28 WHAR members joined the first virtual talk storyon Thursday April 2 at 10 am. President Andee Bemrose moderated, where the members received a mortgage update from meeting sponsor, Dave Cotner, American Financial Network, followed by a list of new homes on the market, needs and wants, and then an open discussion on the local real estate market.
Dave discussed the issue of homeowners looking for a safety net in the form of forbearance, where the Federal government is offering homeowners with mortgages underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an opportunity to put their mortgages on hold from anywhere to 30 days to a year. Dave said there has been a lot of misinformation in the media about forbearance and the misconception people may have about it being “mortgage forgiveness”, which it is not. He stressed that the real estate community should use this time to reach out to homeowners to let them know there are ramifications for signing on to any forbearance program which include balloon payments, drop in credit scores, and in what may be some cases, forced foreclosure when the homeowner can't catch up on the missed payments and the bank calls the whole note.
He mentioned that mortgage servicing companies are overwhelmed with calls right now as people flock to see if they can receive deferred payments on their loans.
Dave asked that everyone share that homeowners should talk directly to their servicer's to learn more and remember that making continuous payments is always best and beware of thinking that free money is available.
The discussion among the attendees also turned to the Small Business Administration loans for small business owners and independent contractors through the recently approved CARES act. Government Affairs Committee member, Tanya Powers, encouraged people to visit Brian Schatz’ Facebook page to get up to date information and links to the applications for the loans. Here is more information, as well.
Difficulty in removing tenants
Arnie Rabin brought up topic around a 1,700 sq. foot, $825k home on 3 acres in Captain Cook he has listed. The home has a tenant and under the recent rules around eviction, that the tenant cannot legally be asked to move if the buyer does not want to continue using the property as a rental until the COVID-19 eviction rules are removed.
Realtors discussed they are seeing people who are uncertain in buying a home right now due to a loss of income. The issue of how many listing price reductions have been made in the past few weeks was discussed with Realtors saying anywhere from 25-95 from what they are hearing. Kiana from First American said she saw 11 cancellations in three days. While Derinda Thatcher said she heard of 21 price reductions, 22 withdrawals, but also 12 open escrows. She said she saw these split evenly with buyers coming from mainland and locals. She stressed that sales can still be made and people are looking for opportunities, and when things settle, the market will be good.
Brianna from Title Guaranty said their office is still open by appointment and that the guidelines were still in place. She mentioned that they were awaiting word to see if e-signatures could be allowed so the whole transaction could be completed without a wet signature. Barbara Welsh said that Hawaii just approved E-notaries this week.
Brianna reported more purchases than refinance transactions, and has seen few cancellations.
The discussion then turned to staying safe and avoiding contracting or spreading COVID-19. Realtors discussed the importance of wearing masks to keep you from touching your face, and using social distancing.
Upcoming: Webinar with Paul Brewbaker
Karin Shaw announced that local economist, Paul Brewbaker, will be offering a free economic update for Hawaii Island next Thursday at 11 am directly after the next WHAR “Talk Story” Zoom caravan. A link will be available in the next newsletter.
Next Zoom Talk Story-April 9th at 10 am
Please attend the next meeting on Thursday the 9th and be part of the discussion! We will record the meetings and have the link available on the WHAR website if you cannot be there in person to participate.
If you participate, you can put a link to your new listings in the chat section so members can simply click to see what you have on the market.
WHAR is working hard to provide you with timely and valuable information during this public health episode.