There have been a variety of questions raised about real estate since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, many of which have come from homeowners that have no plans to sell their home in the near future.
For many of us, we love our homes, and have no plans to leave any time soon. Many of our clients, family, and friends feel this way, yet have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, prompting a variety of questions about what they can do to stay in their home, how new policies impact them as homeowners, and even what they can do to improve their home while social distancing.
To provide some answers, Seychelle Van Poole and Tony Kennard sat down for a Q&A session to address some of the questions we hear from homeowners most.
You can watch the full interview in the video below:
If you prefer to read, a transcript of the questions and answers are included below:
Are there improvements that can be made to my home that can add value?
Absolutely, and you don’t have to demo your home while you live in it to add some value.
If you have the time, now is a great opportunity to make some easy changes to your home. First off, this sounds so simple, but it actually makes a big difference in how your home looks and feels: clean out your closets and storage areas. Take this opportunity to donate or purge any unwanted items, and even do some reorganizing. You’ll transform a space that feels cramped into one that looks organized and desirable.
Here’s some other ways to change up your look and add value to your home:
- Switch out your drawer hardware. This is a quick and easy way to make your kitchen and/or bathrooms feel updated, or just provide a bit of extra character that lends to a more upscale look. When shopping for hardware, make sure to match your hardware to the screws and holes in place.
- Update your mirrors and drapes. Both are simple to install, and quickly add some pop to make a space feel updated and stylish.
- We’re seeing a lot of people taking front porch family portraits. This presents the opportunity to update your front porch, plant some flowers, and add some potted plants. The result is a great family photo and increased curb appeal.
- Finally, there’s always paint! Paint is an inexpensive way to drastically change the look of your home. In terms of what is trending, we’re still seeing a lot of whites, and the current color of the year is a Rosé color.
What if I am unable to pay my mortgage?
This is a tough time for many, and we hate to see the ones we care about struggling. If you have a mortgage, first, know that there is a moratorium on foreclosure in place, so banks aren’t going to be kicking you out of your home.
If you are worried that you cannot make your mortgage payment, start by reaching out to your mortgage lender. It is important to do this before you miss a payment. Once the moratorium lifts, banks are going to look to recoup their losses, and if a homeowner cannot pay, the issue of foreclosure will become very real, very quickly.
The good thing that we are seeing in this recession versus the one we faced in the early 2000s is that homeowners have more equity in their home these days, whereas in the past, they did not. This is due to the increase in regulatory practices in the mortgage industry, along with the fact that we’ve learned from our past mistakes.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to work out a forbearance with your lender, although before you agree to anything, we recommend that you have someone skilled in finance read through the fine print. We’re seeing some concerning fine print in some of these agreements, and you don’t want to end up worse off because you needed some help.
Simply put, banks are for-profit businesses, and are going to be looking to collect their money, so it’s important to know what you are walking into if you are considering a forbearance option.
If you do have equity in your home and cannot refinance, you may want to consider selling your home. We’re well versed in short sales as well, so if you are in a cash negative position, we are happy to try and find a solution that works best for you. These will both help you with cash flow, and position you to purchase another home when you are ready.
How are property taxes influenced by all of this?
Because property taxes are based on last year’s values, odds are the taxing authorities will still be trying to raise our tax values this year. What we would encourage you to do is either reach out to an attorney or reach out to your taxing districts to see what options might exist to lower the appraised value of your property.
The key here is not to just accept your bill as a final answer and see how your taxing district might be working with homeowners given the circumstances.
You are a long time resident here in North Texas. What are some ways that I can get involved in the community?
This is a great time to be a glass half full person, and it’s been great to see how our communities have banded together. For our team, we’ve been trying to fit in anywhere we can, from purchasing groceries, to making masks at home, and more.
If you are a small business, or have connections to people that might be able to help others, we want to be in touch with you. We have built a resource list that we frequently use to refer our clients, families, and friends when they’re in need.
Additionally, if you need help, we also want to be in touch. We have a separate list for those that need help, supplies, etc. Our goal during this time is to find both those that can help and those that need help, and serve by connecting them. Our job as Realtors is not just to help you to buy or sell homes — it’s to build communities in the areas we serve.
If you have any questions about the topics covered here, or simply a question that you would like answered, please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-608-0777 or fill out the form at the bottom of the page and we’ll be in touch.
For more helpful news, tips, and information on the DFW real estate market, visit us on the VPP Blog.