CORE Association of Realtors ® News
Special Edition Newsletter March 26, 2020

Top Story - $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Nears Final Approval - Includes Independent Contractors
The package  is nearing federal approval and includes a provision that the National Association of REALTORS® advocacy team has strongly worked alongside Congress to achieve—an inclusion of unemployment aid that also would apply to independent contractors, a category that traditionally is not included in unemployment laws but one that many real estate professionals fall into.  Read now.

Local

CORE asks all members with information about any NJ municipalities that are not conducting occupancy and fire inspections or run into problems with title and deed searches on the county level to email that information asap to CORE CEO Anne Rendle at Anne@Core-Realtors.com . Anne will forward these items to the NJ Realtors Government Affairs Department. It is vital that we share this information with NJ Realtors so they can assist us at the municipal and county levels.

Ewing Township has adopted, with the support of the Mayor, a self-certification option for Property Transfer Certification (commonly referred to as CO). With the support of the Mayor Click the Mercer County Municipal List , which is posted on the CORE website. To view a list of the Ewing’s Fire Prevention page, click here .

Branchburg Township Thanks to Joseph V. Olivo, Fire Marshall from Branchburg for sending to CORE the following documents to share with our members:


Reminder: CORE'S 2020 Circle of Excellence Awards event has been postponed, and members will be updated when a new date is set. 

State

The NJ Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Governor’s Office, is seeking information from small-to-medium enterprise owners and leaders to inform the development of new programs and initiatives to support organizations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to complete a survey for the following initiative: Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) Financial Assistance Survey . Please complete the survey by Saturday night, March 28. They will use this information to guide the development of short-term support that will be launched imminently.

Legal

The following items are from CORE Legal Counsel Barry Goodman's firm, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP:

Executive Order 106  This Order , effective as of March 19, 2020, protects New Jersey residential tenants from being forcibly removed from their residences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the Order:
  • Prohibits landlords, sheriffs, court officers, and their agents from physically removing any lessee, tenant, homeowner or other person from a residential property as the result of an eviction or foreclosure proceeding;
  • Permits the initiation and continuation of eviction and foreclosure proceedings but prohibits the enforcement of judgments for possession, warrants of removal, and writs of possession, unless permitted by a court "in the interest of justice";
  • Maintains any schedule of rent that is due. "Residential property" is defined as "any property rented or owned for residential purposes, including, but not limited to, any house, building, mobile home or land in a mobile home park, or tenement leased for residential purposes" but does not include hotels, motels, or other guest houses, or part thereof, rented to transient guests or seasonal tenants, or residential health care facilities.
 
COVID-19 Employment Law Update: Paid Sick and Family Leave vs Unemployment Insurance Benefits M any employers are grappling with hard decisions regarding reducing their workforce for various reasons. Click here to view an overview of paid sick and family leave options vs. unemployment insurance benefits options.
 
New Jersey Extends Filing Deadline for Real Estate Tax Appeals Due to COVID-19 
In an Order entered by the NJ Supreme Court on March 19, 2020, the filing deadlines for 2020 tax appeals for both County Boards of Taxation and the Tax Court of New Jersey were extended to May 1, 2020 or 30 days following a determination by Governor Phil Murphy that the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared under Executive Order 103 has ended.   Click here for more .
 
Local MLS Providers

Garden State MLS – Temporary change to Virtual Tour and Showing Restrictions
GSMLS is revising certain policies to help our members deal with the impact of the coronavirus on their business operations. Click here to learn about the new rules and advisory information, and
How to Add A Virtual Tour To A Listing . The policy revisions will remain in effect until further notice.
To view the video, click here.

Bright MLS

  • What's Happening Now? To help provide you with the information you need, Bright has launched a new report to give you real-time data from the Bright footprint. These reports will be posted as they are released. To access the latest report, click here.
  • COVID-19 Page has been extremely well-received by members. In particular, the enhanced leeway for virtual showings was greatly appreciated from the marketplace - especially in response to restrictions on eternal business operations in places like Pennsylvania. You can access the Bright MLS COVID-19 page here.

Supra

Supra has informed us that, for subscribers who request to put their eKEY account on hold at this time, Supra will waive the activation fee through at least May when they restart service and will revisit the dates as things progress.  

National

NAR - Adjusting Your Business to a New Normal How real estate pros and brokerages are adapting to work-from- home and virtual environments — and increasingly becoming beacons of calm for their clients in these uncertain times.

NAR - Brokerage Says Video Home Tour Requests Spike 500%  Home selling goes on, even as the COVID-19 outbreak causes mass closures across the U.S. House hunters are adapting their search. “The future of real estate has come earlier than any of us could have anticipated,” Redfin’s CEO says. Read more .
 
NAR - REALTORS® Step Up Relief Efforts in Response to Coronavirus  Many REALTORS® are fighting against tall odds to deliver food, shelter, and health care to the most vulnerable citizens . Read more .

NAR - Mortgage Giants Ease Appraisal Requirements  The  Federal Housing Finance Agency says the action is to “allow for homes to continue to be bought, sold, and refinanced as our nation deals with the challenges of Coronavirus”.  Click here to read more.

Realtors Property Resource - Working from home? Work on your skills… 5 Real Estate Apps that will ‘Wow’ your clients    Read on to learn how digital apps such as Punkpost, Quigler, Updater and Proofhub are helping REALTORS ®  sharpen their skills and up their game.
 
NAR - Urges Swift Passage of Remote Notarization Bill  Congress is considering legislation to make it easier to complete transactions electronically in the current environment. Read more .
 
NAR - Marjor Builder: Coronavirus Won’t Kill New Construction “Even in the current environment, we are selling homes,” said Lennar Corp.’s executive chairman Stuart Miller. He added, "...low mortgage rates could incentivize a rush of new-home buyers once the coronavirus pandemic eases. ”  For more, click here .
 
NAR - IHackers Are Trying to Spread Another Type of Virus  Real estate practitioners should take precautions as cybercriminals prey on those working from home. There is a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that is targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Read more .
 
NAR - `I Will Survive’: This REALTOR® Is Getting the World Singing Ilana Minkoff was just looking to brighten up her evenings through song in her San Francisco neighborhood. She had no clue she was about to set off a Facebook singalong movement across the globe. Read more .

NAR – Resources for Owners An   NAR resource  — updated daily — lists assistance for property owners by federal agencies, banks, mortgage loan servicers, and others during the COVID-19 crisis. To view, click here.

NAR Efforts to Support Realtors, Homeowners and Renters
Supporting homeowners and renters during this crisis will be critical to limit the negative impact on them and the economy. A few things every Realtor should know:
  • The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (e.g. the GSEs), FHA, VA, Rural, and RHS are all providing 60-day forbearance to those who request it from their servicer. The same entities have imposed a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for the next 60 days.
  • The GSEs have also waived fees and will add the missed payments onto the end, as you suggest. Some large banks have discussed forbearance as well; if your loan is backed by a private bank, you should reach out to them, or your servicer. Banks and servicers will need help. Widespread forbearance has never happened before. This means that the servicer/bank will need to keep extending the payments to investors even if they do not receive payments from homeowners. This obligation will quickly drain their reserves, eliminating their ability to make new mortgages or business loans. As a result, the Federal Reserve, Treasury, Ginnie Mae, or GSEs need to step in and provide short-term, zero-interest loans to these banks/servicers so that they can keep paying investors while consumers do not pay. Otherwise, it will deepen the economic pain dramatically. We have been actively discussing this issue with our partners on the Hill, regulators, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, as well as the other housing trade groups since the crisis began. We will continue to work with them to share information and coordinate responses. 
  • In the last two weeks, NAR has been communicating regularly with the CFPB, HUD, FHFA, White House, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and, of course, with Congress sharing Realtors' concerns about the market and how deals are being impacted.
  • NAR is working with the appraisal community to find a solution to appraiser shortages.
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considering allowing more auto-appraisals than usual to address the appraisal issues. This will not be a solution in every community, but it may help to clear the extra refinance volume so that lenders can focus on purchases and rates can ease.
  • The CFPB and others have been made aware of the impact of shuttering local government offices.
  • The Federal Reserve has actively intervened in the mortgage market to buy mortgages directly and drive rates down. This began yesterday, and rates eased by late afternoon.
  • NAR is working on expanding remote notarization so that more work can be done without interaction.
  • NAR has recommended that regulators suspend certain regulatory actions for the time being to focus on a response to COVID-19.
 
Consumer confidence and employment are key to recovery during these unprecedented times. NAR continues to advocate for a fast and robust economic stimulus and to share information with the market, consumers, and administration.

NAR pledges to continue to support the efforts of regulators, agencies, the administration, and firms to respond in these tough times.