What are “Coronavirus Clauses”?

The coronavirus has caused businesses across the United States and around the world to close and has made it difficult or impossible for many financial transactions to be completed. Real estate closings are complex and some of the parties involved may be unable to perform their duties on schedule or at all due to COVID-19. Agents are therefore including coronavirus clauses in contracts.

How Can a Coronavirus Clause Protect Buyers and Sellers?
A force majeure clause is a provision in a contract that excuses one or both parties’ failure to meet their obligations if they were unable to do so because of circumstances beyond their control. It allows the parties to delay a transaction or to cancel it without facing a penalty. Force majeure clauses may apply to acts of God (earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, etc.), war, epidemics, government actions and other circumstances.

The wording in force majeure clauses varies. It may not apply to COVID-19, or standard language may be open to interpretation. To prevent legal challenges later, real estate agents are adding language specifically addressing the coronavirus to purchase contracts.

Different states have drafted their own coronavirus clauses to include in real estate contracts. Though the specific language differs, the clauses generally allow the parties to delay the closing or to cancel a purchase contract without a penalty.

How Could COVID-19 Affect a Real Estate Closing?
A buyer who has been laid off or furloughed may not be able to return to work anytime soon, or at all, and therefore, may be unable to get a mortgage. That uncertainty can make both buyers and sellers nervous. Coronavirus clauses allow the parties to delay the closing or to cancel the contract if a job loss or reduction in income has left the buyer unable to obtain financing.

Some parts of the home-buying process, such as an inspection and appraisal, require a worker to physically go to a house. Many inspectors and appraisers are reluctant to do so due to fear of contracting the coronavirus, especially if the house is still occupied.

Government and business offices across the country have closed or cut their hours. That means that title searches, mortgage applications and other critical parts of the process may be delayed.

Although some jurisdictions allow virtual closings, others do not. Due to travel restrictions and social distancing, it may be impossible to get the parties together to close as they typically would in the past.

Discuss a Coronavirus Clause With Your Real Estate Agent
COVID-19 has created widespread uncertainty and anxiety. If you were planning to close on a house, the process may be held up for weeks or longer. You may be concerned about your job security and income, leaving you unsure about whether you can or should proceed. Talk to your real estate agent about any concerns you have and how a coronavirus clause could protect you.

© 2020 RISMedia. All Rights Reserved.

Posted on May 14, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Amy Weltner | Posted in COVID-19 / Coronavirus | Tagged , , , , , ,

How to Donate During COVID-19

The outbreak of the coronavirus has impacted hundreds of thousands of American citizens across the country. From job losses and struggling to pay rent and bills, to closing down businesses and having a shortage of essential supplies, individuals and businesses are in need of a helping hand. No matter how much or how little you may have, you can still find a way to help out your community and those who are having trouble staying afloat during this crisis. Here are some places in your community that may need some extra help.

Salvation Army 
This non-profit organization has a strong reputation for helping the less fortunate and most vulnerable, especially in times of great need. The Salvation Army has been working closely with communities large and small to provide essentials such as meals, shelter, clothing, and mental and emotional support for families and veterans. To donate and help the many in your community who are struggling to stay safe and healthy through this difficult time, please visit www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/covid19.

Food Banks 
As we navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have lost jobs, leaving them unable to provide for themselves and their families. Food banks across the country are asking for donations of non-perishable food and water, as no one should go hungry. Many are partnering with schools to help families who rely on school meals to feed their children. Food banks have also helped to safely distribute food and non-food essentials, like cleaning products and diapers, to families across the country.

Overworked staff and underwhelming numbers of essential supplies are only two of the many struggles hospitals across America are dealing with during the COVID-19 crisis. From meals for nurses, doctors and maintenance teams to spare masks and gloves, your local hospital is in need of a variety of items. If you are handy with a sewing machine or happen to have a 3D printer, donations of cloth masks and face shields have helped many hospital staffers and patients stay safe.

Small Businesses
Many small businesses have been forced to close down due to social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. Some restaurants have transitioned to takeout and delivery services only to stay afloat. If you decide to order out for a meal, try a local, mom-and-pop restaurant. rather than a large chain, to support the small business in your community. The same can be said for grocery shopping. If you have a small market in your town, shop there knowing that you are helping out not only a small business, but also the people in your city or neighborhood in providing for their own families.

© 2020 RISMedia. All Rights Reserved.

Posted on May 12, 2020 at 6:16 pm
Amy Weltner | Posted in COVID-19 / Coronavirus | Tagged , , , , ,
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