United Against Racial Injustice

My heart goes out to the family and friends of our fellow Minnesotan George Floyd, and to everyone deeply affected by this grave injustice. We know there is much work to do, and we must awaken to that fact and never turn away.

Here’s a message from Edina Realty’s CEO Greg Mason:

Statement from Edina Realty Home Services CEO Greg Mason

It has been just over a week since we learned of the tragic killing of fellow Minnesotan George Floyd. Our hearts go out to his family, his friends, and to everyone in our communities who have been deeply affected by this grave injustice.

The events of the past week have served to shine a spotlight on how much work we have to do when it comes to equality. To that end, we have signed a statement with 50 other Minnesota companies to stand united against acts of racism and violence. We pledge: change has to start today, and it needs to start with us.

So, as a company, we’re reflecting on all the ways we can do better in serving diverse communities by promoting inclusion and equality, but also by helping to identify—and remove—historical barriers. We know there is work to do. We’re listening and we’re here for it.

Greg Mason

Greg Mason
CEO, Edina Realty Home Services

What You Need to Know to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief

Coronavirus Mortgage Relief
It’s a confusing time, but lenders are putting remedies, like forbearance, in place to help homeowners.

Mortgage lenders, and the federal agencies that regulate lenders, are putting coronavirus mortgage relief measures in place to ensure homeowners have options if they’re unable to make payments.

Your first stop in the face of financial hardship is your lender or bank.

Just keep in mind lenders are working to figure out and implement the new mortgage relief polices outlined by the regulatory agencies. So you might read one thing from the FHFA, a federal regulator, but your bank might be doing something else.

In addition, due to the number of homeowners affected by the pandemic, lenders are dealing with a crush of calls and online queries. Be patient, persistent, and prepared to spend time on hold.

Your Mortgage

Federally Backed Mortgages
If you have a mortgage backed by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran’s Administration (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, your loan servicer must offer you deferred or reduced mortgage payment options – called forbearance — for up to six months. This means you don’t have to pay your mortgage and you won’t be charged late fees, penalties or interest while you can’t pay.

Loan servicers for FHA, Freddie, and Fannie must provide an additional six months of forbearance if you request it.

Not sure who backs your own loan? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have loan look-up sites where you can find out who owns it, and how to get in touch with them.

In addition, here are direct links to some lenders and banks’ Covid-19 resources:

Mortgages Not Federally Backed
If your mortgage is one of the 5 million in the United States not backed by a federal entity, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes a coronavirus mortgage relief mandate, doesn’t apply. But regulators have encouraged those lenders to work with borrowers who can’t pay their mortgages, and most banks and other lenders are suspending mortgage payments or offering forbearance.

The level of relief you get will depend on who owns your loan. Contact your lender to find out what’s available.

Regardless of the type of loan you have, you must apply for coronavirus mortgage relief through their mortgage servicer. That’s the entity that collects your monthly payments and decides how long the assistance will last. When you reach your mortgage servicer, you’ll need to explain your situation and provide information about your income, expenses and assets.

Foreclosure and Evictions

Federal officials have imposed a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions for more than 36 million Americans with home mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

The moratorium only affects borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and RHS (Rural Housing Service loans through the USDA). This doesn’t apply to the roughly 35% of mortgages held in bank portfolios and private label securities. But some individual lenders are offering relief.

Some cities, counties, and states, including Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas, have placed a moratorium on foreclosures. Check with your city, county and state governments. Find state-by-state tallies online.

Housing Counselors

Another tool in your relief toolbox are housing counselors. Counselors can provide independent advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s look-up tool lets you can find counselors in your state.

Your Credit

The CARES Act forbids lenders from dinging your credit score for missed payments on federally backed mortgages and student loans during your forbearance period. The federal government is also encouraging private lenders to suspend reporting late payments on eligible mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has more advice about protecting your credit.

By law, you can get a free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Note that these reports don’t include credit scores. Equifax offers six free credit reports every 12 months through December 2026 if you sign up for a myEquifax account.

Your Student Loan

The CARES Act includes immediate relief for those who can’t make their monthly payments on federally held loans due to coronavirus. All loan payments (both principal and interest) are suspended through Sept. 30, 2020, with no penalty. You don’t need to apply for this program or contact your lender. It’s automatic.

If you keep making payments, they’ll be applied entirely toward the principal. These suspended payments will count towards any student loan forgiveness already in effect.

Here’s a list of servicers — and their phone numbers — for loans backed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and some Perkins Loans not owned by the Department of Education aren’t eligible for suspended payments. Nor are private student loans owned by banks, credit unions, schools, or other private entities. If you can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer to find out what options are available. Many are offering ways, like forbearance, to postpone payments.

Not sure who your servicer is? Look on your most recent statement and contact the servicer immediately.

If your student loan is already in default, the relief act immediately suspends wage garnishments or tax refund deductions. They’ll resume after the suspension ends.

Find out more about student loan relief at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Your Taxes

The IRS has pushed back the deadline for filing and payment of federal taxes to July 15, 2020. Many states are following suit. Check with your state tax agency, or see this list from the American Institute of CPAs for details on deadlines.

Related: Tips to Get Filing Ready for (Delayed) Tax Deadline

Your Real Estate Transaction

If you’re going to be buying or selling a home in the near future, find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

In addition, more than half of states, many under emergency state directive, allow for remote online notarization of documents. This makes it safe and easy to complete real estate transactions under social distancing orders. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as pandemic legislation expands.

Your Appraisal

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided detailed appraisal alternative guidelines, so homeowners and appraisers can practice social distancing on Freddie and Fannie loans through May 17, 2020.

FHA, VA, and RHS are also allowing variations on the usual appraisal protocol. Check with your servicer for details.

Look Out For Scams

Fear breeds scams. And scammers are out in full force during the pandemic. Beware of third parties offering mortgage assistance and other help. Seek help from your lender directly.

For information on circulating scams and guidance on identifying them, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this.
Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

My commitment to you during COVID-19

I understand there is a vital need for many to purchase and sell homes or refinance amidst the pandemic. Real estate services are considered an essential business in both Minnesota and Wisconsin during this time, but please be assured that we are making every attempt to do things virtually whenever possible. The health and safety of our communities and clients are a top priority, and during these unprecedented times, I’m doing my part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

I am open for business and here for you, but our offices have temporarily closed. I continue working remotely, offering virtual showings and appointments, and I’m ready to help with all your real estate needs while practicing prudent social distancing. Edina Realty employees are also working remotely and fully equipped to offer support throughout your transaction. Simply give me a call, send an email or reach out via direct message for help with your home buying, selling, mortgage, title, insurance and warranty needs.

I continue to safely market and show homes for sale. I am focused on providing remote and virtual solutions for my clients at this time. However, should you require an in-person appointment, I can still conduct careful private showings while practicing social distancing. Private showings are limited to one person or family at a time. Sellers are being asked to clean and disinfect homes before and after showings, and visitors are asked not to touch surfaces.

At this time, in-person open houses are suspended. To prevent gatherings of too many people, in-person open houses have been temporarily suspended throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, you can still participate in virtual open houses or video tours of homes for sale. Reach out to further discuss all the options available to view and market homes.

We continue to perform closings in our closing centers. However, Edina Realty Title has implemented the following precautions:

  • To ensure social distancing, we will separate buyers and sellers into different rooms during closings
  • In some cases, closings may be conducted from your car in an Edina Realty Title closing center parking lot
  • Sellers are being encouraged to pre-sign whenever possible. Buyers must close in-person due to notarized signature requirements
  • Closings are conducted only at our closing centers or other title closing centers
  • Closing attendees are limited to clients and closers only (no agents or mortgage consultants)
  • All non-essential materials and refreshments have been removed from the closing rooms
  • Surfaces are being regularly cleaned and sanitized

Edina Realty has assembled a COVID-19 task force. Our task force meets daily to integrate the latest recommendations from government and industry officials, allowing me to keep things running smoothly for your real estate needs.

A very special thank you to the exceptional people in our communities. My deepest gratitude to all the first responders, medical professionals, law enforcers, government officials, grocery store workers, truck drivers and other essential workers putting themselves in harm’s way to support our communities. You are incredible and I appreciate you.

Get a Free Pumpkin!

LIMITED SUPPLY, so please RSVP by September 30th.

UPDATE: I have some exciting news for our pumpkin event. We will have pony rides and goats and bunnies for the kids to play with. So, there will be goats, bunnies, ponies and a balloon artist. It should be a good time. If you would like to take home a free pumpkin, as supplies are limited, please RSVP by calling Brian Bernard at (651) 225-3920 or emailing me at BrianBernard@edinarealty.com. Hope to see you there!

Dixie’s is located at 695 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul MN 55105 and is across the street from the Grand Avenue Edina Realty office.

Welcome!

Hi, my name is Brian Bernard and I am a Realtor serving the Saint Paul Minnesota area. I have lived in the Minneapolis/St Paul area my whole adult life and I decided to create this blog to provide information about local homes and trends in the real estate market. I also want to provide some tips for buying a home or selling a property in our local metropolitan area. If there is a topic you would like some information on just let me know and I’ll provide some insight. If you have a specific question you can always call me at the number below. Thank you for visiting!