These are certainly uncertain times for much of the U.S. economy, but one industry that is still open is real estate. Especially given the current interest rate, many lenders are overwhelmed with mortgage applications.
Here is what you need to know about your real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are you unable to pay your mortgage payment because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are some options you have:
- Ask your lender if they offer forbearance and whether you are eligible. This just puts your mortgage payments on hold temporarily, so your credit is not affected.
- Ask your lender if you can push any missed payments to the end of the term.
- Or, ask your lender if you can pay any missed payments in one lump sum.
If you can make your payments still, you should continue to do so.
Refinancing during COVID-19
As part of the Fed’s strategy to combat the economic fallout from COVID-19, they have lowered the prime rate to 0%. This means that mortgage rates are also hitting all-time lows.
This might be the best time for you to consider refinancing your home!
Lenders are available to take care of you during the stay-at-home orders, but you may experience temporary delays given the overwhelming mortgage applications they are receiving.
The most important step is to lock in your interest rate. Every lender has a different strategy for locking in rates, so check with your lender. However, you should expect a 30-45-day lock period and an employment verification process.
The verification process is providing a challenge for lenders amidst the current economic uncertainty. Though they are working on solutions, it is important to talk with your lender to see what you can do to help.
Need an Appraisal?
If you are thinking about refinancing or selling your house, you might need an appraisal. Though in-person appraisals have been halted in some cities, there are others where they have continued with precautions.
Some cities have allowed for drive-by appraisals or online appraisals using available data online. Others are allowing it entirely with social distancing measures amongst participants.
Talk with your lender to see what their process is.
The Closing Process
The closing process your lender is going to use is also likely to be affected by the current social distancing measures. Talk with your lender to see how they are handling the closing process.
No matter how the process is affected, make sure you are doing the right research, asking the right questions, and working with your real estate attorney to ensure nothing is missed.
If at any time you cannot make a mortgage payment or you have questions about your mortgage or refinancing applications, be sure to communicate with lenders. They may be a bit overwhelmed, so expect delays. But they are here to help you navigate your real estate transaction.
What You Can Do
If you have questions, the most important thing you can do is reach out to your loan provider at this time. Any relief from the federal government will only be available to federally backed loans. These include FHA, VA, USDA, HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans.
Private lenders may provide relief, but the specifics will vary across the industry.
Do your part by being patient, tracking documents, and staying informed. Your loan providers are working hard to aid and answer any questions.
For further information on your mortgage and real estate as a whole, get in touch with one of the title and escrow specialists at Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation.
Please note: The safety of our staff and clients is our highest priority. Effective immediately, Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. will be taking the following precautions to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus:
All purchase transactions need to take place at a Plymouth Title Guaranty Corp. closing office
- If a party to the closing is not feeling well, please contact your closer prior to the closing so appropriate precautions can be taken.
- We ask visitors to utilize the restroom in our building upon arrival to thoroughly wash hands before entering our office.
- Only individuals required to sign and/or deliver documents at closings will be allowed in our office. Specifically, closings will be limited to borrower(s), seller(s), agents, and lenders.
- All pens used in the closing will be given to the client after use.
- All closing rooms will be cleaned and disinfected in-between each closing.
- Those picking up checks at our office will be instructed to call our main line and request to speak to a staff member who will make arrangements for delivery to the lobby or parking lot of our office; and
- All staff will refrain from shaking hands before or after closings and ask clients do the same
Please be advised that our staffing may be impacted during this unprecedented event. While we are committed to continuing to provide outstanding service, we ask for your patience in the face of this pandemic.
This is a fluid situation and we will continue to adjust our protocols as necessary while following the CDC guidelines.