Homeowners have been through a really bumpy year. Things were rolling along smoothly one minute, and the next BAM! everyone is stuck at home and wondering where the next mortgage payment is coming from. If it wasn’t for the provisions in federal bills signed into law, A LOT of homeowners would be in the midst of foreclosure proceedings right now.
As it is, homeowners have been googling many different questions about homes, homeownership and real estate in the pandemic. See if any of the following questions and answers look familiar to the ones you have been googling.Read More »
1. What will happen to the pause in mortgage payments if congress can’t sign a new stimulus bill by the end of 2020?
Actually, the “pause” in mortgage payments comes with a built-in deadline already. The forbearance provided in the CARES Act back in March requires federally-backed mortgages to supply homeowners with up to 180 days to pause their mortgages. In case you need help with the conversion, that’s six whole months.
However, you may be required to repay that six months PLUS the seventh month all at once when your forbearance is up. Whether or not that forbearance assistance language will be included in a new relief package is still uncertain.
2. How do I get a forbearance on my mortgage?
That’s easy-peasy. Just talk to your lender and ask for the forbearance. It is possible that many lenders will assist you with the paperwork over the phone, since no bank is doing business in person right now. Just make sure you understand the full repercussions of this decision and be ready to start payments again later.
3. How long is the forbearance if I have a private lender?
A private lender on a mortgage is an investor or a broker, or anyone that is not backed by the federal government to lend money. In these cases, mortgages may only get half the same amount of time as other home owners who have traditional lenders. Ask your lending company for details.
4. Are homes still selling in a pandemic economy?
The short answer is, “Yes.” The longer answer is that homes are not only selling, but selling WAY above their fair market value. It is a seller’s market, even though most people don’t have the money to pay a mortgage right now.
5. Are property values on my house going up or down?
Shockingly, a lot of property values are going up. While that is a good thing if you can’t begin payments again or keep up with payments and want to sell, it’s a bad thing later on. It creates a real estate bubble with inflated market values that may blow up. If you are going to sell, do it sooner than later.
6. How do I get a property evaluation right now?
In a pandemic it is tricky to get a property evaluation, to be sure. However, a real estate agent and a home inspector can do this safely and easily from the lawn and with proper masks/PPE. Then you can see how high the property values have risen on your home in comparison to what your city says it’s worth.
7. DIY home and property improvements I can do during the pandemic?
Actually, many people are doing DIY home improvements now. Stuck at home for months has made people into their own contractors. If you are concerned about your own abilities with bigger projects, do something smaller, like paint a room or replace faceplates on light switches.
8. Are contractors working during the pandemic?
Yes, contractors are working during the pandemic. Most of them take the necessary safety precautions while working in your home. If you have a plumbing, HVAC, or electrical emergency, these are considered “necessary workers” and they are available for repairs and projects.
9. Do I and my family have to wear masks in our home when we have a contractor working?
Well, technically, no, but it’s a polite and nice thing to do. They are wearing a mask at work to protect you. You should do the same. Some states do require people to wear masks in their own homes if they have hired contractors, but there are no “mask police.”
10. How can I disinfect my home against the virus?
Anything with bleach or hydrogen peroxide in it will do. A viricide product is even better because it targets a wide range of viruses, including COVID.
11. How often should I be disinfecting my home against the Coronavirus?
The CDC recommends daily disinfection of all frequently touched surfaces. However, the surfaces that are more disconcerting and more likely to spread the virus are stainless steel and plastic. Most other material surfaces are not really inhabitable for the virus and the virus is short-lived on these surfaces.
12. Are commercial disinfectants a good idea for fighting the virus?
Yes, they are stronger and more powerful. Yet, a lot of these products are so strong that the companies that make them recommend or instruct consumers to dilute them with water prior to use. Definitely don’t resort to industrial cleaners.
13. What happened to some of the cleaners I used to use in my home before the pandemic?
Homeowners were shocked when the first wave of people bought out every roll of toilet paper and every cleaning product and every bottle of bleach back in March and April. However, there was still this lingering question about where certain favorite cleaning products went. A popular cleaner like 409 vanished, and the reason was because the manufacturer temporarily stopped making it in order to focus on making viricides instead of antibacterial products.
14. Can I invite people inside my home, or are gatherings outside better?
In truth, the CDC recommends that you don’t have any gatherings, parties, or celebrations with anyone outside your own immediate kin that live with you. The virus hangs in the air for hours and collects on solid surfaces for up to three days, depending on the material of the surface. If you do have people over, practice social distancing with masks outdoors, not in.
15. Are pool parties safe because of the chlorine?
The idea that because pools have a lot of chlorine in them the virus can’t survive is only partially founded in fact. The virus can’t survive on the outside of everybody in the pool, but unless everyone is guzzling pool water, it really isn’t that safe. People in the pool are not likely to drink the pool either. Unless your pool in your yard is really huge and everyone can be in it at a safe distance, it’s not a good idea.
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