Massachusetts has declared a stay at home order for all but essential businesses. The list of essential businesses is long, and it took a day to clarify, but we now know the following people are included:

  • Lenders
  • Realtors
  • Appraisers
  • Closing Attorneys
  • Insurance/financial services

There it is: we are among the essential. I’ve been working from home and mostly sequestered for more three weeks now — my husband has cancer, so my family and I are all minimizing unnecessary risks. I can talk with clients and referral partners, do my business as usual, and never leave my house — as long as those I’m serving have access to the internet, I won’t be doing face-to-face appointments for some time.

We can continue to list, sell and finance homes as the demand requires. Some will be motivated to continue to be active and some won’t — I get it. No matter what, we need to protect the consumers we represent, and there are many factors affecting real estate on the lending side that you may not be aware of.

Some Good News:
Since March 9th, we’ve seen wild swings in all of the major financial markets. Rates are far from zero — in fact, they’ve been significantly higher than when this pandemic started. When financial markets are in turmoil liquidity in the credit market dries up. Because of this, lenders are pulling back, programs are being eliminated, credit score requirements are higher, and guidelines are getting tighter. A pre-approval from last month or even last week may no longer be valid.

We’re now able to do desktop/drive-by appraisals on many purchases and refinance transactions, easing the need for appraisers to visit properties. We can now offer for most borrowers a complete electronic process from start to finish with no requirement for human contact!

Some other things to think about when talking with buyers and sellers today:

  • Obtaining an Appraisal
  • Supporting Values (where are they going to go)
  • Timing the transaction
  • Rate Fluctuation
  • Program Availability
  • Borrowers subject to layoff
  • Ability to obtain verifications of employment from closed companies
  • Investment accounts depreciation
  • Passive income loss
  • Income insecurity

I would love to hear from you to discuss anything in this post or other topics, so please reach out to me for more detailed information.

I believe that the future will be bright — the pain will be real but we’ll come out on the other side with a new direction as a society. Many new opportunities will rise out of this historical event. Just hang in there — we are living through history.

Take care & be safe —