We are adapting quickly to our new "normal" in real estate but it's a very confusing time for all of us. Real estate has been deemed an "Essential Service" statewide EXCEPT in the City of Portland. Since the majority of my work is done in the city, this means I cannot show ANY properties in person, or list any homes or condos during this time.
Portland is essentially in "shut down" status for real estate. I think this is understandable for now - so many listed properties are condos and multi-units, and it's risky from a health standpoint to allow strangers access to properties with residents who aren't involved in the real estate sale.
This could change at the next city council meeting on April 13 when they are expected to debate whether to adopt the state's list of Essential Services. If that happens, we expect these guidelines will be put into place for conducting business.
This is such an in-person profession and it's a bummer to be sidelined. Although we are working remotely, we're now able to offer 3D virtual tours(so cool) and online open houses for our listed properties. Governor Mills has also authorized remote notarization so we can now do virtual closings!
In the meantime, I am keeping busy with phone calls and video meetings with clients, colleagues, friends and family. Morgan continues to work at Standard Baking Company (they are still operating in a limited capacity for wholesale orders and curbside service).
One positive outcome to the pandemic is a renewed focus on local markets and farms as people are trying to avoid visiting larger grocery stores. I am purchasing fresh produce and eggs direct from nearby farms and taking advantage of pick-up services from my neighborhood stores like Rosemont Market. I was excited to purchase handmade face masks (with proceeds benefiting the Locker Project) from local designer Anne Riggs. And of course, ordering takeout from my favorite restaurants who are desperately trying to make it work while they are closed.
Read on below for some news and tidbits from Vitalius, and other resources around town.
Please stay home and stay safe! I'll see you on the "other side."
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NEWS & RESOURCES
Do you have an FHA mortgage and need relief?
There's some new guidelines that will be a huge help for those of you with FHA mortgages. If you are affected by the COVID-19 crisis, you able to defer payments on your mortgage for 6 months AND at the end of the forbearance, the accumulated amount of the deferred payments will not be due at once. Instead, the balance can be added to the end of your loan term. More information here.
Rent is Due - Now What?
The beginning of the month typically marks “rent due day” leaving many landlords and tenants in a complicated position with both sides unsure of their rights during this unprecedented situation.
Take a look at what we are recommending for tenants and landlords during these unprecedented times by clicking here.
Support the COVID-19 Community Care Fund
An unprecedented amount of Mainers (and many others) are being affected by COVID-19. Maine Initiatives has created a Community Care Fund to "make rapid-response grants to the grassroots organizations led by and advocating for those folks who are most at risk in this crisis: indigenous, black and immigrant folks; working class, low income, and poor people; and those that are too often pushed to the margins through incarceration, homelessness, disability, etc. These organizations are our grantee partners. We trust them to lead us in this moment. And they require urgent community support." Join me in supporting their mission.
MaineHealth is partnering with local business leaders and the American Red Cross to create the “Distance Saves Lives” blood drive, to be held in Portland every Wednesday for the next 10 weeks (by appointment only). Learn more and make an appointment HERE.
Support Maine Farms
Many farms across Maine have added alternative ways customers can obtain farm products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has created a virtual map and spreadsheet of available local Maine farm products and seafood and alternative pick-up options. Access the map and list HERE.
Become a Substitute Shopper!
To help address the need for grocery delivery in our community, the Portland Food Co-Op has launched a Substitute Shopper Program. This program serves as a tool to connect volunteers that are able to offer shopping services (“shoppers”) with those in need of groceries (“clients”). Click here to learn more.
The Big Takeout and Delivery List
Everyone's favorite comprehensive Portland food scene resource has compiled a list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery service! Look for your favorite restaurants, coffee/tea shops, bakeries/bagels/donuts, beer/wine/distilleries, delivery services, markets and other food shops by clicking here.
Keeping the Balance: What Keeps Us Going
Like you, we miss the day-to-day transactions and routines of our daily work life. Our day-to-day usually requires us to gather whether it be in-person meetings such as showings or closings or larger gatherings such as hosting open houses, home inspections, and numerous other onsite tasks that bring us together with our clients and community partners. We miss this. Click here to see what the Vitalius team has been up to while self-isolating!