Ohio Realtors

Coronavirus: April 2020



DAILY RUNDOWN: April 30, 2020

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted yesterday reemphasized that face coverings are required for employers and employees while on the job. Exceptions for employers and employees include when: An employee in a particular position is prohibited by a law or regulation from wearing a face covering while on the job; Wearing a face covering on the job is against documented industry best practices; Wearing a face covering is not advisable for health purposes; If wearing a face covering is a violation of a company’s safety policies; An employee is sitting alone in an enclosed workspace; There is a practical reason a face covering cannot be worn by an employee. If any of the exceptions apply to a business or employee, written justification must be provided upon request.

Here is more detailed information on the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

NAR’s latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey--conducted April 26-27--asked members how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted the residential and commercial real estate markets. Several highlights include:

  • Three in 10 REALTORS said they were able to complete nearly all aspects of real estate transactions while complying with social distance directives.
  • Sixty-one percent of members reported working with home sellers. More than 3 in 4 REALTORS working with home sellers said their clients aren’t reducing listing prices to attract buyers. A majority of REALTORS--64 percent--reported buyers are looking for some discounts in home prices.

PUA Benefit Guide for Members ... Under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, members may qualify for unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks if they’ve suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19. REALTOR Magazine’s new guide, with interactive maps, will help them get started.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 29, 2020

Gov. DeWine announced today that the state of Ohio will not require that customers entering retail establishments wear face coverings. Wearing face coverings in public is still, however, strongly recommended. Governor DeWine also noted that individual business owners could still choose to develop a business policy requiring face coverings for customers to enter their facilities. Face coverings would still be mandated for employees unless wearing a face covering is not advisable by a healthcare professional, goes against industry best practices, or is not permitted by federal or state laws and regulations.

COVID-19: Responsible Business Protocols / Cold and Flu

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 28, 2020

Review the mandatory requirements and recommended best practices for the various business and industry sectors included in the Responsible RestartOhio plan announced yesterday by Gov. Mike DeWine. The plan has rules for three distinct categories: Manufacturing, Distribution & Construction; Consumer, Retail & Services; and General Office Environment.

Review the listing of businesses and operations that remain closed per Ohio’s existing Stay At Home Orders.

Ohio REALTORS joined a number of other business and industry groups, as well as governmental organizations, in offering support to the Responsible RestartOhio plan. Read the statements, which includes:

“We appreciate [Governor DeWine’s] strong leadership and dedication during this unprecedented time. As an industry that accounts for nearly 15 percent of Ohio’s gross domestic product, we share [Governor DeWine’s] concern and earnest effort to balance the health and safety of our communities while simultaneously seeking solutions to keep Ohio’s economy vibrant.”  
Scott Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Ohio REALTORS

View the responsible protocols for getting Ohio back to work as part of the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

NAR's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Flowchart is now available at nar.realtor/coronavirusUE along with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQs. The PUA flowchart provides an overview of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits that are now available to independent contractors and self-employed individuals through the states under the newly passed CARES Act.

A new resource from NAR gives associations and members a tool to help homeowners who are struggling to meet their loan obligations due to COVID-19. The Protect Your Investment brochure offers guidance on working with trusted professionals like REALTORS and housing counselors at HUD-approved agencies. The brochure also provides information about payment options offered by lenders and tips for avoiding scams Interested in adding your logo? Simply download the brochure and review steps to add your logo.

Yesterday, the GSEs and their regulator clarified that homeowners who take forbearance are not required to repay in a lump sum at the end of their forbearance period. The FHFA's Director Mark Calabria stated that, "No lump sum is required at the end of a borrower's forbearance plan for Enterprise-backed mortgages. To help homeowners navigate the forbearance process, FHFA partnered with CFPB on the Borrower Protection Program to provide homeowners accurate information about forbearance and address concerns noted in some consumer complaints. While today's statement only covers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, I encourage all mortgage lenders to adopt a similar approach."

Freddie Mac's CEO David Brickman was more pointed in a press release: "Simply put, if you are a homeowner seeking forbearance and Freddie Mac owns your loan, you are never required to make up missed payments in a lump sum. Our policies offer a number of options to bring borrowers current, including repayment plans, resuming normal payments or lowering your monthly payment through a modification. We encourage homeowners facing hardship to work with their servicer to identify the plan that's appropriate for their unique situation."

There have been widespread reports of servicers and lenders telling homeowners that they would owe a lump sum equal to the missed payments at the end of the forbearance period. This is not true for government-backed loans, but not all privately held loans. Today's joint statements follow release by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week of scripts for the servicers to use when interacting with homeowners were created. Furthermore, their regulator the FHFA announced that it would be collaborating with the CFPB to collect complaint data on servicers and work with the GSEs to curb any poor behavior by servicers.

NAR continues to share information with regulators on the effectiveness of their actions including a call this morning by NAR President Vince Malta with the CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger in which he shared NAR's concerns about this issue.The virtual REALTORS Legislative Meetings launch today! Governance meetings run April 27-May 15 and Conference Sessions will be offered on May 12-14. Register for free. If you registered for the in-person event in Washington, DC, you will need to register again.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 27, 2020

Ohio opens preregistration for new Unemployment Insurance Benefits

4.27.2020--Unemployed Ohioans who do not meet the criteria for regular jobless benefits could begin preregistering for a new federal program on Friday, April 24, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). To apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and then click on "Get Started Now." ODJFS said PUA benefits will be similar to regular unemployment benefits plus an additional $600 per week through July 25.

By preregistering, people can get in line early so that as soon as the agency has the ability to process claims in May, they can complete the paperwork. For those eligible, PUA benefits will be retroactive to the date they qualified, as early as February 2. The program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who historically have not qualified for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, part-time workers, and those who lack sufficient work history. Individuals who have exhausted all regular unemployment and any weekly extensions also may be eligible for the program. Anyone with questions should call (833) 604-0774.

PPP Update and EIDL Funding Update ... Phase 3.5 Legislation Enacted, New Tranche of $310B Provided for PPP. On April 24, President Trump signed a $483B package which is generally referred to as the Phase 3.5 coronavirus package. The bill includes $310B in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60B in funding EIDL small business grant/loan programs, $75B for hospitals, and $25B for testing efforts. Notably, of the $310B PPP funding, $30B is for mid-sized depositories (i.e., $10B to $50B in assets) and $30B is for community financial institutions and smaller depositories (i.e., $10B in assets).

Effectively, the statute creates three separate funding pools and it is unclear at this stage how the SBA will police those volumes. The initial tranche of PPP funding was exhausted in roughly two weeks and it is expect this tranche to be disbursed in a relatively similar time period, which suggests that Congress will be forced to consider a third tranche of PPP funding as part of the forthcoming Phase 4 negotiations.


There is only one new question: To determine borrower eligibility under the 500-employee or other applicable threshold established by the CARES Act, must a borrower count all employees or only full-time equivalent employees?

Answer: For purposes of loan eligibility, the CARES Act defines the term employee to include "individuals employed on a full-time, part-time, or other basis." A borrower must therefore calculate the total number of employees, including part-time employees, when determining their employee headcount for purposes of the eligibility threshold. For example, if a borrower has 200 full-time employees and 50 part-time employees each working 10 hours per week, the borrower has a total of 250 employees.

By contrast, for purposes of loan forgiveness, the CARES Act uses the standard of "fulltime equivalent employees" to determine the extent to which the loan forgiveness amount will be reduced in the event of workforce reductions.

Additional PPP information: The Small Business Administration and Treasury Department made several announcements to lenders yesterday regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ahead of today restart at 10:30 a.m. Announcements include the pacing of the number of loans processed through the E-Tran system, instituting of a maximum dollar amount of 10 percent of PPP funds to any lender, ensuring lenders access funds based on size, and maintaining the loans on a first-come, first-serve basis. They also released new guidance on SBA’s file submission process.

SBA Funding Availability Monday, April 27, 2020 10:30 AM

Notice: Additional Economic Injury Disaster Loan Funding -- With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis. We will provide further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises) as soon as possible.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state's or territory's Governor, the SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

NAR has a wealth of resources to help REALTORS, including a new video that not only walks people through the programs but also shares the experiences of REALTORS who have successfully obtained funding. (For highlights of the video, see REALTOR Magazine's story, "Keys to Getting SBA Assistance.")

Ohio Manufacturing Alliance creates exchange to buy, sell PPE -- This online exchange offers PPE and related equipment for health care workers, first responders, and small businesses. It’s especially well-suited for organizations that may have lower-volume needs, such as nursing homes, police departments, and small business employers. Note that this is an Exchange that is more Craigslist than eBay. The Alliance has screened to the best of its ability for only Ohio manufacturers, but it has not vetted each product and vendor. See more information or participate in the Exchange.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 24, 2020

Congress Clears Coronavirus Relief Bill

The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday providing a fresh round of funding for coronavirus small-business relief programs championed by the National Association of REALTORS and available to REALTORS through the CARES Act. The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday.

President Trump is expected to sign the measure, which will clear the way for lending to resume as early as Friday under two Small Business Administration programs, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program.

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.

“The PPP and EIDL had tremendous demand. Although the rollout was rocky, this latest bill should provide enough funds for everyone who needs a loan to get it. REALTORS still waiting should contact their lender again and keep trying,” says Shannon McGahn, senior vice president of advocacy for NAR. “We have a wealth of resources to help you through the process, including a new video just posted last night.”

The bill also includes $25 billion for coronavirus testing and $75 billion for hospitals.

Quick Guidance for REALTORS on the PPP and EIDL

  • If you’ve already applied for an EIDL: The SBA is processing applications already in their system on a first-come, first-served basis. You do not need to reapply.
  • If you have not already applied for an EIDL: Check back at the SBA application page once the additional funding is signed into law.
  • If you’ve already applied for a PPP loan through an SBA lender but have not been approved yet: Check with your lender to see if they are maintaining a queue of applications during the lapse or if you will need to reapply when the renewed funding comes through.
  • If you have not applied yet for a PPP loan through an SBA lender: Have the application form filled out and your documentation ready to provide to your lender. (For businesses with employees, have payroll documentation; for independent contractors, have your 2019 Form 1040, Schedule C, and 1099-MISC.) If you have an existing relationship with an SBA lender, you should go to that lender first once the program reopens, but be prepared to try multiple lenders, which you can find on the SBA site.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 23, 2020

Ohio has prepared an informative FAQ for homeowners affected by COVID-19, providing insight on mortgage assistance programs, the CARES ACT and forbearance issues.

Two winning paths to a PPP Loan  -- obtaining emergency government aid requires a stellar application, a strong tie with your bank -- and a bit of luck.

COVID-19 and the Code of Ethics -- as you attempt to follow the shelter-in-place orders and government recommendations. Here’s news on how NAR’s Code of Ethics comes into play.

Telehealth benefit extended – In the initial weeks of its introduction, more than 25,000 members and their families are receiving coverage through Members TeleHealth. Because of the tremendous response, NAR leaders have extended the offer through May 31. The Leadership Team cited their strong feeling that REALTORS and their families should have access to telemedicine at this time. Their message to members: “Stay home, stay safe. Nothing is more important than your health and welfare.” Enrollment is limited.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 22, 2020

Senate Passes Deal to Replenish Coronavirus Relief Funding

The U.S. Senate passed legislation Tuesday to replenish funding for several coronavirus small-business relief programs championed by NAR and available to REALTORS.

The House is expected to take up the measure later this week.

Under the Senate agreement, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will receive $310 billion in new cash, while the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) fund will receive an additional $50 billion.

The bill sets aside $60 billion of PPP funding exclusively for small and medium-sized community banks.

“The PPP ran out of money in about two weeks and the EIDL was running on fumes,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s top federal advocate. “These are two of the most extensive rescue programs in our nation’s history. We are hearing from brokers around the country who were able to keep their employees on the payroll because of this help and from self-employed members who have been able to keep their businesses afloat.”

“Although the rollout was a bit rocky because of the programs' sheer size and demand, more and more banks are coming in line," McGahn says, "and we encourage all our members who qualify to check with their lender again and keep trying. It’s worth it."

The Senate bill also contains $25 billion for coronavirus testing and $75 billion for hospitals.

Quick Guidance for REALTORS on the PPP and EIDL:

  • If you’ve already applied for an EIDL: The SBA is processing applications already in their system on a first-come, first-served basis. You do not need to reapply.
  • If you have not already applied for an EIDL: Check back at the SBA application page once the additional funding is signed into law. The SBA will re-open applications shortly afterwards.
  • If you’ve already applied for a PPP loan through an SBA lender but have not been approved yet: Check with your lender to see if they are maintaining a queue of applications during the lapse or if you will need to reapply when the renewed funding comes through.
  • If you have not applied yet for a PPP loan through an SBA lender: Have the application form filled out and your documentation ready to provide to your lender. (For businesses with employees, have payroll documentation; for independent contractors, have your 2019 Form 1040, Schedule C and 1099-MISC.) If you have an existing relationship with an SBA lender, you should go to that lender first once the program reopens, but be prepared to try multiple lenders, which you can find on the SBA site.

JobsOhio, Peoples Bank and First Federal/Home Savings Bank announced a partnership to support existing small business clients with maintaining operations and payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. JobsOhio has committed up to $50 million to assist with this. For information on how to apply for this lending support, businesses should visit PeoplesBancorp.com/Coronavirus, First-fedbanking.com/COVID-19 or Homesavings.com/COVID-19.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 21, 2020

The National Association of REALTORS has put together a graphic explaining the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). While the program is currently depleted, additional funding is expected to be approved by Congress soon. Additionally, the SBA has prepared a report on PPP funding through April 16--with a total of 1.6 million loans approved totaling $342.3 billion. In Ohio, 59,800 loans were approved totaling $14.1 billlion.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 20, 2020

As you probably already know, last week the SBA announced that the funds appropriated by the CARES Act for its small business relief provisions -- the Paycheck Protection Program Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans -- has been exhausted, and neither program is currently accepting new applications. However, there is bipartisan support in Congress and the Administration for additional funding for these programs, a position NAR has been a leader advocating for. We are hopeful that Congress will provide those appropriations quickly to re-open the loan programs. Although they are not currently accepting new applications, we do expect the two SBA programs will be open again soon, and NAR has created an infographic showing some of the primary details of each for businesses and independent contractors to consider. We will update the information as needed if there are changes in the future.

Check the infographic out here and check back to NAR's coronavirus page here for updates on the SBA programs and other resources for you and your clients.

Many of REALTORS have reported conflicting information between the official guidance on forbearance plans stipulated under the CAREs act and information shared by servicers. NAR staff repeatedly shared these concerns with staff at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHFA including examples from our membership. Last week, scripts for the servicers to use when interacting with homeowners were created by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Furthermore, their regulator the FHFA announced that it would be collaborating with the CFPB to collect complaint data on servicers and work with the GSEs to curb any poor behavior by servicers.

See a checklist for cloth face coverings (masks). See decontaminating facepiece respirators guidelines.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 17, 2020

Beginning May 1, 2020, Ohio will begin a phased-in reopening of the state economy. The plan will be fact-driven over a long period of time to minimize the health risk to business owners, employees and their customers. In consultation with Dr. Amy Acton, Lt. Governor Jon Husted will lead the governor’s board of economic advisors to identify best practices, similar to the current requirements on essential business operations to ensure Ohioans health and safety as businesses begin the process of reopening.

Governor Mike DeWine also announced he will work closely with the Governors of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky to reopen the region’s economy in a coordinated way. The states will review four factors as they reopen their economies: the number of cases in the state and the number of hospital admissions, the amount of hospital capacity, the ability to test and trace cases of COVID-19 and best practices for social distancing in businesses.

On Monday, NAR sent a letter to every lawmaker on Capitol Hill calling for additional funding for the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. These programs have proven wildly popular and serve as lifeline for many REALTORS during this crisis. With the Small Business Administration announcing today that PPP funding has indeed expired, Congressional leaders and the White House are negotiating a deal to provide additional funds for both the PPP and EIDL programs. Although we anticipate a resolution, every day with a funding lapse is more undue hardship on small businesses and the self-employed. NAR will continue to prioritize protection of the PPP and EIDL during ongoing negotiations in Washington, and we've updated NAR's FAQ Document containing the latest guidance and information on these SBA programs based on today's developments.

NAR calls for servicing relief as banks tighten mortgages -- JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest lender by assets, announced that the majority of new customers applying for a mortgage will need a minimum credit score of 700 and a down payment of at least 20% of the home’s value.

View the findings of NAR’s Economic Pulse Flash Survey conducted April 12-13.

According to Heidi Henning, NAR’s Vice President of Meetings, Sales & Events, at this time, there are no changes to the scheduled REALTORS Conference & Expo in New Orleans this November. You may have read the recent statement by the New Orleans Mayor suggesting that large gatherings be banned through the end of 2020. This was in reference to events such as festivals and concerts but no policies have yet been enacted. We are in close communication with the City and will continue to assess the safety of the environment. We anticipate that registration will launch after the virtual REALTORS Legislative Meetings next month.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 16, 2020

1. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza has issued the following statement regarding the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program:

“The SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days. The Paycheck Protection Program is saving millions of jobs and helping America’s small businesses make it through this challenging time. The EIDL program is also providing much-needed relief to people and businesses.

“By law, the SBA will not be able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations.

“We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program -- a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program -- at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.

“The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible. We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need.”

2. Treasury, IRS unveil online application to help with Economic Impact Payments--Working with the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service unveiled the new Get My Payment on April 15, with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information.

Treasury, IRS launch new tool to help non-filers register for Economic Impact Payments -- To help millions of people, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.

Based on the response, feedback and questions since IRS launched our Get My Payment tool earlier today, IRS has issued the statement below yesterday:

The Get My Payment site is operating smoothly and effectively. As of mid-day today, more than 6.2 million taxpayers have successfully received their payment status and almost 1.1 million taxpayers have successfully provided banking information, ensuring a direct deposit will be quickly sent. IRS is actively monitoring site volume; if site volume gets too high, users are sent to an online “waiting room” for a brief wait until space becomes available, much like private sector online sites. Media reports saying the tool “crashed” are inaccurate.

In situations where payment status is not available, the app will respond with “Status Not Available.” The IRS reminds users you may receive this message for one of the following reasons:

  • If you are not eligible for a payment (see IRS.gov on who is eligible and who is not eligible)
  • If you are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019.
    If you recently filed your return or provided information through Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info on IRS.gov. Your payment status will be updated when processing is completed.
  • If you are a SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient – the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in this app yet.

You can check the app again to see whether there has been an update to your information. The IRS reminds taxpayers that Get My Payment data is updated once per day, so there’s no need to check back more frequently.

The IRS continues to closely monitor the situation. In addition, more information will be shared on IRS.gov shortly on some common questions taxpayers are asking.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 15, 2020

Banks will soon be able to postpone some appraisals until 120 days after a mortgage closes

Citing the need to “extend financing to creditworthy households and businesses quickly in the wake of the national emergency declared in connection with COVID-19,” a trio of federal banking regulators announced Tuesday evening that banks will soon be able to delay getting an appraisal on a property for as many as 120 days after a mortgage closes.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the changes Tuesday, stating the rule change will be in effect until the end of this year.

Under the rule change, banks can postpone an appraisal on a residential or commercial property for 120 after the loan is closed.

It should be noted that the rule only applies to banks under the oversight of the Fed, FDIC and OCC.

More important, the rule change only applies to loans kept in banks’ portfolios.

Loans sold to or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac will still require an appraisal before closing, per each agency’s or company’s rules.

Meanwhile, each of those agencies has relaxed their appraisal rules in recent weeks to address social distancing protocols or stay-at-home orders in various states and cities.

In each case, the agencies moved to allow exterior-only appraisals (known as drive-by appraisals) or in some cases, desktop appraisals, where the appraiser doesn’t inspect the property or comparable sales. Instead, the appraiser relies on public records, multiple listing service information, and other third-party data sources to identify the property characteristics.

But the newly announced rules from the banking regulators go several steps beyond that, stating that appraisals may be pushed to 120 days after the mortgage closes.

The rule change is not official yet, however. The rule goes into effect when it is entered into the Federal Register.

When the rule change goes into effect, the rule will apply to “residential and commercial real estate secured transactions, including loans for new money or refinancing transactions.”

However, the rule excludes “transactions for acquisition, development, and construction of real estate.”

In the interim final rule, the regulators note how the current environment is impacting the ability of certain people to buy a home or refinance if they want to or need to.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19, businesses and individuals have a heightened need for additional liquidity,” the regulators state in the rule.

“Being able to quickly access equity in real estate could help address this need. However, government restrictions on non-essential movement and health and safety advisories in response to the National Emergency declared in connection with COVID-19,1 including those relating to social distancing, have led to complications with respect to performing and completing real property appraisals and evaluations needed to comply with federal appraisal regulations,” they continue. “As a result, some borrowers may experience delays in obtaining funds needed to meet immediate and near-term financial needs.”

But the agencies state that the ability to delay an appraisal does not absolve the lender of needing to conduct prudent lending practices.

“Regulated institutions that defer receipt of an appraisal or evaluation are still expected to conduct their lending activity consistent with the underwriting principles in the agencies’ Standards for Safety and Soundness and Real Estate Lending Standards that focus on the ability of a borrower to repay a loan and other relevant laws and regulations,” the regulators state. “These deferrals are not an exercise of the agencies’ waiver authority, because appraisals and evaluations are being deferred, not waived.”

The regulators continue:

  • Under the interim final rule, regulated institutions may close a real estate loan without a contemporaneous appraisal or evaluation, subject to a requirement that institutions obtain the appraisal or evaluation, as would have been required under the appraisal regulations without the deferral, within a grace period of 120 days after closing of the transaction. While appraisals and evaluations can be deferred, the agencies expect institutions to use best efforts and available information to develop a well-informed estimate of the collateral value of the subject property.
  • For purposes of risk-weighting of residential mortgage exposures, an institution’s prudent underwriting estimation of the collateral value of the subject property will be considered to meet the agencies’ appraisal and evaluation requirements during the deferral period. In addition, the agencies continue to expect regulated institutions to adhere to internal underwriting standards for assessing borrowers’ creditworthiness and repayment capacity, and to develop procedures for estimating the collateral’s value for the purposes of extending or refinancing credit.
  • The agencies also note the potential for the value of the property in question to drop during the 120-day delay, and state that banks must be prepared for that scenario.

“The agencies also expect institutions to develop an appropriate risk mitigation strategy if the appraisal or evaluation ultimately reveals a market value significantly lower than the expected market value,” the agencies state. “An institution’s risk mitigation strategy should consider safety and soundness risk to the institution, balanced with mitigation of financial harm to COVID-19-affected borrowers.”

As stated earlier, the delayed appraisal option does not apply to “transactions for acquisition, development, and construction of real estate.” In the rule, the regulators state that those loans “present heightened risks not associated with financing existing real estate.”

Beyond that, the regulators also state that “repayment of those transactions is generally dependent on the completion or sale of the property being held as collateral as opposed to repayment generated by existing collateral or the borrower.”

Typically, a rule change like this would require a comment period after the rule’s initial proposal, followed by a 30-day delayed effective date to ensure all affected parties have time to prepare.

But in this case, the regulators state that they are bypassing those procedures in order to enact this rule as quickly as possible.

“The agencies believe that the public interest is best served by implementing the interim final rule as soon as possible. As discussed above, recent events have suddenly and significantly affected global economic activity, increasing businesses’ and households’ need to have timely access to liquidity from real estate equity,” the agencies state.

“In addition, the spread of COVID-19 has greatly increased the difficulty of performing real estate appraisals and evaluations in a timely manner,” the agencies continue. “This relief will allow regulated institutions to better focus on supporting lending to creditworthy households and businesses in light of recent strains on the U.S. economy as a result of COVID19, while reaffirming the safety and soundness principle that valuation of collateral is an essential part of the lending decision. For these reasons, the agencies find that there is good cause consistent with the public interest to issue the rule without advance notice and comment.”

The regulators conclude the interim final rule by stating that they believe the change will help ensure credit goes to deserving borrowers and protect all involved.

“The agencies believe that the limited timeframe for the deferral will in some respects help to manage potential risk by balancing the need for immediate relief due to the National Emergency with safety and soundness concerns for risk to lenders,” the agencies state.

The agencies also note that the National Credit Union Association will consider a similar rule later this week that would apply the same standards to credit unions.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 14, 2020

Friday it was reported that JP Morgan would raise its requirements on mortgage borrowers who do not have an existing relationship with the bank.

NAR is working to attain more detail on the specifics of this change including rate sheets before and after the change. However, it is likely that they will pull back from their whole sale lending to non-bank mortgage lenders who support significant amounts of both FHA and GSE lending.

This change is concerning, but it follows a pattern that many lenders have already taken in the government space as a result of issues in the servicing sector and the slowing economy.

Instability in mortgage servicing has risen as a result of the unprecedented demand on servicers to extend principle and interest payments on mortgages in forbearance. Servicers are required to front 2-3 months of payments to investors before the GSEs or FHA begin to make payments. This action would require tens of billions of dollars that these servicers don't have and was not part of their initial business models. This specter has resulted in servicers and banks steering consumers likely to need forbearance away with higher credit score, DTI and reserve overlays, which has hurt many transactions.

NAR first wrote to the Fed, Treasury, and FHFA urging them to act back on March 27. A week later we followed up with a coalition press statement toward the same ends.

Instability in servicing is expanding as an issue and could begin to affect the greater economy with fewer home sales and the spending on goods and services that results from them.

NAR will continue to work this issue with industry partners, congress, regulators, and the administration to push for support of purchase lending

The IRS extension on 1031 and Opportunity Zones article was tricky but brings some clarity. Investors who have like-kind exchange or opportunity zone deadlines between April 1 and July 15 now have a little more time to close their deals. The IRS issued new guidance Thursday night that granted all taxpayers, including “trusts, estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers,” a filing extension until July 15.

April 13, 2020

The IRS issued guidance Thursday evening to grant deadline relief for both 1031 like-kind exchanges and opportunity zone investments that are already underway. Both of these programs are designed to promote economic growth in communities, and NAR made the case that investors in thDAILY RUNDOWNese programs should not be harmed due to the effects of COVID-19.

  • 1031 Like-kind exchanges. If an investor has taken the first step of a like-kind exchange by selling the old property, and either the 45-day or the 180-day deadline falls between April 1 and July 15, the deadline has been extended to July 15.
  • Opportunity Zones. If an investor who sold a capital asset planned to roll over the gain into an Opportunity Fund and the 180-day deadline to do so falls between April 1 and July 15, 2020, he or she can make the investment as late as July 15.

Also, sole proprietors who pay quarterly estimated taxes now have until July 15 to file their second quarter payment. As a result of an earlier IRS notice, first quarter estimated tax payments had already been extended to July 15. This means that any individual or corporation that has a quarterly estimated tax payment due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, can wait until July 15 to make that payment, without penalty. NAR has advocated heavily for these extensions since the outbreak of the COVID-10 pandemic.

NAR’s newest REALTOR Resiliency Report contains updates on:

  • IRS guidance on the 1031 like-kind extension requests and the opportunity zone extension requests,
  • Updates on its “Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS” webpage,
  • Insights on loan programs available to REALTORS,
  • Details on its first-ever Legislative Meetings, May 12-14, and more!

A number of national associations, developers, lenders and housing agencies--including NAR, IREM and CCIM--sent a joint letter to Congress focusing on important affordable rental housing matters

The Ohio Department of Health issued an “Ask the Expert” fact sheet featuring Dr. Anthony J. Armstrong, president of the Ohio State Medical Association, exploring COVID-19 and minority health.

DAILY RUNDOWN: April 9, 2020

Yesterday, the PUCO took action to authorize utilities in the state of Ohio to obtain loans from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, which authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to retain their employees during the COVID -19 crisis. This program will allow small utilities to apply for federal loans without seeking approval from the PUCO.

Additionally, the order extends the Commission's March 12 order, which allowed for the suspension of requirements that may impose a service continuity hardship on residential and business customers or create unnecessary risks of social contact. The extension will be for an additional 30 days, unless otherwise ordered by the PUCO.

The National Association of REALTORS has released findings from its April 5-6, 2020 “Flash Survey: Economic Pulse” gauging the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the real estate market. Additionally, the organization has published its “Weekly Housing Market Monitor.”

Read NAR’s Washington Report focusing on the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Loans, with program details and access to an application.

The Federal Reserve Board announced that it will temporarily and narrowly modify the growth restriction on Wells Fargo so that it can provide additional support to small businesses. The change will only allow the firm to make additional small business loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and the Federal Reserve's forthcoming Main Street Lending Program.

Did you miss yesterday’s Facebook Live event by NAR’s Leadership Team? No worries you can watch the session on NAR’s Facebook page or at NAR's website

Freddie Mac has updated its COVID-19 FAQ guidance.

Daily Rundown: April 8, 2020

NAR Leadership Live: Real time. Real experts. Real answers.
Reminder: Today -- April 8, 2020, at 1:00 pm ET

Find out how the National Association of REALTORS advances issues that are most important to members through legislative action and timely, free-to-member resources.

During this week’s Leadership Live event members will have the opportunity to connect with NAR leadership and industry experts to learn how to utilize the CARES Act and stimulus package to leverage financial benefits for themselves and their agents.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that we provide members one-on-one access to real estate industry and advocacy experts, who can:

  • break down the CARES Act and stimulus package to help independent contractors and small business owners leverage benefits and resources that you may be entitled to;
  • share details about NAR’s relaunched Right Tools, Right Now initiative and how to take advantage of free-to-members products and services and applicable benefits that can make a difference in your business today;
  • and provide exciting updates on the upcoming REALTORS Legislative Meetings Virtual Event, taking place May 12-14.

Join us and Register Here

Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the creation of the Office of Small Business Relief to better coordinate efforts to identify and provide support for Ohio’s nearly 950,000 small businesses. This office will be housed within the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA).

The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, is providing timely additional guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the CARES Act.

Attached is a common COVID-19 “Myths Versus Facts” document that the Ohio has created.

Daily Rundown: April 7, 2020

Leadership of the National Association of REALTORS will be hosting an event to break down the CARES Act and stimulus package to help independent contractors and small business owners leverage benefits and resources that you may be entitled to. REALTORS are encouraged to participate this Wednesday, April 8, at 1 p.m. ET on Leadership Live, a Facebook Live event where NAR Leaders and industry experts will answer your questions and address your concerns during this interactive and impactful exchange. Join NAR and register now.

NAR announced a Members TeleHealth program, providing two months of telemedicine at no cost for members who lack access to the service. Members must register by April 15. This program comes as part of NAR’s larger “Right Tools, Right Now” initiative, which is making numerous valuable resources available to the Association’s 1.4 million members at reduced or no cost. 

Over the weekend, NAR joined a coalition including the MBA, NAHB, small lenders, and consumer groups in a press release asking the Fed, Treasury, and FHFA to take action to alleviate problems in the servicing industry. This press release echoes a letter that NAR sent to the same regulators on March 27. Instability in mortgage servicing has risen as a result of the unprecedented demand on servicers to extend principle and interest payments on mortgages in forbearance. This instability has resulted in credit score, DTI, and reserve overlays and hurt many transactions. NAR will continue to work this issue.

NAR has produced a Commercial Real Estate & COVID-19 Advocacy Fact Sheet detailing some of the property relief available to commercial real estate – including information on SBA loan programs, 1031 Like-Kind Exchange deadline extension, Qualified Opportunity funds, multi-family housing and more.

A broad coalition of organizations representing the financial industry and affordable housing advocates, including NAR, released a statement calling on government regulators to provide a source of liquidity to those mortgage servicers that may need additional capacity to support homeowners and renters impacted by COVD-19.

Daily Rundown: April 6, 2020

The Ohio Development Services Agency, charged with supporting the state’s businesses, serving residents and helping Ohio’s communities be more resilient, has issued its Weekly Report (April 3) detailing SBA loan options, the Support Local Ohio initiative and more.

The National Association of REALTORS created an FAQ page with information on the impact of the COVID-19 on mortgage finance as well as the response from congress, the administrative, and the administration. The document will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

NAR President Vince Malta was a guest on the “Brian Ruffini Show” podcast. They discussed how the housing market will recover, how the community can weather COVID-19, and why keeping educated and getting training is vital for REALTORS, among other topics. Listen now

SBA released its interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides much-needed clarity on a point relevant to many real estate brokerages and REALTORS: how should a business account for independent contractors? The final rule explicitly states that since independent contractors can apply for their own loans (beginning April 10), they should not be counted toward another business's employee headcount or its average monthly payroll costs. As this is a brand new program which lenders have had little time to prepare for, many lenders are not yet accepting applications, despite it technically being available as of today (April 3) for small businesses and sole proprietors. Eligible borrowers should reach out to their lenders and continue to check on when they are accepting applications. To learn more about the program--who is eligible, how to apply, what borrowers need to provide to lenders, and other resources--please visit NAR's SBA CARES Act FAQ, which has been updated with the new information from the interim rule.
Additional helpful links here:

The federal government’s stimulus package that's poised to provide aid to the economy and workers during the pandemic also extends unemployment benefits to those traditionally ineligible, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors— categories that many real estate professionals fall under. NAR has released an FAQ on unemployment assistance outlined under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27.

Daily Rundown: April 3, 2020

The latest REALTOR Resiliency Report (pdf attached), a weekly communication from National Association of REALTORS President Vince Malta and Chief Executive Officer Bob Goldberg, is available. The Report describes the many ways the organization is working to guide and support REALTORS and the real estate industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NAR has two new fact sheets:

  • FAQ on unemployment benefits
  • FAQ on SBA loans

Governor DeWine announced yesterday that Ohio’s Stay at Home order has been extended until 11:59 PM on May 1, 2020. Updates to the new order include: the creation of a dispute resolution process, a requirement that essential businesses determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at once, a mandate that wedding receptions be limited to no more than 10 people, among other changes. See Order Checklist

Lt. Governor Husted announced that the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation has developed a website specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis.

Daily Rundown: April 2, 2020

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) is open and working hard for partners and homebuyers during this difficult time. Its homebuyer programs are fully funded and operational, OHFA funding and down payment assistance programs remains unaffected during this health emergency. Please also know that OHFA funding is secure and they are accepting reservations.

The National Association of REALTORS has prepared a Coronavirus Small Business Administration CARES Act FAQ, containing information on eligibility and the application process for these brand new programs, The information is also available in .pdf format. Note: The page will be constantly updated, as there are still some areas of uncertainty that NAR is seeking clarity on.

Yesterday, President Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Ohio and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing. Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Ohio impacted by COVID-19.

Daily Rundown: April 1, 2020

IR-2020-61: Economic impact payments: What you need to know -- The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

Yesterday, the Treasury Department released the application for the SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. It also released a summary guide of the program for borrowers, here.

Small businesses and sole proprietors can apply beginning this Friday, April 3; independent contractors and the self-employed can apply beginning next Friday, April 10. Applications go directly to SBA lenders, which you can find through the SBA.

This is a new program created by the CARES Act to provide small businesses (500 employees or fewer), sole proprietors, and the self-employed/independent contracts who are impacted by COVID-19 with loans of 2.5x their average monthly payroll expenses (up to $10 million) to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities for an 8-week period during the crisis. Employers who maintain payroll levels of at least 75% of their average and the same number of employees are eligible for loan forgiveness. You can learn more about the loan program in NAR's CARES Act FAQ document and the CARES Act Summary.

There are still some questions as to if a small business should include independent contractors in its employee numbers and payroll costs; what we know for certain is that independent contractors can apply for their own 7(a) PPP loans. We are seeking clarity on that question from the Treasury and the SBA and will have the answer soon.

NAR will be posting a SBA-Program specific FAQ focusing on the 7(a) PPP loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which you can apply for here. (Businesses can apply for both, but the funds cannot be used for the same purposes, and the $10,000 advance grant is not forgiven if you also receive a forgivable PPP loan.)

Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) yesterday announced several loan processing flexibilities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (The Enterprises) designed to help their customers. The flexibilities announced by the Enterprises include:

  • Allowing desktop appraisals on new construction loans;
  • Allowing flexibility on demonstrating construction has been completed (alternative to the Completion Report);
  • Allowing flexibility for borrowers to provide documentation (rather than requiring an inspection) to allow renovation disbursements (draws); and
  • Expanding the use of power of attorney and remote online notarizations.

Fannie Mae announcement
Freddie Mac announcement

Ohio REALTORS has updated its list of cancelled/postponed professional devlopment opportunities to include courses through April.

The National Association of REALTORS has created Coronavirus Guidance: Commercial Real Estate with information on COVID-19 and its effect on commercial practitioners. Additionally: