During these uncertain times, Minneapolis Area REALTORS® is providing REALTORS® with the information they need to safely operate their business while protecting health and well-being. In addition, MAR is taking several precautionary steps in line with CDC recommended guidelines to ensure continuity in its operations while also helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to information on MAR’s business operations and learning opportunities, this page also has reports on how the pandemic is impacting the Twin Cities housing market, legislative updates, and links to federal, state and industry resources.
MAR Business Operations
MAR has reduced the hours of operation at our physical location to Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. MAR staff have transitioned to remote work and will continue to serve members via phone at 952-933-9020 and email at email@example.com during our normal work hours of Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
During this time with reduced hours at our physical location, the second set of doors will be locked with signage directing members online or to call us by phone to contact staff. Staff will use the front vestibule to place purchased items such as lockboxes or signage to avoid person-to-person contact. Payments for store items and MLS fees must be made online or by phone. Membership applications and forms need to be submitted electronically.
Members are asked to not visit MAR if:
• they are ill
• believe that they may have been exposed to the coronavirus
• have visited countries where the CDC has issued travel warnings or have recently been on a cruise ship
MAR is providing frequent updates to members via email, social media and this resource page
Guidance on REALTOR® Business Practices
(May 21, 2020 UPDATE) The latest guidance from Minnesota Realtors® on real estate in Minnesota is that it may continue to operate in the same manner as provided in the now expired Governor’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order 20-48, which has ended. This is due to Executive Order 20-56 which allows Critical Sector businesses such as real estate to conduct transactions (to the maximum extent possible) in adherence with state and federal health and safety guidelines. How that impacts open houses is unclear, leaving it up to REALTORS® to decide if open houses are necessary and what precautions to take if they proceed. The MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has helpful information on what precautions to consider. In addition, Minnesota Realtors has provided this memo on Open House Considerations During COVID-19.
Recommendations for showings/open houses include:
• Requiring workers and customers to wash or sanitize hands before and after their visit
• Providing hand washing stations or 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• Requiring cloth face mask coverings
• Limiting the amount of time and people allowed in the property
• Ensuring workers and customers engage in social distancing
• Leaving inside doors and lights on to limit touch
• Disinfecting home before and after each showing/open house
There are other methods to show a home and keep buyers, sellers and REALTORS® safe. These include virtual showings technology that can take the buyer on a virtual journey, detailed smart phone videos or live video chats to walk buyers through a property.
Northstar MLS Resumes Scheduling Open Houses
In-person open houses are now available for scheduling on NorthstarMLS. For those who prefer to hold virtual live stream open houses, NorthstarMLS has made those permanently available.
Addendum or Amendment or Purchase Agreement
Minnesota Realtors® has created an Addendum or Amendment to Purchase Agreement to assist members and their clients in extending Purchase Agreement deadlines where a COVID-19 related event inhibits a party’s ability to perform under their purchase agreement.
Local Housing Market Updates
MAR has been tracking COVID-19’s impact on the local housing market since mid-March and the data has so far shown a decline in new listings and pending sales, with showings on the rebound. MAR’s Director of Research and Economics, David Arbit, posts these reports on MAR’s weekly newsletter and on this page on Mondays (see links below). He is also available to answer your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-988-3150.
Join David for a weekly 1 hour presentation and discussion around the impact of COVID-19 on the real estate market. You will hear him speak about the most current data and trends, how it impacts current business in the real estate market and have an opportunity to ask questions.
A link to the live meeting will be provided to registrants 30 minutes prior to the start time.
Although there has been a decline in residential housing market activity since the onset of the coronavirus in Minnesota, transactions are still occurring. And the strong market that preceded the crisis bodes well for a relatively quick recovery once the crisis is over. Low interest rates combined with overall tight supply and strong demand (until recently) are likely to prevent major declines in home prices. Home prices rose during 5 of the last 6 recessions.
MAR weekly market updates:
• Market Impact of COVID-19 6-1-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 5-26-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 5-18-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 5-11-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 5-4-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 4-30-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 4-27-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 4-20-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 4-13-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 4-6-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 3-30-2020
• Market Impact of COVID-19 3-24-2020
Education & Professional Development
Following CDC recommendations for the protection of our members and staff, MAR has extended the Board-approved cancellations of all in-person classes, meetings and events through June 30, 2020. Registrants for in-person gatherings during this period will be notified and refunded. Refunds typically appear on bank statements within 10 business days.
As of now, the June 30 deadline for completing CE credits remains in place. MAR is now offering online CE classes for the steeply discounted price of $5 per credit for members and $10 per credit for non-members. Registration is limited, so sign up today and complete your CE at bargain prices!
• Online CE courses offered by MAR at significant discounts
• Online CE courses at The CE Shop – save 40% through May 31 with promo code SUPPORT40
• Free, non-CE webinars can be found on our home page
• NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now – new and existing projects and services available for free or at significant discounts to REALTORS and REALTOR Associations, including MAR. Offerings include webinars, education courses and timely market reports.
• NAR’s Professional Development Directory
• Review Contracts Online with Zoom
Information on the local, state and federal response to this crisis and its impact on REALTORS® and the real estate industry is changing daily. MAR’s Government Affairs Director, Eric Myers, is monitoring the developments and provides updates in MAR’s weekly newsletter, on social media and on this web resource. He is also available to answer your questions at email@example.com or 952-988-3124.
For the latest on state and federal financial relief to individuals and businesses, and other COVID-19-related developments, click here.
Join Eric for a weekly 1 hour presentation and discussion about the government actions and resources that impact you and the real estate market. You will hear him speak about the latest federal and state legislation, assistance programs for you and your business, and local issues and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.
Register Here A link to the live meeting will be provided to registrants 30 minutes prior to the start time.
COVID-19 Government Response Webinars
• Gab with your GAD: Policies that impact you – May 26
• Government Response Update May 18
• Government Response Update May 11
• Government Response Update May 4
• Government Response Update April 27
• Local ordinance status updates on Point of Sale (POS)/Truth In Sale of Housing (TISH)/Infill & Infiltration (I&I)
• Minnesota REALTORS® COVID-19 FAQ
• NAR Guide to Federal Legislation’s Benefits for REALTORS®
Lending has now resumed under two Small Business Administration programs, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.
The fresh round of funding for coronavirus small-business relief programs was approved by the U.S. House and Senate and signed by President Trump last week. It was championed by the National Association of REALTORS® and is available to REALTORS® through the CARES Act.
Under the agreement, the PPP will receive $310 billion in new cash, while the EIDL fund will receive an additional $60 billion. The bill sets aside $60 billion of the PPP funding for small and medium-sized community banks, which will provide extra help for self-employed individuals and small businesses that don’t have relationships with larger banks. Read more here.
Minnesota’s Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) announced Friday, April 24 that the agency has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Read more here.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is taking applications for loans from businesses with 500 employees or fewer, including sole proprietors and independent contractors who have been negatively impacted by the crisis. The State of Minnesota also has a small business loan guarantee program for businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
• Daily and Weekly Unemployment Insurance Statistics Dashboard
• IRS: Coronavirus Tax Relief
• Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
• Minnesota Department of Revenue: Response to COVID-19
• NAR FAQs – Unemployment Assistance
• NAR FAQs – U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance
• U.S. Small Business Administration Fact Sheet – Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued an executive order suspending evictions during the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The peacetime emergency ends June 12. This order applies to all property types.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced an extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through June 30, 2020, for homeowners with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, while also supporting new FHA-insured mortgage originations through an extension of temporary policy flexibilities for lenders and appraisers. The extension will support the President’s economic recovery efforts as Nation continues to work defeat the COVID invisible enemy.
There is guidance for borrowers who are seeking mortgage help.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has announced its borrowers are now eligible to purchase their home or refinance once their forbearance has ended and after three consecutive payments have been made.
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau have issued the following guide for consumers with federally-backed loans seeking mortgage assistance.
Some banks are suspending mortgage payments either through forbearance or a pause. Note, that a suspension only delays payment. Consumers need to contact their service providers for details and read the fine print of the programs being offered.The National Association of REALTORS® has created a new brochure to help homeowners who are struggling to meet their loan obligations. The Protect Your Investment brochure encourages homeowners to work with REALTORS® and housing counselors and offers guidance on options provided by lenders.
• Protect Your Investment Brochure
• Fannie Mae Approach to COVID-19
• Freddie Mac Guidance Related to COVID-19
• HUD Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium
• Minnesota Executive Order 20-14 Suspending Evictions & Writs of Recovery
NAR Guidance and Other Resources
The National Association of REALTORS® has a number of resources available for members to help them navigate these challenging times. Access the links below for the latest information.
REALTOR® Resiliency Report: NAR’s weekly report describes how it is working to guide and support REALTORS® during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It includes the latest information on how to ensure your health and safety, the virus’ impact on the nation’s economy and the real estate industry, its impact on NAR activities, and what NAR is doing to help. https://www.nar.realtor/realtor-resiliency-report
1-800 Hotline: NAR has set up a hotline for questions related to real estate, our response to COVID-19, questions about legislation, and other issues. Folks can dial and press 1 to speak with a representative. It’s open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday–Friday. The number is 1-800-874-6500.
Right Tools, Right Now: Through Right Tools, Right Now, NAR is making new and existing NAR products and services available for FREE or at significant discounts to REALTORS® and REALTOR® associations. These include webinars, education courses, market reports and digital tools to help with marketing your business. You can learn more here.
TeleHealth: To help members deal with health care needs during this time, NAR has introduced two months of free TeleHealth access for members and their families. The deadline to apply has been extended to May 31.
• 2 months of TeleHealth access
• Enrollment page
NAR Website Main COVID-19 page is a great place to start. Additional web pages include the following:
• CARES Act economic stimulus page is dedicated to information on how the $2 trillion economic relief package passed by Congress impacts REALTORS®
• Commercial property page is dedicated to resources and updates for commercial members
• Financial wellness page is dedicated to helping members with their financial decisions
FAQs on various topics to assist REALTORS® with their questions about how to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on themselves, their business and their clients.
• NAR FAQs – Summary Guidance
• NAR FAQs – Unemployment Assistance
• NAR FAQs – Mortgage and Personal Finance
• NAR FAQs – U.S. Small Business Administration Assistance
Tips for Consumers
Can people buy/sell a house at this time?
Yes. Real estate transactions are an essential activity under Governor Walz’s stay at home order and business is continuing. But, it’s not business as usual. REALTORS® are taking several precautions to keep consumers safe during the buying and selling process.
What precautions are being taken to protect consumers from the virus
- No open houses – Minneapolis Area REALTORS® is strongly recommending that agents not hold open houses and do virtual tours instead and we’re seeing a lot of virtual showings right now.
- Virtual showings – REALTORS® are using virtual showings technology that can take the buyer on a virtual journey of a home, recording their own smart phone videos or hosting live video chats to walk buyers through a property. Sellers always have the option of temporarily making their homes unavailable for showings.
- Using technology instead of paper for transactions – REALTORS® are minimizing contact with clients by using digital documents instead of paper whenever possible.
- Using safe practices during in-person showings, including:
- Not allowing overlapping showings
- Leaving lights on and closet doors open to limit touch and sanitizing before and after each showing
- Driving separately to houses.
Is it a good time to be in the market as a buyer or seller?
As always, it’s up to the consumer if it is a good time for them to be in the market. If a buyer or seller is comfortable with proceeding with a home sale or purchase, there are safe ways to proceed with the transaction.
What is the state of the market right now for buyers and sellers
Minneapolis Area REALTORS® has been tracking COVID-19’s impact on the local housing market and the data shows an uptick in activity since the initial downturn in March. Here is the status of some major indicators as of May 6, 2020:
- Listings – After seeing fewer listings during the initial weeks after the onset of the pandemic in March, more sellers are jumping back into the market.
- Showings – While showings dropped in mid-March, they have been steadily increasing since then. REALTORS® are using safe practices and are also doing virtual showings, boosting consumer confidence in the safety of the home buying process.
- Pending sales – After a recent plateau in the drop that began in mid-March, pending sales are starting to increase, reflecting serious buyer interest in the market right now.
What are your recommendations for buyers and sellers?
- Go with your gut – Are you ready for a move? Are you comfortable with moving ahead now? Do what’s right for you.
- Stay safe and healthy – When looking at homes or showing your home, follow precautions to protect you and others. These include keeping using virtual technology, keeping a safe distance from others, and using hand sanitizers/disinfectants.
- Contact a REALTOR® for help – REALTORS® can help you buy or sell your home safely. They also are your best resource for information on the current market conditions in your price point and neighborhood.
What does the future hold?
While we cannot predict the future, there are a few indicators we’re tracking that give us some guidance on what to expect.
- Strength of the market – Although there was a decline in residential housing market activity after the onset of the coronavirus in Minnesota, transactions are on the upswing. And the strong market that preceded the crisis bodes well for a relatively quick recovery once the crisis is over.
- Home prices – Low interest rates combined with overall tight supply and strong demand are likely to prevent major declines in home prices. Home prices rose during five of the last six recessions.
MAR Weekly Webinars
Local Market Updates
Government Response Updates