Things are changing rapidly in our local real estate market and it’s important for all of us to stay as informed as we possibly can in these crazy times.
In the last three weeks, buyer showings have slowed down and traffic to our listings has been much lighter than usual. However, new listings are coming on the market every day and we're still writing contracts. Just last week, we put two homes under contract in Nocatee and we listed a lovely home in TPC. We've been adding tools to our real estate tool box including more 3D virtual tours for our listings, FaceTime tours for our buyers, virtual Realtor caravans and virtual open houses.
Here's some additional industry news you might find helpful:
- There's been a lot of information in the news about mortgage forbearance for home owners who are struggling to pay their mortgage due to economic difficulties. While these options may be helpful in the short-term, especially if you've been temporarily laid off, the long-term implications can damage your credit. We urge you to have a serious discussion with your mortgage company and read the fine print to make sure you understand all the implications of a mortgage forbearance.
- Lenders have increased minimum credit scores for borrowers to 680 or above. Anyone with a credit score lower than 680 will have difficulty securing a mortgage.
- Many lenders are no longer funding jumbo mortgages (loans over $510,400) and rate locks for a non-conforming loan might not be available until 2 weeks before closing. Buyers will likely need to have a 20% down payment for larger loans now too. Just a few months ago there were jumbo loans available for a 5% or 10% down payment.
- Additionally, banks are under severe pressure trying to meet the needs of people applying for new small business loans. You should expect any banking requests to take more time than usual.
Inspections, Appraisals & Title Companies:
- We've identified several inspection companies who are still conducting home inspections. Inspectors are wearing gloves and masks and taking necessary safety precautions while still performing a quality inspection.
- Drive-by appraisals are becoming the norm for contracts where an appraisal is required. Traditionally, an appraiser would spend several hours in a house, so now, the appraiser is relying on photos and information from the listing agent to document a home's value.
- Closing companies are still working. Some have set up tables outside and ask that the parties come separately and only those people whose signatures are necessary attend the closing. Closings don't have the celebratory feel we're used to, but these precautions are important.
- Most lenders still won't accept electronic signatures on a closing document. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are working on allowing online notarized documents for mortgages. This would be a big win for buyers and sellers.
We continue to read that the real estate industry's foundations are strong. Some economists are expecting home sales to pick up quickly once the shelter in place orders have been lifted. Let's hope they're right!
Even though our spring market has taken a hit, we believe we could still have a strong summer market with pent up demand leading the charge. If you have any questions, or would like to talk through different scenarios, please feel free to give us a call.