COVID-19 and the Housing Market FAQ’s

Keeping you informed on how to handle buying, selling & renting as we adjust to this new environment.
Is it possible to tour a home right now?

– Yes. Even though agents might not be able to do in person showings right now, we are able to do virtual showings by offering 3D tours. Also, in some cases, homes are vacant, and showings can be done as long as a 6 feet distance is kept between the agent and the clients.

Can I tour a house without leaving my home?

– Feel free to ask us to help give you a better look at a home of interest. We can offer you pre-recorded video tours, 3D home tours and live video walk throughs.

What can I do now to be ready to buy?

There are still steps you can take so you’re ready to act on buying when the time feels right. 1. Know your price range. 2. Keep saving for that down payment 3. Check your credit and get pre-approved.

Can I still sell my home while people are responding to the coronavirus?

– Yes. Buyers may be less likely to be viewing homes right now in person, but that does not mean they are not still looking. It is still considered to be a sellers market right now so it is a good time to sell.

How do I show my house without having anyone come into my home?

– 3D tours and virtual walk-throughs are available. Sari Ward & Team is implementing 3D tours with every listing moving forward during this time.

Is spring still the best time to list a home for sale?

– Spring has been known to be a hot time for the real estate market. Last year’s studies showed that U.S. homes listed for sale in April sold more quickly and homes listed in early May sold for more. Whether that will hold true this year is unknown.

Can I tour a place without viewing home in person?

– Yes. Again, 3D tours and video walk throughs will be the main source of showings during this time. If the unit is unoccupied or the tenant has agreed for the property to be shown, you can request a video walkthrough via FaceTime.

What are my options if I am worried about paying rent?

– Unemployment rates have skyrocketed in the two weeks. The first thing you should do is contact your landlord or property manager to discuss your situation.The Federal Government has instituted several policies to aid both owners and renters who are experiencing financial hardship related to the health crisis. Congress also is considering direct cash payments to individuals to help offset loss of income from job loss or business interruptions during the COVID-19 response.

What will happen to tenants’ jobs?

– The stock market made history on March 9th with the largest point plunge for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and it had two more hits on March 12th and 16th. As restaurants, schools and more continue to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19, two things will happen. First, these businesses will struggle to make ends meet during this pandemic. Second, to reduce expenses in hopes of avoiding bankruptcy, businesses will freeze hiring and start laying off employees. The unemployment rate will rise to nine percent nationwide, which will have an effect on your own customers, your tenants.

Will my tenants be able to pay rent?

– The majority of tenants live paycheck to paycheck. Depending on your tenant’s occupation, there is a likelihood that your tenant will be unable to pay rent at some point. If your tenants have a track record of on-time payments in the past, we recommend you work with them on a revised payment plan. This new plan should be in writing and agreed by both parties. Only if you reach a point where your tenants are unable to follow the new agreement, should you discuss lease termination options with them. And, if you witness rental rates dropping in your area, then you may consider reducing the rent for your existing tenants. You are far better off dropping rental rates than having months of vacancy during an inopportune time.

What if my tenants notify me they cannot pay rent?

– There are a few things you can do. You can ask your tenant to declare, in writing, that they cannot pay rent due to COVID-19. You can ask your tenant to retain documentation and proof. This documentation is important for tax credits, a grace period on your mortgage, and/or eviction proceedings. And you can record a traceable record of payments between January and April to show this change in rent received.

– Note: California is the first state to pass a statewide moratorium on evictions. On March 27, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for tenants affected by COVID-19. This moratorium is effective immediately and is to remain in effect through May 31, 2020. It will provide relief for tenants with rent due on April 1st. Your tenant is required to declare that they cannot pay all or part of their rent, due to COVID-19, no more than 7 days after the rent comes due. The tenant is still obligated to repay all of the past due rent in “a timely manner” and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted.