COVID-19 And The Real Estate Market - Jupiter, FL

Dated: March 23 2020

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COVID-19 and the Real Estate Market

By: Brett Boettge

This is a collection of my general thoughts regarding what we can control through this pandemic. I will do my best to leave opinion out in areas I am not an expert in, such as science and healthcare the CDC as well as the local and State government has guidance for those areas. So where to begin? Let's start with my extended family…the REALTOR population. 

PART I

Real Estate Agents & Brokers: I understand that we are all human, we all deal with stress and situations differently. Some shut down, some double down and nearly all of us react in some way. I will do my best not to use trigger words, those words that shut some of us down as we judge the author as “Pollyannaish” or looking at things with “Rose Colored Glasses”...you know the words, “Blessed”, “Grateful”, “Thankful”.... And I will use the term, slightly better off than. That is what you are as a REALTOR in a pandemic, slightly better off than those that are employees because the only person that can choose to lay you off 100%, is you. Even if you can no longer show houses, the Country stops recording deeds and mortgages so you can’t close homes...even in those worst case real estate scenarios, you are still slightly better off. On a personal note, I have three Sisters, two have already lost their jobs due to COVID-19...there is NOTHING they can do to earn income from the jobs they lost, someone else made a decision to take away their opportunity….as a REALTOR, even if all your pending transactions crumble in these uncharted waters, you are still OPEN FOR BUSINESS until YOU DECIDE OTHERWISE. It is THAT CHOICE, that ELEMENT OF CONTROL that will always ensure you are slightly better off than employees. In the event that real estate stopped, that is ZERO TRANSACTIONS COULD CLOSE for 90 days...you STILL are slightly better off than most because even if you can’t build market share during that time, you CAN BUILD MINDSHARE which is a precursor to market share. You have 60-90 days to establish yourself as a leader, gain the trust of your sphere of influence and then your community. In future blogs I will dive deep into how I believe we can use this time as REALTORS… but for now I bet you can self discover your own path to remaining effective by asking yourself great questions:

  1. If I had to list a home this week, how could I get that done?

  2. If I were a Buyer, Seller or Past Client, what information would I want to hear from my REALTOR right now? How can I get that information to them? What is my deadline to deliver that information?

  3. What marketing or personal growth projects do I have time for now?

  4. How am I using my time now? Is that use of time serving me?

  5. What would it take to dedicate 4 hours a day to growing my business despite COVID-19 and it’s disruption?

  6. What is the best way to protect and enhance my mindset for 30 minutes each morning? What books can I read? Motivational Clips? Meditation? Affirmations? Gratitude?

  7. Who needs your help? Who can you talk to that will direct you to someone that needs your help?

This is the time for us to KEEP MOVING despite what is happening in the world. For many of us, we don’t have to learn anything new to thrive in this market, we simply have to do what we should have been doing all along. Measure your efforts over the next 90 days not by closings, but your ability to stick to a proven schedule that includes 4 hours of focused business building daily.


PART II

COVID-19 Programs for Buyers & Sellers

Offered by Brett & Jody Boettge

 

We have spent quite a bit of time working with our vendors, looking at our budget and determining what parts of our process require physical interaction in the event of a “Stay-At-Home” order or similar. We then went to work to determine what types of programs we can provide to assist home buyers and home sellers in Palm Beach & Martin Counties. 

 

For Buyers: Since 2014 Jody and I have offered a “Happiness Guarantee” when you purchased a home with us. The Happiness Guarantee stated that, “If for any reason you have to sell your property within two years of purchase, we would list your home for free.” This program was designed for Job Loss, Divorce, Relocation, You didn’t like your neighbor….any reason at all, we would list it for free. We crafted this program because life happens and our careers were born in the real estate collapse…we saw home buyers forced to sell and emptying their savings just to cover closing costs. We wanted to create programs that provided TRUE VALUE, benefits that weren’t just for show. Honestly, since 2014 when we launched the program home values have done nothing but increase, six of our over 200 past clients used the program which reduced their selling expenses and increased their profit. Since COVID-19 has spread through South Florida, many jobs have already been lost and many, many more are threatened. It is THIS market our program was designed for...we all need a roof over our heads and if we can add some peace-of-mind with the same successful program we have used since 2014, then we are happy to do so. The program again is simple and its original roll out was sealed with a handshake. To summarize our Happiness Guarantee:

 

  • Hire Brett & Jody Boettge to assist you in purchasing a home whether resale, condo, single family or new construction. 

  • Should you need to sell that property for any reason within 2 years from your closing date, we’ll list it for free… 100% free.

 

This was a benefit to our clients and rarely did we put any effort into sharing this with the general marketplace. We are going to call the program, “COVID-19 Home Buyer Assurance Plan” which is the same program as the Happiness Guarantee has always been, but we wanted people to be more descriptive in the title so Buyer’s understood the intent of our offer.

For Sellers: After living through 2008 & 2009, we learned after food, water and shelter, CASH was key. Undoubtedly we, as a Country are moving into this next recession in a much better financial place than we were in 2008 & 2009, but we recognize that much of a homeowners net worth could be locked up in their homes. We are rolling out a LIMITED plan for Seller’s as a last resort if they have lost their jobs and remain unemployed. Let’s discuss some housing options ahead of that:

 

Forbearance

 

 If coronavirus has caused job loss, income reduction, sickness, or other issues that impact your ability to make your monthly mortgage payment, relief options are available.

  • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months

  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees

  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended

  • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent workout option to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification

  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days

Source: https://bit.ly/2J6g4gN

A forbearance is helpful if you have an income still but cannot make your housing payment, however suspending your housing payment doesn’t give you access to your equity which you may need for basic needs in the event you don’t have an income or cash reserves.

Home Equity Line or Cash Out Refinance

A home equity line or refinance is a great way to convert the equity in your home into cash you may need. This like many other types of credit are much more readily available WHEN YOU DON’T NEED THEM. To take advantage of this option you must be proactive. If you see the potential for job/income loss it is advisable to seek these options today while you still have your job and income. During the process of refinance a lender will conduct a Verification of Employment all the way up to the day prior or a few days prior to close. If you wait until you have lost your job/income, they won’t likely allow you to turn your equity into cash via a refinance or line of credit.

This leads us to our last resort in the event of job/income loss, our new, COVID-19 Equity Preservation Listing.

COVID-19 Equity Preservation Listing

This is a flat fee, full service listing for Seller’s that need to sell their home to access their equity for living expenses. This program will last until July 1st 2020 and is limited to 10 listings. This plan is largely digital and includes the world class marketing our clients are used to with a few additions and modifications for the current environment:

  • Candidates for the COVID-19 Equity Preservation Listing will be asked to complete an online survey and provide proof of hardship relating to COVID-19.

  • Listings will be a FLAT FEE AND FULL SERVICE starting at $750 with ala-carte add ons at cost to $1,250 and will include the following:

    • World Class Photography

    • Matterport 3D Virtual Tours (Providing Buyer’s the most realistic 3D virtual tour)

    • Digital Staging

    • Supra Lock Box for Secure Access 

    • Listing in  the MLS & Syndicate Sites such as Zillow.com and Realtor.com

    • ShowingTime Scheduling via App for Seller’s Instant Approval

    • Contract Negotiation

    • Contract to Close Management

    • 1x Pay-Per-Click Marketing Campaign (2 weeks of ad spend)

    • The Most Advanced team of Closers/Attorney’s to assist in navigating closings and law regarding COVID-19. 

    • Video Market Updates & COVID-19 Guidance

As you can see above, Jody and I are donating our time and subsidizing a large portion of our cost while still providing world class service to a limited number of Sellers that experience job/income loss and have no other options to access equity or provide basic needs for their families. Our ultimate goal is to keep those that want to remain in their homes and we are happy to help guide you through your options to do so. For more information on this program, to discuss your options or to receive a link to the online survey for candidates, please email Brett@PropertyReveal.com

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Brett Boettge

Brett & Jody bring over 25 years of combined experience to their residential real estate operation headquartered in Jupiter, FL and serving Miami to Vero Beach on the Atlantic Coast and Great Tampa, F....

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