How the Real Estate Industry is Addressing COVID-19

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We appreciate the emails and phone calls we’ve received from many of you, both to check in socially and to ask questions about how the outbreak of COVID-19 is affecting the real estate industry. We thought it might be helpful for you to share some factual information we are receiving from various industry organizations about the efforts underway to support continued real estate activity locally and nationally. There are multiple measures, both proposed and newly-enacted, to help facilitate real estate transactions during this unprecedented time.

In addition to monitoring industry information, we are also tracking weekly local real estate market data, at a more micro level than our monthly reports. Here is the most current weekly data we have on real estate activity in Bend, comparing the week of March 9-15 to the week of March 16-22, 2020:

Real Estate Activity

New Listings

Pending Sales

Homes Sold

Homes Re-Listed*

Price Reductions

Week of March 9-15

85

68

57

20

30

Week of March 16-22

79

52

55

26

37

*Homes that are re-listed are also referred to as “Back On Market” (BOM)

Here are a few of the measures being proposed and enacted behind the scenes to help facilitate real estate transactions both locally and nationally:

Lending

  • FNMA, known as Fannie Mae, announced temporary flexibilities for lenders to help them originate and close loans.
  • Lenders may now use designated, alternative methods to verify borrower employment. Because lenders may have difficulty reaching employers for verbal verification due to disruption of their business, there are now accommodations for emails, pay stubs and other specific verifications of employment for a loan.

Appraisals

  • Fannie Mae is easing requirements for appraisals to include virtual, “desktop appraisals,” as well as “drive-by,” exterior-only appraisals.
  • The accommodation for exterior-only appraisals includes detailed guidelines for the scope of work provided by an appraiser. We can help you navigate what this means.

Essential Service

  • Both the Central Oregon Association of Realtors (COAR) and the Oregon Association of Realtors (OAR) are urging the Oregon Governor’s Office to classify real estate activities as “essential,” in an effort to sustain transactions.
  • These organizations have also petitioned the Oregon Secretary of State to allow for online notarization, a process already used in 23 states outside of Oregon. Electronic signatures help reduce face-to-face interactions and increase the efficiency of transactions.
  • We find deep purpose in what we do, and will continue to help our clients mindfully invest in real estate in a way that achieves both their personal and financial goals.

Social Distancing

  • Our entire team is working from home, and we are grateful for the technology that allows us to stay connected with our clients, active transactions, the real estate industry and our community.
  • We are taking every precaution to protect our team, as well as our sellers and buyers during this time, and will be limiting showings. Contact us directly to learn more about a specific property.
  • We are available to answer your questions and share our insights via email and by phone.

We will continue to provide information about the local and national real estate market with you during this stressful time. Hopefully our messages will help you assess and plan for happier days. We are here for you, and hope you won’t hesitate to email or call us.

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