Industry Update, March 26

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

I hope this reading finds you feeling well, enjoying your home, and staying safe. As our community navigates uncharted territories, I wanted to take a few moments to update folks on how I see things taking shape from a real estate perspective in the Denver area.

For a listen of perspectives on a national level, listen to Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist & Senior VP of Research at the National Association of Realtors in this podcast from March 18:

March 26, 2020 Colorado Issues Stay-at-Home Order

Governor Polis issued a Stay-at-Home order which became effective today for the entire state of Colorado. Under these orders, real estate has been determined to be a critical business. This does not mean "business as usual," but it does mean that real estate brokers along with our industry partners (inspectors, appraisers, title companies, banks, moving companies and other critical businesses) can continue to offer services to clients as we comply with health department guidelines mandated by local and state government officials.

The government is adding flexibility to meet the changing needs of our current environment. Yesterday, Fannie Mae issued Lender Letter LL-2020-04 which provides temporary allowance of exterior-only and desktop appraisals for many transactions. I think this is a wise step that should alleviate avoidable delays in transactions. Governor Polis is also being asked to issue an Executive Order that allows virtual notary services in Colorado so that buyers and sellers can conduct closings remotely.

The banking sector is adding additional employment verification requirements on conventional, FHA, and VA loans which now includes confirming a buyer's ability to work from home 5 days before closing. Non-standard programs such as jumbo loans are being temporarily suspended.

As we all adapt to rapidly evolving working environments, inventory shortages in the metro area remain real. Market activity and buyer/investor demand is high. Obviously, things are are fluid. To help make sense of the current local real estate market conditions you are invited to check a Weekly Snapshot of Metro Area Market Activity right here on my website.

The page is updated every Sunday and detail all transactions inside my brokerage, RE/MAX Alliance. We are the largest Brokerage in the front range and have 24 offices across the metropolitan area, so the snapshot comes from a reliable footprint of local market activity.

What Does Marketing Real Estate Looks Like During this Period?

Brokers are quickly implementing innovative methods to show homes and market properties as they take precautions mandated by state and federal agencies:

  • Virtual marketing. Homes are being virtually marketed via video tours and 3D interactive property scans. Agents are using FaceTime, Zoom, and other video technology to virtually show homes to interested buyers. Traditional Open Houses are being replaced with virtual ones.

  • Virtual meetings. Brokers are conferencing via virtual meetings and video calls instead of face-to-face visits. When in-person meetings are necessary, agents maintain safe distances and non-essential parties are asked to stay away.

  • Planning ahead and being prepared. Buyers should expect that scheduling any type of showing will take more planning and lead-time. Overlapping appointments have been discontinued. Buyers could be requested to submit their purchasing qualifications (lender letter, proof of funds), and be asked to answer standard Covid-19 health questions before being granted access to homes.

  • Essential people taking precautions. Showing instructions and flyers on front doors may set requirements for entry. Buyers should expect to be instructed not to touch surfaces. Showings might be approved for only the buyer(s) themselves along with an agent. Children, relatives, and friends are likely to be asked to stay away.