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.

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

3 Major Steps to Prepare for a Move

While there is a lot of excitement that comes with moving into a new home, there can also be a great deal of stress. Packing up your entire life and moving it somewhere else can seem overwhelming, but if you have a plan, it can seem a great deal more manageable. Here are the 3 major steps to take to prepare for a move and reduce the stress that can come with it.

Inventory Your Items

While this can seem like a daunting task, taking an inventory of every item in your home will save you a great deal of stress in the future. Whether you do a move entirely on your own or you hire a moving company, it is very important to have all of your items documented. If you sort your items by room and then document them as such and pack accordingly, you will be able to unpack your items by room into your new home in an organized way, ensuring you aren’t missing any items.

Box It All Up

Once you have inventoried all of your items, you will then begin boxing up what you can. Many hardware and home improvement stores have affordable boxes but checking on local Facebook pages for someone trying to get rid of moving boxes could save you a few dollars. Once you have your boxes, it is key to pack by room. This will help if you follow your inventory list, ensuring every item gets packed. Label your boxes by room to make moving in to your new home a breeze.

Renting a Moving Truck

If you’ve never rented a moving truck before, it can be difficult to guess what size truck you will need to transport all your goods. Thankfully, many sites offer ‘calculators’ that are easy to find with a simple search and allow you to enter your box and furniture information and give you a recommendation on what size will best fit your needs. While packing your stuff up is often something movers want to do on their own to keep track of their items, sometimes hiring movers for the truck portion of the move can take a great deal of weight, both physical and metaphorical, off of your shoulders. By hiring movers to load up your truck, you will save the stress on your body and also gain the experience of movers who have packed trucks before. Many people who have moved recommend hiring movers for the loading and unloading portion of the move, even if you want to do everything else DIY.

Posted on March 4, 2020 at 5:16 pm
Amy Weltner | Category: Home Buying, Home Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

What is a Zestimate® and is it correct?

To quote Zillow’s website; “The Zestimate® home valuation model is Zillow’s estimate of a home’s market value. The Zestimate incorporates public and user-submitted data, taking into account home facts, location and market conditions. It is not an appraisal.”

So, what does that mean?  

Simply, this is Zillow’s tool to give sellers an IDEA of what their home might be worth.  I use the term might very loosely here… keep reading.

What is it based on? 

Zillow states that the “accuracy depends on the amount of data we have for the home”.  How do they get this data?  From YOU!  From every homeowner that has logged into their site and put in the information about their home.  Yes, they pull tax records and some Multiple Listing System (MLS) data, but they ask uses on their site to up date their personal home information themselves in order to get more accurate results.

So… does this work?  

Maybe… maybe not.  Do YOU know the true architectural style of your home?  Do you know the building amenities that give the most value?  If you are updating your facts to show a new roof, are you sure your neighbor is doing the same? What if they take for granted that everyone has an updated kitchen?  Or what if they think theirs is updated because they remodeled when they moved in…. 10 years ago?

Now what?

Confused? I am not surprised. Hang on… I have a solution.  Call your local realtor – me.  Zillow states: “We recommend that real estate agents and other professionals gain a basic understanding of how the Zestimate is calculated and how to read the Zestimate data accuracy table. This will help them explain to their clients why the Zestimate is a good starting point and historical reference, but should not be used for the final pricing of a home.”

Call me and let’s walk through your home together – show me what you have an have not done – what you love and what you would change if needed.  Then, let’s compare them to homes I have seen in your local neighborhood and others that have recently sold.  Let me pull comparable properties and property tax records, compare tax assessments and lot sizes as well as home amenities, condition and location.  A Zestimate cannot do all of those things… but I can.  Let me be your trusted, local real estate professional.

 

 

Zillow information found at: https://www.zillow.com/zestimate/

 

Posted on December 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm
Amy Weltner | Category: Home Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
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