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COVID-19 and the Outer Banks Real Estate Market

8 Apr 2020
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Real Estate Sales

The real estate market is adapting quite well to the current restrictions and the Stay at Home order that is in place for North Carolina.  We are fortunate that we are well acquainted with procedures to accommodate out of town buyers and sellers. With a few tweaks and changes, we are able to keep real estate closings going smoothly.  Here are some new happenings in the real estate industry amongst COVID-19.

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 1. VIRTUAL SHOWINGS

Our listings always feature high-end professional photography but the current situation calls for a more detailed preview of our listings. To give our buyers a feeling of being in the home, our agents are offering their clients Zoom and Facetime showings.

2. VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE

Our local MLS is implementing a new feature to promote and hold Open House virtually.  The details of this feature are still being released. This is an exciting update to a market like ours.  I can see this being a great new tool used on a regular basis after this event is over

3. APPRAISALS

Local lenders say that when it makes sense, underwriters are giving appraisers the green light to perform desktop appraisals. This way, properties with high-risk inhabitants don’t have to be exposed, yet we can still make progress on the sale of the home. 

4. LENDERS

With the IRS unable to process any transcript requests before closing, our local lenders have been authorized to skip that requirement for the time being.  It will no longer be needed to receive a clear to close.  This is showing great versatility and willingness to keep transactions moving.

5. VIRTUAL CLOSINGS

While NC does not currently support virtual notaries, you may be in a state that does. We are no strangers to “mail away” closings so that part is nothing new but an out of town closing does require the services of a notary. Virtual notaries are approved in 35 states. So if you have a closing coming up and need documents notarized, check and see if the task can be completed online. 

6. COVID-19 ADDENDUM

NC Realtors did quickly create and distribute a special addendum regarding this pandemic that allows buyers and sellers to have a little more time to close if delays occur related to the shutdowns.  It also allows the buyer to cancel if they get laid off and become unable to close due to not obtaining loan approval.  Lenders continue to verify employment 5 days before closing.

7. CREDIT SCORES

The not so good news is that minimum credit scores have been raised from 640 or 680, depending on the lender. This is up from 580 minimum.  We are also seeing some lenders no longer locking in Jumbo rates.  So we may see Jumbo loan guidelines get an overhaul and be much stricter (loan amounts over $510,400).  Before you shop, check with your lender for the latest offerings and regulations.

In summary, it’s all about adapting.  Everyone from real estate agents, to home inspectors, to lender and attorneys are finding solutions to our present-day challenges.  If you are thinking about buying or selling, we can still make that happen for you.

In fact, of the 54 properties that have gone under contract in the last 14 days, 50% of them were also just listed in the same 30 days.  Some buyers and sellers will be more comfortable moving forward at this time, and some won’t.  Either way, please let us know how we can virtually help you!