefits for REALTORS® including unemployment eligibility for the self-employed and independent contractors, unprecedented aid for small businesses and a delay in business payroll tax payments.
NAR has compiled a comprehensive guide to all benefits for REALTORS® and their customers. | READ MORE >
In response to the statewide Shelter in Place Order, CCAR offices in Walnut Creek and Richmond are closed until further notice. We continue to provide uninterrupted membership services via remote access, with the exception of lockbox/key service and in-store purchases. We wish you the best of health during this time and will continue to serve you at the highest levels possible.
C.A.R. Coronavirus Hotline
During the Shelter in Place Order, members can register for live, remote courses on the CCAR Calendar. Once registered, you will be sent a link to view the class from your location.
You may also schedule 1:1 core courses by appointment for 30-60 minute sessions. For more information please contact: email@example.com; tel: (925) 295-9210.
CCAR Core Courses include Intro to Paragon, Auto-Notifications Using Collaboration Center, Intro to CMA Reports Using Cloud CMA, Intro to RPR and Intro to zipForm Plus.
C.A.R. PRESENTS: HOW TO USE ZOOM: Fri, Mar 27 | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Register >
(Click “Open Zoom” at the start of the class to enter the virtual meeting.)
THIS TOO SHALL PASS – The Brian Buffini Show Podcast, An Interview with Dr. Lawrence Yun
In these uncertain times, it’s vital to arm yourself with facts so you can prepare for and deal with any challenges. In this podcast, Brian interviews NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun and gets his take on how the economy and the housing market will be affected by the Coronavirus. Replacing fear with facts, this content will help you navigate this difficult time for our country, our world and specifically our marketplace.
CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE – The Brian Buffini Show Podcast
In this episode, Brian Buffini delves into the concept of personal and business philosophies and shares how they influence our lives. You’ll learn the two most common reasons we’re reluctant to change, how to handle those ‘goofy’ thoughts that impede our progress, and the six questions that will help you define your personal and business philosophies.
HOW TO BE MENTALLY TOUGH – The Brian Buffini Show Podcast
In this episode, Brian describes the characteristics of mentally tough people, explains how analyzing your patterns will reveal where you need to grow, and provides powerful how-to’s to guarantee success. By the end of the episode, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever challenges may come your way, rise above them, and live the good life!
C.A.R. HOUSING MATTERS PODCAST
Your housing hub for market analysis, economic trends, and housing news from the California Association of REALTORS®. Be sure to subscribe to hear the latest episode every other Friday to learn what you need to know about the market from C.A.R. experts who will give you their take on the week’s top real estate stories.
CCAR is now providing laptop service via REMOTE ACCESS (telephone). Contact Membership Services to make an online appointment: (firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 925-295-1270). Laptop sales are temporarily suspended.
CCAR offices closed. Please DO NOT drop off computers at CCAR until further notice.
“STAY AT HOME” & REAL ESTATE
Q: Are real estate sales an “essential service” in the context of the Bay Area’s “Shelter-in-Place” order and/or Governor Newsom’s “Shelter-in-Place” statewide order?
No. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 requires all Californians to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations in 16 infrastructure sectors. This supersedes all existing local, city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction.” Therefore, for the health and safety of our members and their clients, REALTORS® should cease doing all in person marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person.
Full C.A.R. Guidance on Stay-at-Home is found here.
Q: Are real estate offices allowed to stay open?
Not unless there you are conducting essential business under the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.
Q: Is C.A.R. saying that there is no exception for real estate? The governor’s order references the federal exemptions — and real estate is in there. What’s the scope?
Yes, for Property Management and repair work there is an exception because activities that generally involve maintaining sanitary and safety conditions are permissible.
Q: If we are not exempted as an essential industry, are we to send our staff home immediately?
Q: Are agents allowed to hold open houses if they follow social distancing rules?
Agents should stop holding open houses or any in person activities.
Q: Can home inspections still be performed?
Agents should stop any in person interaction including inspections.
Q: Are we allowed to do private showing if the property is vacant?
No, not at this time.
Q: Can we do final walk-throughs?
No, not at this time.
Q: Can C.A.R. issue guidelines on what specific activities can and cannot be performed by Realtors? Can you please provide these interpretations in writing and address “essential business” in concert with the Governor so we can have more clarity for the whole state on all these topics – showings, lockbox showings, inspections, appraisals, notaries, etc.
Yes, it is found here: Statement on Stay-at-Home Order | Coronavirus
Q: What if my city or county deems real estate as essential but the state of California does not?
The state of California supersedes all local ordinances.
Q: Is C.A.R. advocating for us to be an “essential business?”
C.A.R. is working diligently with the Governor’s office to have real estate classified as an essential service. That will clear up the confusion over what is and is not allowed with respect to real estate activities. If successful we will be in the company of several other states who already have this classification for real estate.
However, until we get confirmation of any change from “non-essential” to “essential” our official advice is unchanged. Specifically, for the health and safety of our members and their clients, REALTORS® should cease all in-person marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. The state executive order supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction. That is today. coronavirus situation and order restricting behavior continue to rapidly shift. We are committed to keeping you updated immediately as the situation evolves and policies change.
But please remember that the health and safety of human lives is of the utmost importance as you are continuing to conduct business as safely as possible.
Q: Do we close businesses even if we are a small business?
We are exploring what we can do to. Forwarding your mail is advisable. There is no confusion that you need to send your employees home because real estate has been deemed non- essential at this time.
Q: What if I need an emergency Small Business Loan?
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. This legislation, recently signed by the President, declares COVID-19 a disaster following a request received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Director Mark S. Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on March 13, 2020.
Q: Can Realtors receive benefits from stimulus benefits? Independent Contractors need help now.
On March 19th, C.A.R. sent a letter to the California Congressional Delegation asking Congress to include benefits and forgivable SBA loans for self-employed independent contractors in the next bill addressing the coronavirus crisis. C.A.R. and NAR ask Congress for aid for REALTORS®.
Additionally, thanks to the first round of stimulus (Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act) – REALTORS® are qualified if they are “small businesses” as defined impacted by COVID-19 since Jan. 31, 2020. They can apply online for these Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) SBA Disaster Loan Assistance.
(N.B. Under California’s order real estate sales, rental leasing, and all ancillary industries directly involved in sales and leasing transaction will come to an immediate halt. An SBA loan, even with zero interest rate, won’t help most independent contractors if they are unable to perform their work to pay the loan back.)
Q: Large brokerage, more than 50% of our agents receive their mail at the office. There is a skeleton crew there right now trying to figure out how to go remote. There are 100 pieces of mail every day, how do we handle that?
No legal interpretation. Reasonable to have one person go to the office to collect mail and placed in a location to access it. And reroute your mail elsewhere.
IN CONTRACT & FORCE MAJEURE
Q: If I can still close a transaction but can’t do a home inspection, how do I close?
A buyer is not legally required to have a home inspection as part of the purchase process. In other words, it is legal to close escrow without first having a home inspection conducted. Of course, there are risks associated with this course of action. Agents should discuss the situation with their buyer clients and let the client decide if they are comfortable closing the purchase without a home inspection. If the buyer elects to proceed, the agent should confirm this choice in writing. C.A.R. Form BIW – Buyer Inspection Waiver – can be used for the buyer to confirm their choice to waive inspections.
Q: So, if we can’t do an inspection how do we close? Can we do a virtual inspection?
As discussed above, transactions can close without inspections. With respect to the Agent Visual Inspection, this is generally required and not typically waivable. However, it is unlikely that a Realtor would face consequences for failing to conduct an Agent Visual Inspection when they were legally prohibited from doing so. If possible, conducting an inspection virtually (presumably with the cooperation of a seller) may be the best option at this time.
Q: Is Force Majeure in the RPA?
No, there is no Force Majeure clause in the RPA. However in some extraordinary circumstances (such as pandemic perhaps) California Civil Code Section 1511.2 will excuse parties from their contractual obligations.
Q: What form gives the right under force majeure?
If the parties want to introduce a form of Force Majeure clause into the contract, they may -use the new C.A.R. Form CVA – Coronavirus Addendum/Amendment.
Q: Who wrote the amendment/addendum is consultation with whom, and why? Force majeure protections were already there for buyers if appropriate without damaging sellers with a “free out” for buyers.
The new Form CVA was created by C.A.R. because there is not currently a force majeure clause in the RPA or any other C.A.R. purchase agreement. The form is designed to give clarity to a buyer and seller regarding what will happen if the transaction cannot be closed. The form can be used as an addendum if the parties are not yet in contract or as an addendum if they are already in escrow but either way the form is optional, and no one is required to sign it.
Q: What about release of deposits once contingencies are removed?
If contingencies have been removed, the seller may still be entitled to the earnest money deposit in the event the buyer does not close escrow. Any rights for the buyer to reclaim the deposit may depend on the specific circumstances of the transaction and buyer involved. As always, escrow will almost certainly require mutually executed instructions by both buyer and seller before releasing the deposit to either side.
Q: Will currently scheduled appraisals be curtailed or are those considered part of the financial sector?
This may depend on the escrow and appraiser involved. Many lenders and appraisers are continuing to proceed and consider themselves exempt from the current restrictions as part of the financial services sector. Agents are still advised not to schedule any face-to-face interactions at this time.
Q: Regarding the Coronavirus Addendum (CVA) items 2 and 3, per escrow they will still need the Cancellation of Contract (CC) form to be signed by all parties in order to cancel and refund deposits. They want that to be clear that they cannot do that with CVA alone.
Yes, escrow will still require buyer and seller to mutually execute cancellation instructions, such as C.A.R. Form CC, before cancelling the escrow and releasing the deposit to either party.
Q: Do we have any changes with virtual notaries? Are those permitted in CA? If not, can you push on that which would help with closings?
Virtual notaries are not currently allowed under California law. C.A.R. is working on emergency legislation that would allow for virtual notaries.
Q: I have a situation with a seller rent-back and the buyer should get the key by next Friday. Can buyer have seller move out and obtain the access? Can the buyer do an inspection/walk-through?
Some local cities and counties specifically allow moving companies to continue operation. However, there is no such allowance under the statewide rules, which are more restrictive and supersede the local ordinances. It’s not clear however. If the escrow has closed it is probably ok to move out or move in. However, the walk-through is probably not permitted.
Q: What about older clients who cannot do DocuSign? Is there a way to do a limited power of attorney with voice memo?
Current California law requires a Power of Attorney to be granted only via a notarized document or another written document signed by two witnesses. You may want to check with your escrow and title officer regarding specific requirements and what options may be available to your clients. The U.S. mail is always an option.
Q: I have a buyer who is cleared to close with loan docs ready. They now they say they do not want to buy the house. Can this be covered? Then there is a similar situation and the buyer is asking for a 500k price reduction. Is this extortion?
The rights of the buyer may be different depending on whether they are unable or simply unwilling to close. Requesting a price reduction is not typically considered extortion, but an aggressive form of negotiating.
THE MARKET & HOME FINANCE
Q: What about liquidity in the mortgage markets?
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Treasury and Federal Reserve are all taking very significant steps to maintain market liquidity. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to zero and announced that it would expand its balance sheet by $700 billion, pledging to purchase $500 billion of U.S. Treasuries and $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). FHFA is providing mortgage backed securities investors with short-term financing and has stated that landlords with government-backed loans wouldn’t face foreclosure if they didn’t evict their tenants.
At the same time, the concern remains that, depending how significant the loss in jobs, some borrowers will be unable to pay on their loans. Banks are facing pressures that will make it hard for them to step in by making or purchasing mortgages others are dumping. Corporate borrowers have been drawing down credit lines at banks, siphoning off cash and raising the prospect that the lenders will eventually incur losses.
Q: Are appraisers deemed essential?
Appraisers are not deemed essential at this time; however, the FHFA announced today they are allowing for greater flexibility to appraisal requirements for Fannie and Freddie loans.
Q: We are hearing of Automated Valuation Model (AVM) appraisals in lieu of in person appraising…There are some folks looking into FaceTime appraisals…. What is the status of this?
On Monday, March 23, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide alternative flexibilities to satisfy appraisal requirements and employment verification requirements through May 17, 2020. For more information see Public Affairs Detail | Federal Housing Finance Agency. As an example, Freddie Mac will accept either an appraisal with an exterior-only inspection or a desktop appraisal (as described below) in lieu of the interior and exterior inspection appraisal as released in their servicing bulletin here: Bulletin 2020-2 Servicing.
Q: What about the loan doc signing? How do we handle that?
Guidance currently from Escrow & Title Notaries (Notes & Deeds sending via Fed Ex for now, remaining through DocuSign or other electronic signature) that have agreed to set up outside tables with sterile environment before and after client signings, and they keep the pen to avoid exposure for anyone. Avoiding, where possible, going into homes or having to have clients go into escrow offices. Looking into e-signing on camera and limited power of attorney to escrow.
IMPACT ON MLS STATUSES, SHOWING INSTRUCTIONS & DOM
Q: Can all MLS’s freeze Days on market (DOM) effective today?
Impact on MLS Statuses, Showing Instructions and DOM In light of Governor’s Order of 3-19-20, in many instances, these conditions will prompt listing agents, in accordance with seller’s wishes, to change the MLS listing status to something like hold or withdraw – but if the listing agreement is still in effect, one would not select cancelled. Listing agents also have the option to maintain the listing in an active status, (or coming soon/delayed showing if such status is offered and appropriate under local MLS rules) albeit with an understanding of the limitation imposed on all face-to-face activity. Agents will have to be mindful of the implications of each status selection within their local MLS rules.
Under these extraordinary circumstances, if so desired, an MLS in its discretion could elect to alter its usual Showing Instructions and/or DOM approach, either by taking a unilateral approach systematically in the MLS such as temporarily de-activating the field, or, as referenced above, simply continuing to offer participants the option to alter their status designation into a field that suspends showings and/or the clock ex: hold or other options in one’s system. Under either scenario, it’s a given that all California listings are subject to this same Order of 3-19-20 causing all listings, active or otherwise during this time, to be assessed in the same light.
If an MLS does alter or suspend the DOM, keep in mind, however, portals like Zillow, Realtor.com and others who also calculate their own DOM might not be changing their DOM calculations. That raises the concern of having 2 differing, publicly available DOM sources possibly causing the buying public to lose confidence in the MLS reporting and/or creating potential liability situations for agents for inaccurate reporting. Thus, if an MLS does decide to pause the DOM calculations, best practice would be to keep measuring things both way so that future evaluation of this current marketplace will be possible. When this is all over, it will still be important to keep an accurate tracking of what happened, so even if the DOM clock stops, the CDOM clock should keep going so the total picture is still there.
Also, this Inman article may be of interest regarding what some other MLSs are doing. Based on that set forth above, the MLS has various options to consider depending on what works best locally and within the fields and functionality of its system.
IMPACT ON OPEN HOUSES & SHOWINGS
Per the Governor’s Order of 3-19-20, traditional in-person, face-to-face marketing/sales activity should cease. That would include any traditional open houses and showings. Existing virtual tours and other digital images and information about the property will have to fill that gap during the stay at home order. Virtual activity is permissible and to be embraced, however, as it currently stands, following the issuance of Governor’s Order of 3-19-20, heading to the property to commence or conduct virtual tours/showings via facetime or other technology would be a violation of the stay at home order, although listing agent could have the seller/occupant record one and make that available digitally.
Note: any transactions with a willing buyer and seller that can and will proceed and even close under the current conditions can do so. We expect that technology and process adaptation by the industry will facilitate some level of continued new listings, sales and closings throughout this pandemic period.
Q: Can we get NAR to postpone the Clear Cooperation Policy May 1st implementation?
They are not postponing at this time, but that could change.
The CCP Advisory Board conducted a previously scheduled meeting last week. In response to CAR’s inquiry about postponing the deadline, the official response NAR gave on Friday is that they are sticking with the May 1st deadline. See their statement below:
“Members of NAR’s MLS Technology & Emerging Issues Advisory Board met this week and discussed among several items the impact of COVID-19 on MLSs and the real estate industry more broadly. The Advisory Board members determined that it is important to maintain the May 1, 2020 implementation deadline for the Clear Cooperation policy. MLSs who have challenges implementing the CCP by the May 1 deadline as a result of the impacts related to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact NAR’s MLS team for guidance and assistance.”
C.A.R. is aware that as of Monday of this week, several brokers sent formal letters to NAR requesting postponement. If additional brokers feel the same way, they could also submit similar requests to NAR. We shall see if this changes things, but NAR’s decision from as recently as last Friday is that the May 1st deadline stands.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS
Q: Does the Governor’s order apply to Property Management?
A: Property management and repair work, which generally involves maintaining sanitary and safety conditions, is permissible. Additionally, many other aspects of the real estate industry can continue to occur without in-person contact, including documentation and signing, and in many circumstances, closings. Other activities may also be managed remotely, though there may be some difficulties.
ADDITIONAL LINKS & RESOURCES
Builds on the Governor’s previous executive action authorizing local governments to halt evictions.
The order is effective immediately and will apply through May 31, 2020.
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today (March 27, 2020) issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. The order prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts. It also requires tenants to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19.
The tenant would be required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And the tenant would remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted. The order takes effect immediately, and provides immediate relief to tenants for whom rent is due on April 1st.
Today’s action builds on Governor Newsom’s previous executive order authorizing local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the pandemic.
C.A.R. is working to constantly update members on the Safe at Home order put in place by the Governor with no end date.
- California Legislature has adjourned until April 13th. The Governor does not have the control to extend that date or call them back, only the Speaker can do that. Therefore, if there is an emergency vote that needs to occur prior to April 13th the Speaker can request the Legislature call into session for that vote. Article here.
- C.A.R. sent a letter to our Congressional Representatives asking for their Support of the legislation that would provide relief for Self-Employed Independent Contractors.
- C.A.R. will be posting any and all future updates at https://www.carcovidupdates.org
- C.A.R. updated the Legal News regarding Open Houses and Showings, here. The updated information was posted on Friday, March 20th.
C.A.R. Coronavirus Updates: https://www.carcovidupdates.org/
NAR continues to work with legislators before a full government shut down.
Frequently Asked Questions – NAR Coronavirus FAQ >
- Like C.A.R., NAR is working to keep a designated website regularly up to date: https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus.
- The President last Wednesday announced during his daily briefing that HUD is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April to help those affected by the Coronavirus. FHFA/Fannie & Freddie will follow suit for the next 60 days through mid-May. In the meantime, FHFA is urging all borrowers affected by the Coronavirus to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible to seek assistance if needed.
- NAR has provided the following resources. These can also be found on NARs coronavirus portal:
Following is a compilation of NAR’s advocacy efforts over the past week:
Relief for Small Business and Independent Contractors
NAR sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners as well as a follow-up letter on this issue as Congress considers additional relief packages. NAR also signed a coalition letter that would encourage Congress to provide readily accessible, unsecured credit to employers and self-employed individuals of all sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent, and other costs during this crisis:
- Suspend the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic; and amend the Tax Code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carry-back any net operating losses against previous year tax payments;
- Suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis: and
- Suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to full deduct any losses they incur this year.
Essential Real Estate Services
NAR is working with state associations, many of whom are reaching out to their Governors to request that certain real estate services be deemed “essential services” during emergency declarations. NAR is also working closely with ALTA and MBA whose members are also greatly impacted by county closures of recordation services.
Multi-family (Landlords & Property Managers)
NAR joined a coalition letter representing for-profit and non-profit owners, developers and others involved in the provision of affordable rental housing. It asks for direct rental assistance for families who have income loss due to COVID-19, it cautions against blanket eviction moratoriums—feels they should be targeted to situations related to COVID-19 and provide relief for property owners in the form of mortgage or other financial obligation forbearance.
1031 Like-Kind Exchange
NAR sent a letter the Treasury Department to include deadline relief for 1031 like-kind exchanges 180-day completion deadlines. There will be delays in settlements due to title companies and others closed during the outbreak. Also, they should extend the 45-day period for identifying possible properties as exchange candidates. Relief for this program has been provided in the past during other presidentially declared disasters.
SECURE Notarization Act
NAR is working with other trade associations and industry partners to support the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020” (SECURE Notarization Act). NAR sent this letter lawmakers in support of the bill. This legislation would continue and expand access to remote online notary (RON). It would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. The SECURE Notarization Act builds on ongoing efforts of lawmakers to promote remote transaction options for consumers.
NAR sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to include deadline relief for the working capital safe harbor for Qualified Opportunity Funds with any forthcoming package of taxpayer relief measures.
Commercial Real Estate (Direct Link)
NAR is also advocating for the interests of commercial real estate in relief packages and stimulus plans. NAR’s commercial real estate membership includes specialists in multifamily properties, small businesses, retail/restaurants, warehouses, and offices, among others – all sectors being impacted by the crisis. As Congress and the Administration consider relief measures for the country, NAR has requested that (see letters above):
- 1031 Like-Kind Exchange deadlines be extended through the period of the crisis;
- The Qualified Opportunity Fund working capital safe harbor be extended through the crisis;
- Congress include relief for multifamily property owners in any packages/relief measures that address tenant relief/eviction foreclosures; and
- Include specific relief for small businesses throughout the country which have to temporarily close down and/or layoff employees as a result of the crisis, by supporting the “Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act,” cosponsored by Senators Rubio (R-FL) and Collins (R-ME).
NAR Coronavirus Updates: https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus
Fannie Mae – Fannie Mae has issued temporary guidance on appraisal requirements, including allowing desktop and exterior-only appraisals on many mortgage transactions. This guidance includes links to modified certifications and instructions for both Desktop Appraisals and Appraisals with Exterior-only Inspections. Full Announcement Available Here.
Freddie Mac – On March 23, 2020, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2020-5, Selling Guidance Related to COVID-19, which contains temporary guidance on appraisal requirements. Under the guidance, lenders will be allowed to use desktop appraisal and exterior only appraisals for purchase transactions through May 17, 2020. Freddie Mac has also provided language that the appraiser must copy and paste into their report in order to accommodate the revised scope of work, statement of assumptions and limiting conditions, and certifications for some of the scenarios presented. Full Announcement Available Here.
NAR continues to work with legislators before a full government shut down.
- The following links are press releases from the Federal level. They all say the same thing, which states a 60-day moratorium of foreclosures and evictions, forbearance programs available, waivers of fees and penalties, and no credit report impacts. This was the first step and NAR expects D.C. to get very aggressive in the coming weeks and months. Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac. HUD.
- Today FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow the use of appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to conduct interior property inspections for eligible mortgages through May 17, 2020. This should alleviate recent concerns over transaction delays due to a lack of appraisers able or willing to enter properties to conduct interior inspections. Full Announcement Available Here
The Department of Real Estate (DRE) has cancelled real estate salesperson/broker licensing exams through April 30, 2020, to comply with shelter in place orders. Examinees affected by these cancellations will be notified by email and will be allowed to reschedule their canceled exam dates using DRE’s eLicensing system. Exam rescheduling fees will be waived for canceled exams. For more information contact DRE’s Licensing program at (877) 373-4542 or by email at Ask.DRELicensing@dre.ca.gov.
Staff responding to these emails will have access to limited information and can only answer general licensing and examination questions, such as how do I apply for a license or what are the requirements to renew a license, etc. This email feature cannot provide information about individual applicant statuses, such as when will my renewal be processed, when will my exam be scheduled or why did I get a deficiency letter. Emails will be answered in the order they are received. Please expect a 48 hour turn around for an emailed response. Also, be sure to check your spam or junk folders for responses.
Government Affairs staff from local Bay Area REALTOR® associations have prepared status reports for each of the county clerk-recorders. This information is provided as a courtesy for our members in transactions throughout the Bay Area. We will provide updates on a regular basis.
Contact Heather Schiffman, CCAR Government Affairs Director: email@example.com if you have any questions.
Showing Info Prohibited on MLS
In support of the statewide Shelter in Place order, CCAR, Bay East and bridgeMLS will no longer allow Showing Information to be included in the MLS public or Confidential Remarks until further notice, effective immediately. Any existing showing information will be removed from the MLS accordingly.
MLS Disables Open House/Tour Functionality
In accordance with the Contra Costa County Shelter in Place order and in the best interest of members, clients and the community, CCAR, Bay East Association and bridgeMLSs have temporarily shut down member’s ability to schedule, promote and access open houses and broker tours, effective immediately. We will continue to keep you updated as news becomes available.
The Contra Costa County Shelter in Place Order is a mandatory Legal Order issued under the authority of California law. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295, et seq.)
Alternative Tools to Replace Open Houses
There are a number of software options available to conduct “virtual showings” that can be combined with mobile video chat applications:
- Facebook: The simplest way is to use the camera app on your mobile phone, or social media solutions like Facebook Messenger and Facebook Live.
- Homesnap Pro: Users of this application can create video stories for free, attach them to their Homesnap listings and promote via social media channels. Visit: https://blog.homesnap.com/introducing-homesnap-stories/
Alerts for Temporarily Withdrawn and Public Remarks fields
If you placed a listing in a “Temporarily Withdrawn (WT) status on/after Mon, Mar 9 (where the listing contract remains valid, but the property is not being actively marketed) so it does not accrue Days on MLS (DMLS), email CCAR a request to mark the listing “NEW” once the listing has been changed back to any Active status. Please note that the “New” status will not change, zero-out or “reset” DMLS. Using WT will stop DMLS from incrementing. Additionally, please be aware that placing a listing on WT will not stop all third-party sites such as Zillow, Redfin, etc., from incrementing their days count on listings already received, as many of these sites/portals calculate “days on site” according to their own systems. CCAR MLS has no control over those systems. For more information contact Member Services: firstname.lastname@example.org or 925.295.1270.
CCAR MLS participants and subscribers may temporarily add comments to “Public Remarks” fields with links to Virtual Tour/Virtual Walk-through products, as such measures will help limit exposure for both agents and clients.
Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed, CCAR reserves the right to review all historical data and remove these links. Some third-party sites may strip out links from “Public Remarks.” Unfortunately, CCAR MLS has no control over this. Please consider using the standard of practice Virtual Media links.
CCRIM, RMA, Rossmoor, and West County have suspended marketing meetings until further notice. Women’s Council of Real Estate Contra Costa Chapter have also suspended their meetings.
For more CCRIM information visit: facebook.com/CCRIMToday
For RMA information visit: facebook.com/RealEstateMarketingAssociation
For WCR information visit: facebook.com/wcrccc/
MARCH 27, 2020
Closing Real Estate Transactions During a Pandemic – East Bay Times
More Bay Area Parks, Beaches Closing Before Weekend – SF Chronicle
MARCH 26, 2020
MARCH 25, 2020
Bay Area’s Largest Housing Development Appears Dead – SF Chronicle
MARCH 24, 2020
MARCH 23, 2020
How COVID-19 has Affected the Bay Area Housing Market – Curbed San Francisco
MARCH 22, 2020
MARCH 21, 2020
Bubble Watch: Coronavirus may Clobber ‘Overvalued’ Housing Markets – East Bay Times
MARCH 20, 2020
California Property Taxes Still Due April 10 – East Bay Times
MARCH 17, 2020
Coronavirus: How Hard will it Bite Bay Area Home Market? – Mercury News
How to Disinfect a Home Correctly – REALTOR® Magazine