Fraud Protection During COVID-19 Pandemic

Consumer protection and fraud prevention continue to be critical during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Technology is an integral part of daily life as more people are working remotely, engaging in distant learning, purchasing products and services online, and conducting financial business virtually, including real estate transactions.

Unfortunately, there are criminals who are using this time of crisis to harm others by engaging in identity theft, spoofing, phishing scams, imposter scams, and more. While many of the tactics that criminals use remain the same, the pandemic has changed the nature and scope of some of the scams.
Hot Tampa Bay housing market leaves some buyers in the cold

For more than a year, Lexi Betances, 29, has scrolled on her phone nearly every night, hunting for the perfect house. Since June, she's ratcheted up her pursuit, and has rushed to see more than 30 homes before they got snatched up.

Her father is a real estate broker, so she is armed with more know-how than the typical buyer. But that still wasn't enough when she placed an offer on a house in the Forest Hills neighborhood in northern Tampa late last month. She offered $6,000 more than the asking price, doubled her escrow deposit, opted to pay for some of the sellers' taxes, shortened her closing time and included a letter from her lender as well as a personal appeal with a photo of her with her son, her agent said.
3 Tips to Prep a Home for a 360 Virtual Tour

It may require extra effort than preparing for professional photos. Here’s how to get your listing ready for its 360-degree close-up.

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in client demand for 360-degree virtual home tours. Buyers and sellers alike want options to view homes remotely and keep everyone involved in a transaction as safe as possible. There are several services for creating 360-degree tours, but it’s your job to get a listing looking its best for the shoot. It may take more effort than fluffing pillows for professional photos.
Second-quarter iBuyer purchases decline

The nation’s top iBuyers bought 880 homes in the second quarter, or 0.1percent of homes that sold across more than 400 U.S. metros, according to an analysis from Redfin.
Redfin said those numbers are down 88 percent from 7,410 homes, or 0.6 percent market share, from one year ago, and represents the smallest number of properties purchased by iBuyers since the first quarter of 2017.

Survival Threat

Featured article in the September 2020 Issue of The MReport
Written by Michelle Garcia Gilbert, Esq.

Minority- and women-owned companies are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. What can be done to ensure these companies don’t disappear?

The stats are in, and they are sobering. Over 50% of small businesses with employees, face immediate risks to survival due to the impacts of COVID-19.1 This represents about 4 million companies, with “small business” being roughly defined as those with fewer than 250 employees. Within the small business category are minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs).

For our philanthropy this month, we decided to have another blood drive in order to help our community. We had a great turnout and thank everyone that participated in this drive!