March 27, 2020
EDITORS NOTE: For those of you expecting to see the REALTOR® Advocate in your inboxes today, you will not be seeing it today. We have made the decision to place it on an indefinite hiatus to allow us to bring you these important updates through the STATUS UPDATE.
In today’s STATUS UPDATE we provide you with more information about the local stay-at-home orders in areas across the state. We will also give you additional insight into the relief legislation passed by the Congress earlier today.
Stay safe and continue to monitor all of the information which is being distributed by health officials.
Please note that all of this content is available on the STATUS UPDATE page on ncrealtors.org.
Governor Cooper Issues Statewide Order
Today, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121 which implements a statewide “shelter in place” directive, effective Monday, March 30 at 5:00 PM. This order will remain in effect for thirty (30) days unless otherwise repealed. While this is a significant measure, it is a vital step in the effort to assist in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The full list of measures implemented in Executive Order 121 are found here.
Included in section 25 of the order, real estate services, including brokerage, appraisal and title services, ARE included under essential business operations. This is a HUGE win for our industry, our clients, and the state economy. We sincerely appreciate the support shown by Governor Cooper through this order!
Here is the specific language of Section 25 on page 8 of the order:
Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, professional engineering and architectural services, land surveying services, real estate services (including brokerage, appraisal and title services) and tax preparation services.
We also thank the Governor for his statement encouraging local governments who have or will implement their own orders to conform with the state standards. As we have seen over the past few days, local governments have issued a variety of different orders which have led to a lot of confusion for our members and citizens alike.
“In these difficult times, we are extremely appreciative of Governor Cooper’s efforts to allow our industry to continue serving our clients,” said Maren Brisson-Kuester, 2020 NC REALTORS® President. “As our economy is experiencing such significant turmoil, it is great that providing people with shelter has been given this level of priority. But remember, while we have been granted these abilities, it does not mean that you don’t have to abide by the health and safety guidelines. If you can work remotely, do it! Above all else, stay safe!”
For the past ten days, the NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team, in partnership with local associations across the state, has been working diligently to demonstrate the importance of the real estate industry. We have engaged with the Governor’s office and local government officials to develop and clarify orders issues to ensure that real estate services are included in their orders.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even though this order allows your business activities to continue, YOU MUST abide by ALL CDC and NCDHHS health and safety guidelines! Make sure to maintain social distancing and proper hygiene practices in all of your interactions. If you can do your work remotely, DO IT!
NC REALTORS® has put together multiple resource guides which are available at ncrealtors.org/coronavirus.
More Stay-at-Home Orders Issued
In yesterday’s Update, we provide you with a list of the orders which had been released to-date. Following distribution, two other orders, in Wake and Gaston counties, were released. Below you will find links to these new orders.
Gaston County (March 26)
Wake County (March 26)
Both of these orders do allow real estate services to continue during this time. As more information and additional orders are released, we will provide them to you.
Congress Passes Important Relief Legislation
Earlier today, the United States House of Representatives approved the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” also known as the CARES Act. A $2 trillion economic relief package, it includes multiple important provisions for the housing industry, and specifically, REALTORS. The bill now moves to President Trump who is expected to sign it.
NAR has put together a complete explanation of all of the provisions of the more than 900-page bill.
**Please note that NAR and NC REALTORS staff are still reviewing the approved grants and loans authorized under this legislation. Additional guidance will be provided to members as soon as it becomes available.
Here are a couple of quick highlights:
- $350 billion for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program—These loans will allow businesses with less than 500 employees access to up to $10 million for use towards mortgage interest, rent, utilities, and payroll costs. A portion of these loans will also be forgivable. REALTORS, independent contractors, and those living on commission-based income WILL be eligible for these loans.
- One-time payments to individuals and married couples—The legislation approved a one-time payment of $1,200 to most individuals, $2,400 to married couples, and $500 per child. There are some income caps which may limit the amount an individual will receive.
- Affordable Housing Support—Included in the bill are billions of dollars to support affordable housing programs like Section 8 rental assistance ($1.2 billion), project-based rental assistance ($1 billion), and a foreclosure moratorium on all federally-backed mortgage loans for 60 days (until May 18, 2020). There is also a moratorium on eviction filings for nonpayment of rent for 120 days on properties covered under federal programs.
- Dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance—The legislation expands the unemployment insurance benefit period to up to 39 weeks (known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), extending it to independent contractors for the first time. NAR is still reviewing the specifics under this proposal and will be providing more information soon.
- Mortgage Forbearance—Borrowers of government-backed mortgages can request up to a 360-day payment forbearance without any proof of hardship.
- Broadband Pilot Program—The legislation provides $100 million for a grant program to fund construction and upgrade costs for broadband networks in rural areas.
Keep Your Mind and Skills Sharp Next Week
Learn new skills and enhance your ability to keep your business going in these uncertain times. Take advantage of one of these discounted or free online training opportunities:
- Financial Tips During Challenging Times: A Business Survival Guide Tune in March 30 at 2PM to learn about steps you can take to build an emergency savings fund to protect your business and stay ahead of market trends. Register now>>
- Helping Your Agent Through an Economic Market Downturn: Survival Guide for Brokers Tune in April 2 at 2PM. This webinar will address ways you can help your agents get financially prepared for challenging times, while uncovering new ways to protect your business. Register now>>
- How To Be a Virtual Agent Tune in April 3 at 3PM. Jeremias “JMan” Maneiro of JMan Seminars will discuss the how to’s of virtual open houses and virtual buyer consultations. Register now>>
- Coronavirus Playbook: Building Your Business During Quarantine The Boom Team will be hosting a FREE webinar March 30 through April 3. Learn personal habits/routines you should build NOW, that will impact your life and business well AFTER the quarantine is over. Can’t join live? There WILL be a replay, but only if you register! Sign up for the day/time that works best for you here.
- 30% off ALL Center for REALTOR® Development Online Courses
- 50% off At Home with Diversity Course (CE Included)
- Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA (CE Included) FREE
- e-PRO® Certification Course FREE
NC REALTORS® Offices
As a reminder, NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least April 10.
You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information. The NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline will remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. To contact the Legal Hotline, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The NC REALTORS® Tech Helpline is also Monday – Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612) or visiting TechHelpLine.com.