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The pandemic has convinced many urban-dwellers that it’s finally time to give up on living in the city. Renters and owners alike are feeling cooped-up and uncertain about the future. As a response, many are making plans to leave the city and not just for short-term stays in weekend houses, as was seen when the pandemic first occurred, but for more permanent housing in the suburbs.  While some of the recent moves have been a product of accelerated plans that had been living on the back burner, others may have acquired a taste for suburban (or even rural) living while sheltering with their parents in spread-out neighborhoods or log cabins. And even after decades of apartment living, those that have called the city their home are seriously considering trading their small rental for their own white picket fence. A Rise in Desire for Suburban Living The Harris Poll recently surveyed 2,000 Americans to determine if the COVID-19 crisis had sparked a desire for people to move. Of those currently living in urban areas, 39% indicated that the pandemic had caused them to consider moving to a less densely populated area.  According to FlatRate Moving, between March 15 and April 28, there was a 74% increase of moves from New York to Connecticut, 38% increase of moves from New York to New Jersey, and a 48% jump of moves from New York to Long Island compared to the same period last year. And while some are renting temporarily to try and escape the worst of the pandemic, a considerable number of those renters are converting to buyers.   However, others are transplanting with the immediate intention to buy. Unsure of whether or not ...

One of the more recognizable side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the dramatic increase in the number of people working from home. The shift to remote work has caused many of us to look at our current homes in a whole new light. And whether you’re logging hours from your couch or still searching for a Zoom-appropriate workspace, it’s not uncommon to be looking for a home office upgrade.  Our “New” Normal: The Realities of Working From Home  Global Workplace Analytics conducted an online survey between March 30 and April 24, 2020 asking over 2,600 global employees on their feelings towards working at home. Of those surveyed, over 77% of the workforce recorded that they would like to continue working from home  at least weekly once the pandemic has ended.  Some employers are embracing the reality of their employee’s responses.  Steve Ozonian, CEO of Williston Financial Group, believes that the remote workforce will have a dramatic impact on our ‘new normal’. Citing that the shift to remote work will, “make it less stressful for people because the commute is one of the worst parts of working and we are going to have cleaner air because of it”, Ozonian also predicts that the need for commercial office space and the average commute is going to plummet.  When speculating on the future of remote work, Ozonian went on to state, “I believe it will be 50% -- that's probably the average amount that will stay at home because it is working so well. You are going to have happier employees and as long as they are productive and the quality of the work ...

With consumers severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, individuals now can examine their credit report more frequently than just once per year. The three primary US national credit reporting agencies, Equifax , Experian and TransUnion , agreed that they will offer free weekly credit reports to Americans for the year to help consumers protect their financial profile during the COVID-19 crisis. The free reports can be obtained from AnnualCreditReport.com . Since consumer credit reports monitor credit activity and payment history used by lenders, creditors, service providers and other businesses to extend credit this will allow consumers to better understand the impact of the crisis on their future financial needs. Consumers are encouraged to review their credit reports frequently to understand the information that is being reported about their payment history. The three credit reporting agencies also have worked with their U.S. trade association, Consumer Data Industry Association, to provide guidance to data furnishers on how to support consumer credit reporting during the pandemic.

As mortgage rates have fallen back to recent lows, there are many people looking to buy a home (or refinance their current one) during the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, both of these loans have become difficult to obtain due to recent impacts on unemployment rates and the economy.  Lenders have been making adjustments to credit criteria to better account for the increased likelihood of forbearance and defaults. According to a survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association in March, mortgage credit availability fell to the lowest level that we’ve seen in five years.  Changing Guidelines for Self-Employed Borrowers  JPMorgan Chase has changed it’s underwriting guidelines to require new mortgage applicants to have a minimum FICO credit score of 700 and the ability to provide a 20% down payment. Typically, some lenders allow self-employed borrowers with a FICO credit score as low as 580 may qualify for a loan with a 20 percent down payment if they can provide 24 months of bank statements proving they can afford their loan payments. Borrowers with a FICO score of 720 or above may be able to qualify for a mortgage with a 10 percent down payment and a lower interest rate. For self-employed applicants, lenders have generally looked to verify the existence of the borrowers’ business, income, and assets within 120 days. Typically, a natural disaster would bring an extension of that timeframe to 180 days before a vendor would have to re-verify income and assets but that window has now shrunk to just 10 days amid the COVID-19 crisis.  New Eligibility for Self-Employed Workers as of April 2020 As of April 10, ...

Why It Is Imperative to Pay HOA fees!

Apr 2
9:46
PM
Category | Blog
Condo living provides many benefits and there are plenty of buyers are looking to enjoy or invest in an amenity filled community lifestyle.  During these tumultuous times here are some things to keep in mind regarding condominium communities and mortgage financing. MOST IMPORTANT: Protecting Homeowner Investment & Community Worth It behooves all residents to stay up to date with HOA fees to keep their community in good standing in order to secure the maximum value of their investment.  Home Owner Associations and owners equally want to safeguard their real estate assets by preserving the equity of each unit and the entire development. Keeping Communities Safe & Well Maintained When working with sellers, buyers or investors, it’s a good idea to remind them that keeping current with HOA fee payments is essential. When finances are precarious it is tempting to skip a fee, but if many neighbors have the same inclination, the entire neighborhood can suffer as maintenance may be interrupted or scaled back, creating potential safety concerns or aesthetically unpleasing upkeep.  Homeowners and realtors alike strive to present listings in the most appealing light to obtain the properties’ optimum worth . The Mortgage Effect Having a significant number of owners in HOA fee arrears within a community adversely affects everyone. For instance, “approved” developments (per Fannie, Freddie & FHA guidelines*) may lose their status if 15% or more residents fall behind on fees. Why is this important? By losing a positive evaluation, a substantial pool of potential buyers is eliminated. ...

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