COVID-19 Updates

U.S. Real Estate Activities Impact

April 1, 2020


Home sale, marketing, finding, and purchase activities in the United States are changing rapidly due to the various stay-at-home mandates from local and regional governments. For instance, to safely show homes and conduct walk-throughs, virtual tours, video links, and video conferencing are being employed. In addition, many MLSs across the country are allowing an increased number of photos to be posted.

Closing delays may become more prevalent as municipality office closures make it challenging to get certificates, surveys, and other documents commonly required, and HOAs are not ideally set up to work from home, which could also present challenges in acquiring information.

Appraisers have video conferenced with customers, in some instances. The customer shows the home interior through their phone and takes pictures for the appraisal, and this is considered the appraisers’ inspection. This circumstance is fully disclosed in the appraisal and cited as an “Extraordinary Assumption,” stating the home is reasonably believed to be in the condition as it was viewed through the video conference.

Related to home mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are suspending all foreclosures and evictions, and affected borrowers can suspend their mortgage payment for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by COVID-19. VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are all adjusting some of the requirements for new home purchase financing. Requirements for appraisals on new home purchases will now allow drive-by or desktop appraisals, and requirements for employment verification are being loosened allowing for “recent” paystubs to be used to confirm employment where HR is not available to confirm employment.

BGRS continues partnering with our supply chain to share up-to-date information on the U.S. real estate market.