CORE Association of Realtors ® News
Member News - May 19, 2020


Reminder: The CORE survey will be closing this Thursday, May 21. Your responses will help us understand the challenges you are currently facing and how we might help all CORE members moving forward. If you participate in the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter to win one of three $100 prizes.  Take the survey.

Local

Somerset County’s Business Expo Includes a two-part plan to help continue the tradition of Somerset County's largest business networking event, and also provide an opportunity to promote your business as we head towards re-opening.  

  • Virtual BizFest on June 18th. The plan is to offer a full day of networking, educational, and webinar-based events. Members can purchase a virtual booth for $150 which would give you a half-hour time slot to present a webinar or just run a general Q&A with attendees. 
  • BizFest (In-Person) on October 29th, featuring the Annual Somerset County Wellness ExpoBy combining the events, we will be able to increase our audience and provide you with more visibility. This event is free for the community to attend.

Hunterdon County Economic Development and the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
continue to maintain our shared COVID-19 Resources for Business Page

The site is updated daily with new information to help businesses find:
  • Federal and State Business Grants & Loans, including links to FAQ, Applications and local resources
  • County and State Partnering Organizations
  • Toolkits to help in the process of reopening
  • Webinars from several Public, Private, Non-Profit organizations at the local, state and federal level
Please visit the site  here  to keep current as New Jersey begins to reopen.
For questions at the Hunterdon County Office of Economic Development, contact Marc Saluk at msaluk@co.hunterdon.nj.us . For questions at the HCCC, contact Chris Phelan at info@hunterdon-chamber.org

NJ

NJBIZ: Governor Murphy says NJ Businesses will Reopen (update d) Read more.

 New Jersey Realtors is now accepting applications for NAR Director positions  
All applications will be  online  and are  due by 6-19-20 . Click here for application.
Note:  Applicants are required to upload a letter of acknowledgement from their local board/association - send a request to CEO Anne Rendle at  anne@core-realtors.com
 
Governor Murphy Sig ns Executive Order 142: Resumption of Non-Essential Construction, Curbside Pick-up from Non-Essential Retail Stores, Gatherings in Vehicles  Read more.

NJBIZ PPP Round 2: NJ Businesses Receive $8B  Read more.
 
NJBIZ Rite Aid Expands COVID-19 Testing in NJ  New criteria includes asymptomatic adults. Read more.
 
NJ Realtors Launches Photofy Library   NJR has partnered with Photofy, a mobile content creation tool. With Photofy, you can easily personalize and share marketing assets right from your phone. Now, you can share the state consumer advertising campaign—Plant Roots with a Rea ltor. Read more. 

NJ Realtors: Brand New Member Perks Partner  Alleviate some of the stress of cooking and grocery shopping with NJR Member Perks Partner, Eat Clean Bro. How it works: view Eat Clean Bro's menu and choose from over 50 ready-to-eat meals. They have options for all types of diet restrictions such as low calorie, vegetarian, keto, and more. Place your ord er and either pick-up your meals from their New Jersey location or have your meals delivered. Read more.
Bright MLS

Significant updates have been made as a result of subscriber requests. View details in the Release Notes and/or watch a video here.

Available Soon: Responsible Broker Designation  
To help ensure compliance with state licensing authorities, the Broker of Record for each firm will soon have the option to easily designate a specific broker to be responsible for their office listings per state. This new option will be available in Bright’s Account & Settings section and visible on reports and in the Office Directory. More information about this update will be shared with Brokers as soon as it’s available. 
National  

PPP and SBA Loans - Several stories about this are included at the very end of the newsletter

NAR: Homeowner Forbearance FHFA  announced  that beginning July 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have a new option to offer homeowners to repay their forborne payments. The new program creates a "payment deferral" option for borrowers. "Payment deferral takes the missed mortgage payments and puts them into a payment due at the sale, or refinancing of the home, or the end of the loan. The borrower's monthly mortgage payment will not change. Mortgages that exercise the payment deferral option will remain in Enterprise Mortgage-Backed Securities, subject to the terms of the trust agreements." This applies to only the principal and interest, though, according to  information   on Freddie Mac's website. This payment option is similar to the FHA's "partial claim" payment option, so it will help to create symmetry between the two programs. This change is another option for homeowners in forbearance in addition to the GSEs' current options which include extending the term, lowering rates, and adding the missed payments to the principle and will certainly help some homeowners. These options do not apply to loans that are not federally backed.

NAR: Buffini Says Prepare Your Business for the ‘Green - Flag’  Buyers and sellers are slowly returning to the market. Get your business up to speed for a busy third quarter. Read more.

NAR: Mortgage Rates Hover Near All-Time Lows  Borrowing costs have stayed at or near record lows for five consecutive weeks. Read more.

NAR: Fannie, Freddie Extend Ban on Evictions; Foreclosures  The country experienced a 75% decline in foreclosures year over year in April - but that’s likely a temporary trend. Read more.

RPR: 3 Things to Do Right Now in RPR By now, you’re probably a little more accustomed to your “work from home” situation and hopefully, it’s back to normal sooner than later. In the meantime, RPR gives you three easy tasks to do right now, so you’ll be better prepared for the future. Read more.

NAR: Healthy Q1 Home Price Gains Won’t Slow Down  Strong housing demand and low inventory will keep prices from collapsing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Read more.

NAR: MVP Program - Right Tools, Right Now In this uncertain time, NAR reactivated the Right Tools, Right Now program to make a sweeping selection of resources available free or at reduced cost. See the offerings on finance, technology, and skills building. Check out the individual offers such as huge discounts on education including:
  • Free access to the ePRO Certification course
  • Pricing Strategies Mastering the CMA course
  • Plus all other courses at onlinelearning.realtor are 30% off!
  • Additionally, NAR is funding two months of access to Members TeleHealth at no cost. Read more. 

Commercial Real Estate

NAR Commercial Real Estate Economic Update See NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun's slides on the economic and commercial outlook, which can be found on NAR's Research Group webpage here.   

RPR: 5 Simple Steps for Searching Properties in RPR Commercial
Are you a commercial real estate practitioner looking for something to fill the void while you wait for the world to get back to business? Use this time and follow these 5 easy steps to search over 450K listings and over 55 million off-market properties in RPR Commercial.    Read more.

Property Management

NAR: Problem-Solving Strategies for Property Managers   Some commercial businesses are struggling while others are gearing up to reopen. Use these tips to aid tenants while protecting your assets. Read more.

NAR: 80% of Tenants Still Paid Rent in April   Read more.

NAR: New Luxury Apartment Amenity: COVID-19 Antibody Testing   Read more.


Paycheck Protection Program

SBA Releases Loan Forgiveness Application Read more.

NAR: New PPP Loan Forgiveness Application and Documents The Treasury Department and the SBA have released documents that PPP loan borrowers will need to fill out and provide to their lenders when applying for forgiveness,  which you can find here .  Of the four documents posted, all borrowers will need to fill out and provide their lenders with two of them: the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form and the PPP Schedule A. The documents include detailed instructions for borrowers to use, delineate the eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses the loans can be used for, and walk borrowers through step-by-step how to calculate their forgiveness/show that they have met the program's requirements. See the joint press release from SBA and Treasury  here .


We expect further guidance from the Treasury and SBA on forgiveness, but these documents provide an important first-step for borrowers to use. If you have received a PPP loan, reach out to your lender to ask about any additional documentation/records you will need.  

NAR: New Guidance on PPP Loan Safe Harbor   The Treasury Department released   new guidance pertaining to how the government will review PPP loan borrowers' good-faith certifications of loan necessity (see underlining):

SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has determined that the following safe harbor will apply to SBA's review of PPP loans with respect to this issue: Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith. SBA has determined that this safe harbor is appropriate because borrowers with loans below this threshold are generally less likely to have had access to adequate sources of liquidity in the current economic environment than borrowers that obtained larger loans.

This safe harbor will also promote economic certainty as PPP borrowers with more limited resources endeavor to retain and rehire employees. In addition, given the large volume of PPP loans, this approach will enable SBA to conserve its finite audit resources and focus its reviews on larger loans, where the compliance effort may yield higher returns. Borrowers that receive loans in excess of $2 million may also be deemed to have made the necessary certification in good faith, based on their individual circumstances in light of the language of the certification and SBA guidance (as will likely be determined under an audit).

NAR will continue to pursue more detailed guidance for loans over $2 million including details on the audit process and what "individual circumstances" will result in a good faith certification.

NAR:   SBA guidance in April   stated that self-employed individuals with no employees are to use their 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C, line 31 to calculate their 2019 net profit when applying for a PPP loan.  (The form 1099 MISC is still generally required with the application as well, to show self-employment.) This change came about in part in an attempt to stretch the funding further to assist more small businesses. This update on the program provided clarity to many bankers who weren't sure how to work with independent contractors in this context, and so had simply been denying their PPP applications, which was good, but does reduce the total amount that these borrowers can take.

NAR is continuing to work with both the SBA and Congress as it considers future relief packages/programs to try to improve the PPP loans so members can better benefit, as well as to find other avenues of aid.  

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