8z Covid-19 Updates and Action Plan

The health and safety of our clients and all 8zers are our top priority.
8z Real Estate, 8z Mortgage, 8z Title, 8z Rentals, and 8z Insurance are monitoring updates from the CDC, state and local health authorities; NAR and state and local industry organizations for additional information and guidance.

Stay Current: Latest Updates

From Erik Boye | November 19th
As somewhat expected, most front range counties (as of tomorrow, Friday) have restrictions on open houses. 
For the most part, all but Larimer County (currently) have open house restrictions.  See the map below.  Counties in Red are restricting open houses.  This is an up to date website you can refer to (or check with your team leader as well).  
https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard  

Showings are still allowed with prior referenced precautions.
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This is not that big of a disruption with Thanksgiving week.  I know that everyone wants to turn the dial back ASAP so let's hope the #s go down and they open back up the opportunity.  
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From Erik Boye, July 15th -

 

As we navigate through the real estate market into 2021 it's likely (and unfortunate) that we will have a buyer or a seller contract or be exposed to COVID19

 

Seller contracts COVID 19:
Contact anyone that was on the property for brokerage activities (including inspectors or appraisers etc) within the past 14 days to inform them that they were in a property where an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19 resides, but you should not disclose the specific property or individual involved.  

 

Do not reveal the seller’s identity or the property in any communication unless written consent is obtained from the seller.  

 

You should also contact your doctor regarding your exposure (If you have been in contact with the seller in the past 14 days), self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks in order to minimize the spread of the virus.   

 

CONTACT YOUR TEAM LEADER ON HOW TO PRESENT PROPER NOTIFICATION.

 

 **see below regarding the Sellers Property Disclosure  

 

Buyer contracts COVID 19:  

 

If a buyer/client informs you that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should disclose the information to anyone who may have come into contact with your client as a result of your brokerage activities in the past 14 days.  Notify listing agents that a client you are working with has contracted COVID-19.  There may be involvement from the city or state in tracking those that may have been exposed to your client. Do not reveal the buyer’s identity in any communication unless written consent is obtained from the buyer.  

 

You should also contact your doctor regarding your exposure (If you have been in person to person contact with the buyer in the past 14 days) and self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks in order to minimize the spread of the virus. 

 

CONTACT YOUR TEAM LEADER ON HOW TO PRESENT PROPER NOTIFICATION.

 

Listing a home where someone had or during the listing process contacts COVID-19.  Do you need to disclose?:
If the seller knows that someone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19, they should disclose this through the Seller’s Disclosure Notice (use section N16 "other environmental problems"). This is the best place that addresses similar issues like tobacco smoke, radon etc. COVID-19 is a condition on the property that could materially affect the health of an individual, and, according to experts, it can survive on certain surfaces for days. The seller does not need to disclose which individual in the household tested positive, just that there is a positive COVID-19 test. 

 

If the seller becomes aware of such information later in the transaction, they should update the Seller’s Property Disclosure.

 

In the disclosure, a seller can update and reference the perceived exposure date and remedies thereafter to disinfect the property.

 

This all falls in line with counsel from Jon Goodman.   See the following video in this regard.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoeMv-2QctA&list=PLLpKj0nYRUSC-5gYjdhtHp-rnHF1MGOoU&index=5

 

From Erik Boye - July 3rd -
OPEN HOUSES ALLOWED (with proper precautions)
YES!  The State/Gov approved starting July 1st. 

Eighth Amended Public Health Order 20-28 “Safer at Home” Allows for Open Houses Under Strict Guidelines – July 1

The new amended order, dated June 30, 2020, states: “All Field Services, including real estate, may resume operations, in accordance with the requirements of this Order including Appendix B . Real estate includes in-person real estate showings and marketing services which must adhere to Social Distancing Requirements with cleaning and disinfection between each showing. Open houses must follow the Indoor Event requirements in Section I.H.4 of this Order.

Realtors are expected to follow the 6' rule and agents are expected to navigate/control this.  

Here are some 8z Guidelines to help (similar to showing guidelines):
  • 1 group at a time 
  • Face coverings required  
  • Avoid touching surfaces
  • Disinfect and wipe down surfaces after groups leave
  • Guests MUST log in   (a great way to follow up)
Attached is the amendment from the Governor and the letter sent to the Gov from CAR (your representative $$s at work)

Still Serving Clients

YTD SIGNED

3,098

BUYERS  |  1,839
LISTINGS  |  1,259

YTD UNDER CONTRACT

2,966

BUYERS  |  1,806
LISTINGS  |  1,160

YTD CLOSED

2,474

BUYERS  |  1,467
LISTINGS  |  1,007

UNITS PENDING

308

BUYERS  |  216
LISTINGS  |  92

Stats updated Thursday Nov. 19th 11 am.

Additional Info & Guidance

8z Title - Important Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curbside Closing - March 27th

Available at the following 8z Offices:

Arvada, Boulder, Denver Central, Parker, Littleton, Longmont, Loveland, Windsor

1. Reach out to your 8z Title professional to schedule closing.

2. A secure link containing your closing documents will be sent prior, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the content. Your 8z Realtor will review your settlement statement and other key documents prior to signing. Your 8z Title closer is available for questions over the phone.

3. All required signature lines will be highlighted.
4. Once you have arrived at the closing location, call your closer to let them know that you

are here.

5. We will then meet you curbside and ask that you hold your driver’s license up to the window so a picture can be taken.

6. We will also bring sanitized pens and the first of two sets of documents to sign, and then go back inside. You can sign this set on your own without a notary present.

For a buyer taking out a mortgage, this can be 80 pages.

For a seller or a cash buyer, this can be 10 pages.

7. If you have any questions, make a note and your 8z Title professional can answer them when they return to your car.

8. Call when done signing these documents and we will come back out to your car.
9. We will then give you a second set of documents. These require a notary present, so

they will stay while you sign. This is a smaller set.

10. After signing, we will then take all the documents back inside and do a quick audit to make sure everything was signed properly and completely.

11. If funding authorization from a lender is required, we will obtain funding authorization. 12. We will then call you and let you know that everything is complete and you can leave. 13. We will let you and your 8z Realtor know when the sale is complete.

14. After both buyer and seller have signed, we will email you a secure link with your closing docs within 24 hours.

 

8z Mortgage - Important Updates

From Dave Bliesmer, May 12th

We are excited to announce that hybrid closings are now being offered on all eligible transactions! A hybrid closing allows the borrower to e-sign all of their mortgage closing documents with the Loan Officer prior to closing. Title will then receive the handful of documents that require notary.

  • Loan Officer will discuss the hybrid loan closing with every client during the underwriting process of the loan.
  • If the client elects the hybrid closing option, the agent and title will be notified prior to closing.
  • There are only a few ineligible purchase transactions for hybrid closing at this time:
    • POA transactions
    • Title in the name of a trust at closing
    • CHFA / Bond loan programs, and other wholesale locked programs

Our amazing 8z Title team has closed a hybrid purchase transaction with us, and all was very smooth and painless! Please expect to hear from your Loan Officer on hybrid closing confirmations moving forward!

 

From Dave Bliesmer, April 8th

I just want to add input in connection to the jumbo loan market. Especially since you may have seen news that Wells Fargo announced they will only issue jumbo loans on a retail basis AND only to clients that have $250,000+ in liquid assets in Wells Fargo Bank. Expect more news of this nature.

  • The jumbo market is drying up, and at a rapid pace.
  • This is to be expected under the existing economic circumstances.
  • Totally logical to see investors step to the sideline until it is “business as usual”.
  • We tend to navigate these changes behind the scenes, moving things from one investor to another.

Please do not be overly alarmed by this market movement. This has been anticipated over the past few weeks, and for good reason. Concern for early payment defaults is high, and loan servicers will see a need to direct capital towards forbearance, so a greater focus allocated to an existing servicing portfolio as opposed to new loans.

Now there is a very positive perspective to add to this!

  • A conforming 1st mortgage with a 2nd mortgage is pricing out tremendously more attractive than jumbo options anyway. Even without jumbo volatility, we would be advising clients of this loan structure today.
  • Agency loans have not only stabilized, but have settled into a much more consistent pattern with lock options.
  • The jumbo market will stabilize once servicers know where they sit financially post-COVID; post-forbearance.
  • We have moved almost exclusively to an agency direct origination model, which brings tremendous consistency in funding and rate lock options.

Your 8z Mortgage team has remained nimble, positive, and extremely focused with navigating the policy changes, and market conditions that have been coming and going at a rapid pace. We will continue to keep this focus, and will continue to share perspective when it is appropriate so you know confidence and optimism is still strong!

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From Dave Bliesmer - April 6th, 6:30 pm

We have received a number of questions related to the CARES Act (The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). As most are aware, this is a law meant to address the economic fallout of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Given the questions we have encountered thus far, we find it is best to provide the appropriate information sources as opposed to summarizing this with perspective, or paraphrased highlights. Below is a list of reference points that provide a consumer friendly overview of the payment relief topics.

Video:

Industry and policy updates:

Be cautious about:

  • Taking specific advice or input from anyone other than the existing loan servicer.
  • The existing servicing lender has the full discretion to grant payment forbearance, regardless of the specific loan type or loan program.
  • It is also discretion of the servicing lender to the terms of the forbearance. This includes requiring all deferred payments due in one entire lump sum at the end of the agreed period.

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From Dave Bliesmer - April 3rd, 6:30 pm

Here are some notes to share in connection to mortgage news this week.

  • Payment Forbearance:

This is a gray area, as it is at the discretion of the existing loan servicer to monitor and grant forbearance terms. If you have inquiry on this topic from clients, always refer them to their existing servicing lender. As it stands, the servicers are going to expect those payments to be made at some future point in time, and terms of future payment to be determined by the servicing lender.

  • Ginnie Mae (FHA, VA, USDA)

Still working for policy update. We are seeing some of the government loan lock options come back. At the same time, we are seeing some overlays to these loan programs that will potentially have some restrictions to FICO scores under 660. We may see this ease so more pending Ginnie Mae policy update. Your LO team is doing a fantastic job of filtering these details to each and every borrower that may be impacted.

  • Jumbo

All lock options are all expired at the close of business today. This is typical given current market conditions. It will be common to see options only available during business hours. I only mention so you have explanation to the “expired” rate in the below chart.

  • The consistent lending sweet spot

This is still conventional loans (Fannie/Freddie) with FICO over 680, and government loans (Ginnie) with FICO over 660. Historically, these borrower FICO demographics make up roughly 85% of all 8z business.

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From Dave Bliesmer - Monday March 30th 10 am

I just want to send this quick note to let everyone know we anticipate to see mortgage rates take a bit of a jump this week. This is related to the fact that agency pipelines are still backlogged for securitization, and new hedged rate locks will be less desirable while pipelines are clearing. This is expected, and rates will settle again when this runs its course. Unless a borrower absolutely needs to lock a rate, we will be advising most clients to consider floating the rate and locking at a future date.

As it stands, industry speculation is that this may be a week or two at this point, while things run their course. We will continue to keep you updated!

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From Dave Bliesmer - Thursday March 26th 12:50 pm

Here are a few more quick updates from 8z Mortgage:

  1. 8z Mortgage will be offering all future eligible clients involuntary job loss payment assistance, via our Payment Assurance Program.

Through our Payment Assurance Program, we would:

Cover up to 6 monthly mortgage payments (doesn’t have to be consecutive) to borrowers who find themselves involuntarily unemployed.   The maximum monthly benefit would be capped at $1,500 per month and the coverage would be for two years from the date of closing.  Maximum benefit is capped at $9,000.  It’s a free benefit for our borrowers - they don’t have to pay a premium to get this protection.  The 8z Mortgage Loan Officer will determine borrower eligibility at the time of pre-approval. The program only applies to involuntary job loss.

    2. Agency payment forgiveness on existing mortgage loans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a forbearance program for borrowers unable to pay their loans because of the effects of the coronavirus. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes the FHA loan program, announced the same. That is a huge relief for borrowers, who can now delay payments without penalty. Unfortunately there’s a hitch. 

The mortgage servicers, the companies that collect monthly payments, are required to pass those payments on to the investors who own those loans in mortgage-backed securities even if the borrowers don’t pay. Servicers also have to pay insurers and tax authorities. No specific speculation to how this will impact servicer’s ability to honor payment forgiveness, so this will be an on-going story.

     3. Mortgage E-Closings are in development

There will be isolated test closings for this service beginning April 5, 2020. This will be very isolated, and very controlled, and will not involve any 8z purchase transactions during the test periods. The initial tests are going to allow a borrower to e-sign the vast majority of the closing documents prior to closing. The borrower will then sign the few notarized documents at closing. We will keep you posted on these developments.

A fully automated e-sign close, with no physical notary, will require Remote Online Notarization (RON), and we will continue to see RON updates from 8z Title as well.

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From Dave Bliesmer, 3/24/20

Be prepared for a number of mortgage industry headlines with purposed policy changes to continue. The news thus far has been posting “talk” in addition to “policy”, so we will continue to keep you posted on when things are official. Many of you have been asking questions about media posts already, and continue asking, as we welcome all of these questions to keep you in the know!

With this in mind, I’d like to provide a quick update of policy changes taking effect thus far:

  1. Non-agency loans are getting tight, and in many cases being suspended until further notice by many investors.
  • These are loans that are not agency backed (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, USDA).
  • On a monthly basis, non-agency loans account for 2.23% of the total 8z Mortgage volume.
  • Specific to 8z Mortgage, our most popular jumbo loan products are those of the JP Morgan family of companies. We do not anticipate these programs to stop given their available capital, but we may see LTV restrictions come about in the short term. We will keep you posted on any changes.
  • Please be mindful of this on the listing side when you are entertaining offers with jumbo financing. Your local LO can give specific input as needed.

2. Appraisal requirements have been formally updated.

    • These changes are specific to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional loans. FHA/VA appraisal requirements are presently unchanged.
    • For purchase transactions, a loan to value under 85% will allow an appraiser to perform an exterior only if there is any complication or concern to accessing the interior of the property. The caveat is that the MI provider must also approve the use of the exterior only when the loan is subject to MI. The LO on the transaction should be able to confirm for all parties if the exterior only is allowed for the specific transaction.
    • If an appraisal is made “subject-to” repair, the lender can accept a signed letter from the borrower which confirms all repairs have been completed, along with either photos of the repair, or invoices for the repair being completed.

3. Verification of employment

  • Specific to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conventional loans. Lenders can now complete the final verification of employment, within 10-days of closing, via modified methods beyond a formal verbal or written verification of employment.

4. IRS filing deadline

  • This is indeed extended form April, 15 to July 15, 2020. Good news related to self employed borrowers and the timing of their underwriting process.

We will continue to see continued industry policy updates in the days and weeks to come, and will pass along as things are official!

Addressing COVID-19 in Contracts - Updated Thursday, 3/26

From Erik Boye | Mar 24, 7:33 pm

 
Today the Colorado Division of Real Estate approved an official COVID-19 addendum (attached). 
 
As a brokerage, we recommend that all 8zers attach this addendum to their contracts going forward. 
  
Here is how we recommend you complete the addendum:
 
1. Delay Period -   Fill in 7 days. This should provide enough time to overcome any unforeseen issue that delays closing. 
 
2. Box #1 - Check it.  It allows for an extension if there is a shut down that delays closing.
 
3. Blank in the body of paragraph #1 - Fill in 45 days. This is an automatic termination provision for closings that are repeatedly delayed so give yourself and your clients plenty of time to figure things out. before terminating.
 ... if Buyer and/or Seller is prevented  from closing within  45 days  from  the original Closing Date due  to governmental entities’ and/or Settlement  Service  Providers’  delays, this  Contract  terminates and, per Section 25.2  of  the Contract, all Earnest Money will be returned to the Buyer  
 
4Box #2 - Check it  This applies to if the buyer or seller is COVID-19 infected or exposed.  Note a key reference in this section is that: 
Nothing in this provision terminates or otherwise excuses a party's performance under the Contract as amended. 
 
It is still 8z's position that the best real estate practice involves drafting dates and deadlines that account for today's Covid-19 environment and dynamics.  Plan ahead for inspections and appraisals, and draft dates and deadlines accordingly by first communicating with inspectors and mortgage lenders.
Schedule closing dates a minimum of 30 days out unless you have made detailed arrangements for a speedier close.  
 
Should something arise that creates a conflict, use your sales expertise to work with the other agent and negotiate accordingly for an Amend/Extend. The Covid Addendum does not replace the Amend/Extend as your most effective contract tool.
 
If you have specific deal related questions, please reach out to your respective Team Leader, who will subsequently reach out to me as needed to be of best assistance to you.
 
Stay healthy, wash your hands and Happy Contracting!
 
We are all doing our part to keep drafting contracts and accepting contracts on listings.  Timing and frequency are changing but we are masters of adaption.
 
Many of you have asked how to address the COVID-19 situation in contracts. 
 
Unless there is a CAR or NAR mandate, we will maintain our position at 8z to keep it simple. We are very aware that some brokerages have adopted lengthy Covid-19 addendums, but based on legal counsel, we do not feel that is in the best interests of our clients at this time. 
Rather than have an over-reaching addendum that could create additional uncertainty and complexity, I would advise the following:
 
1)  Use an Amend/Extend for any necessary extensions as the situation arises.This has always been an effective tool to use and will continue to be. Stay out in front of any possible bumps on the road to closing. Use A/Es early and often!
 
2) Should you have a seller or buyer concerned about COVID-19 situations/scenarios, feel free to use the following reference in the additional provisions...note this statement does not extend termination rights but rather allows for a closing extension IF needed.  For other necessary deadline extensions use an A/E.
 
"Parties acknowledge and agree that COVID-19 may cause a delay in the Closing Date.  Buyer and Seller agree to automatically extend the Closing for a period of ____days if Closing is unable to occur due to a government/regulatory order related to COVID-19 or either party are diagnosed with COVID-19."  
 
My suggestion is 5 business days.
 
**NOTE.   Only use this as needed.  I do not recommend this be a catch-all clause for COVID-19 situations. It's merely a tool should it be necessary to ease concerns and unknowns, and keep buyers and sellers together in a transaction.
 
3) Should you represent a seller and receive a contract with a lengthy COVID-19 statement/addendum, contact your TL and ask for proper advice in countering/adjusting/deleting such clauses. COVID-19 is a obviously an issue, but some of the clauses and addendums do not create any clarity and may cause more problems than they solve.
 
Being willing to work through issues is one thing, but extra extensions and delayed termination clauses create uncertainty.
 
4) Consider drafting the inspection deadlines sooner rather than later to offer more seller consideration and confidence.  Have your inspector lined up for as soon as possible.   
 
8z Real Estate is at the forefront of all this I am able to assist your TL with advice to provide to you as you continue to draft great contracts for your clients in these fluid days.

Office Precautions

We have plans in place so the normal flow of your business will face minimal disruption.

  • A mandatory “stay-home” policy for any staff member or agents exhibiting any sign of illness.
  • All staff will now be working from home and we will reassess the situation on March 31st. 
  • Meetings will be conducted virtually (Zoom, Facetime, etc.)
  • Cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer and other cleaning products will be provided to the best of our ability.
  • Our managers and staff have been instructed to ensure shared spaces in the office are cleaned regularly.

Listing Showings

  • Showings remain critical to properly servicing our listing and buying clients.
  • Offer Virtual Showings. These can be conducted over a private Facebook Live event or Facetime.

Contact your Sellers and Buyers

  • We recommend you contact both sellers and buyers you are working with to reassure them during uncertain times.
  • We addressed C-19 in our March Sphere e-newsletter.
  • Please reference emails from Lane Hornung, Erik Boye, and Dave Bliesmer in regard to C-19’s impact on Real Estate. Leadership will continue to update our 8z Nation during this time.

Open Houses

  • After a tour of the home showing people a listing video or 3D tour on your screen...
  • How to go live from your mobile device:

        - https://remindermedia.com/blog/how-to-go-live-on-facebook-mobile/

  • Create an event on Facebook and share your Facebook Live open house on social media channels:

             - https://www.facebook.com/help/210413455658361?helpref=about_content

  • Consider boosting your event to reach a larger audience:

            - https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1519209995047756

  • After a tour of the home, offer regional market stats, neighborhood market stats, Homebot sign ups, or virtual real estate reviews during your FB live session.

General Precautions for Interacting with Buyers, Sellers and the Community

  • 8zers must be mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population.
  • You may ask clients or others about their recent travel, particularly to areas identified as having an increased risk of Coronavirus. If you are going to ask this question, be sure to ask all clients the same screening questions based on current, factual information from public health authorities. This is important relative to the Fair Housing Act.
  • You may refuse to drive clients who show signs of illness or reveal recent travel to areas of increased risk of Coronavirus, or you may instead decide to stop driving clients in your car altogether and simply arrange to meet them at a property. If you do continue to drive clients in your car, it is a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles and seat belt latches, and to ask them to use hand sanitizer when getting in and out of the car.

Training and Meetings

  • 8zer training will continue as and be conducted virtually.
  • 8z Coaches, Team Leaders, and Leadership will conduct all trainings virtually via Zoom until further notice.
  • 8z will continue to provide more resources, tools, and training to assist working remotely.

Staying Healthy - Personal Measures to Avoid Risk

  • If you have traveled to any high risk areas we ask that you please do not come into the office for the 14-day incubation period.
  • Stay home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or any other cold or flu-like symptom.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

There is still much you can do (outside of personally interacting with others) to build your business under these circumstances:

  • Clean up contacts
  • Make phone calls
  • Make video calls
  • Set up drip campaigns
  • Take time to learn new tools
  • Polish buyer/seller consultations
  • Finish your income taxes
  • Email your database or text a video with how to prepare your home for this
  • Update your testimonials & website
  • Prepare & schedule future touches for sphere marketing (research articles, write cards)
  • Schedule social media posts & update your online profiles
  • Send thoughtful private messages to 5 social media contacts per day
  • Expand your contact base online (join groups, search linked in, follow people)
  • Record videos for the future (home how to’s are great! Avoiding Transaction pitfalls. Market preparation and property resumes)

Instructions, Links, and Tips: