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Good Monday Morning. How are you doing? Powerful question nowadays. Ironic that during periods of isolation – is when it – “takes a village” – more than ever. We need interaction, information and plain old-fashioned caring! The media, good or bad, is suggesting that the next two weeks are crucial to halt the spread of COVID-19, so if it’s possible for you to stay home to stay safe, please consider it.

This email hopefully serves as an anchor for solid information on what is happening in the world of real estate during this unprecedented time, and how you can cope, engage or educate yourself. So much to cover, so here goes!

CARES Package

This bipartisan relief bill delivers a much-needed win for the American people. Here is snapshot of the CARES Package:

  • $350 billion for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program, allowing eligible small businesses to secure up to $10 million toward mortgage interest, rents, utilities and payroll costs.
  • A significant expansion of unemployment insurance for the self-employed and independent contractors that could provide benefits for up to 39 weeks. These workers are not usually covered under traditional state unemployment benefit programs.
  • An employee retention tax credit estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain existing employees.
  • Rebates of $1,200 to single filers and $2,400 to joint filers, plus $500 for each child, subject to income limitations.
  • A 60-day foreclosure moratorium and up to 1 year of mortgage forbearance.

Read the full Bill here:

Small Business Disaster Loan

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.

FHA and VA Loans Update

The FHA and VA now allows for appraisal and income verification alternatives as appraising homes and verifying employment are more difficult now.

FHA Now Allows:

  • exterior-only appraisals (known as drive-by appraisals)
  • in some cases, desktop appraisals, where the appraiser doesn’t inspect the property or comparable sales
  • when conducting desktop appraisals, public records, multiple listing service information, and other third-party data sources to identify the property characteristics can be used

VA Now Allows:

  • a broader use of exterior inspection
  • the new appraisal rules apply to purchase and refinance loans but are ‘temporary in nature’ due to COVID-19
  • appraisers are still required to follow the same procedures of the VA appraisal process
  • must meet Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice and state requirements

Online Voting

All Pennsylvania voters now also have the ability to vote by mail without having to provide an excuse – for any reason, or no reason at all. You can apply for mail-in ballots online, by mail, or in person, until one week before the election. For the 2020 primary, mail-in ballot applications must be received by your county election office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. Applying online is very easy and quick, and even better, if you enter your email address, you will receive notifications as to the status of your application and ballot along the way.

Once you receive your mail-in ballot, you now have until 8 pm on June 2 to deliver your completed ballot to your county election office, but you should drop it off or mail it as early as you can to ensure it is delivered by that time. Voters who have already requested a mail-in or absentee ballot will receive your ballot for the rescheduled primary. There is no need to apply again if you have already done so.

All Gassed Up and Nowhere to Go

With oil prices <$20/barrel and anemic consumer demand due to Stay at Home orders, the average gas price is less than $2.00. In some places, pump prices were as low as $1.00. The last time we saw a sustained period of gas below $2 per gallon was all the way back in 2004.

Virtual Home Market Analysis

If you are contemplating selling your home, right now is a great time to collaborate on a Virtual Home Market Analysis and a List of ACTION ITEMS to get your home ready to list later this Spring. We can now do this Virtually with a Facetime or ZOOM Walk-and-Talk! Take me through your home on Video and we can discuss what to do and not do for maximum equity when you sell. I am happy to provide this service to you AT ANY TIME. Just ask me!

Buyers Get Shiny

To Buyers who would like to SHINE and be in the strongest Buying position possible when this Virus takes leave and the Market Breaks Wide Open – I suggest you take the time to get a Fully Underwritten Pre-Approval now. This puts you in a more favorable position to the Seller, and it also guarantees a closing date by the lender. It’s a powerful Tool that could give you quite an advantage as a Buyer, and it lasts for 120 days. Contact me for more details if you are interested…

Take Your MEDS!

I know I have said it before, but it’s worth a reminder…in troubled times, first and foremost, we must take care of ourselves. How you feel on the inside is what you radiate to those on the outside.

Which means taking your MEDS:

  • Meditation – To maintain the right mindset and keep your head clear.
  • Exercise – Move your body! Don’t allow this crisis to excuse you from physical activity.
  • Diet – A lot of people (read me) will be tempted to turn to food for comfort during these times. Make sure you’re eating healthy to fuel, not fog, your body and mind.
  • Sleep – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Motivational Book Lists

While you a little time for self-care, why not catch up on some of these great motivational reads?

  1. “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” by Shad Helmstetter
    If you’re home in self-quarantine, chances are you’ve been talking to yourself quite a bit, maybe without realizing it. This book helps you take negative, counterproductive self-talk, and turn it into words of power and optimism — something we all could use right about now.
  2. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey
    A classic through-and-through, this self-improvement book is a must-read for anyone looking to change their habits in favor of a more rich, productive and successful life.
  3. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
    It’s easy to develop some not-so-great habits when you experience a major shift in your routine. Dive into this book right away to get valuable insights on how habits work, and some ways to transform your own.
  4. “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach
    If you want to use this time to reorganize your finances, pick up this book first. Financial guru David Bach walks readers through strategies they can implement immediately to improve finances.
  5. “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen
    This oldie-but-goodie is especially relevant right now. If you’ve been feeling down about the current situation, read Allen’s take on the relationship between our thoughts and our happiness. Start here to learn how to think positively and change your perspective on life.
  6. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
    Learn the “Law of Success,” which includes secrets that can bring you a fortune. The techniques in this book are simple yet effective
    and can help you find lasting success no matter what life throws your way.

I will reach out again soon with another update on the state of the real estate market, and how it is impacting you, and our community. If you have questions ask them! I am happy to get you the answers.

As always, if you or your loved ones are experiencing difficulty getting necessities, please reach out to me at 724-713-0831 and myself or a Team Member will step in and try our best to help. Until then, please keep in touch, reach out to me with questions – and above all, stay safe.

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