Disinfectant wipes have become standard tools-of-the-trade for many Realtors as they tour homes or ferry clients around. But is it really effective?
NEW YORK – Real estate pros take disinfectant wipes to home showings, and they’re using them in their car to clean frequently touched surfaces to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But are they disinfecting correctly?
According to HouseLogic.com, the best cleaners are either a bleach solution or a 70% alcohol solution.
“Follow this bleach recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water,” the site advises, reminding readers to properly ventilate while using bleach. The site also notes that bleach can expire, so check the bottle’s expiration date – and never mix bleach with anything other than water. (But one important note: Bleach still fades fabrics.)
If you don't have bleach, use 70% rubbing alcohol, which is already diluted, HouseLogic says. Disinfecting wipes use an ammonium compound, which could allow viruses to become resistant over time.
“Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “[For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. "
Allow for “dwell time,” agrees an article at Apartment Therapy that features an interview with microbiologists. Disinfecting solutions need to remain on the surface for a certain amount of time to be effective, and that amount of time can vary by product.
For example, Clorox Wipes advises treating a surface “using enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for four minutes.” Other disinfectants, including bleach, have their own instructions for proper use. Be sure to check the bottle.
Also, disinfectants don’t provide lasting protection. If a sick person touches the surface right after you clean it, new germs will be left there.
“The reality is that bacteria are complex organisms, and the vast majority of people don’t understand the intricate mechanisms that power them, which leads to them underestimating just how easily they can be reintroduced and quickly multiply on an unprotected surface,” says Morgan Brashear, the scientific communications manager at Proctor & Gamble.
Source: "How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus," Houselogic.com (March 16, 2020); “3 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Disinfectants,” Apartment Therapy (March 16, 2020)
© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
On Wed., the Small Business Administration announced that Fla.’s small companies can apply for loans up to $2M to offset temporary revenue losses resulting from the pandemic. Loan amounts are based on each applicant’s financial condition with repayment terms up to 30 years.
MIAMI – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that small businesses in Florida adversely impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for disaster loans.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the coronavirus.
All 67 Florida counties are included in the disaster declaration for coronavirus.
“I am encouraging all small businesses located in Florida to visit the SBA Disaster Assistance website and submit your application today,” says SBA South Florida District Director Victoria Guerrero. “While there, you will find information on how to contact our customer service team who can answer any disaster-related application questions. You can also reach out to one of our many resource partners for application assistance.”
Businesses can also find local SBA Resource Partners information on SBA’s website.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in economic assistance to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
Interest rates offered are as low as 3.75% for businesses without credit available elsewhere – businesses with credit available elsewhere aren’t eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
Loan amounts are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition. Repayment terms are up to 30 years.
For additional information, contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 18, 2020.
© 2020 Florida Realtors®
It’s supply vs. demand: The supply of mortgage money went up but demand from refinancing homeowners went up more. However, that’s generally expected to change.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. long-term mortgage rates climbed this week in a whip-sawing market amid deepening anxiety over devastation to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
Home loan rates had hit all-time lows two weeks ago. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year loan jumped to 3.65% this week from 3.36% last week.
Freddie Mac said the short-term rise was due to mortgage lenders increasing prices to deal with booming demand for refinancing into loans at historically low rates.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.06% from 2.77%.
The recent decline trend in mortgage rates has been driven by investors shifting money out of the stock market and into the safety of U.S. Treasurys as the crisis in confidence around the global viral outbreak has worsened. Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yields on the 10-year Treasury note, so they typically fall in tandem.
Financial markets have shuddered amid a cascade of cancellations and shutdowns across the globe due to the COVID-19 virus. Wide swaths of the U.S. economy have ground closer to a standstill as authorities ask Americans to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.
After weeks of stunning losses, U.S. stock prices see-sawed between gains and losses on Wall Street Thursday. Investors are weighing the growing likelihood of a recession against the massive, emergency efforts by the Trump White House, Congress and other authorities around the world to shore up economies.
The record low mortgage rates have been a boon to potential homebuyers, and they give many homeowners an opening to refinance into lower-rate loans to free up money to spend or save.
But prospective buyers may be reticent to shop for homes amid the coronavirus outbreak, seeking to avoid social contact, experts note. That could slow home sales. And ultra-low mortgage rates aren’t likely to produce a significant rise in home sales this year because the supply of homes for sale remains at historic lows.
Each week, Freddie Mac surveys lenders to compile its national mortgage rate figures. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to obtain the lowest rates.
The average rate for a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage jumped this week to 3.11% from 3.01% last week.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Florida Realtors released a new contract extension addendum that allows for time periods and dates to be extended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ORLANDO, Fla. – A new form from Florida Realtors – the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Extension Addendum to Contract – is now live in Form Simplicity.
This form is available for use in the event the parties would like to extend certain dates or time periods as a result of COVID-19. As stated in the addendum:
“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may cause unprecedented impacts to real estate transactions, including but not limited to travel restrictions, self-imposed and/or governmental required isolations, potential closures of offices and institutions required to fund, close and record real estate transactions, and action or inactions of a homeowners’ or condominium association.”
The form includes checkboxes with extension options for:
To view the form, log into Form Simplicity. Realtors who have questions are encouraged to call Florida Realtors Legal Hotline.
© 2020 Florida Realtors®
Florida Realtors Legal Hotline reports an uptick in sellers who wish to be let out of their listing agreements. But is that a conditional or unconditional termination?
ORLANDO, Fla. – As we hear from our members around the state on Florida Realtors Legal Hotline, many are grappling with hard decisions related to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Some have asked about clients or customers who wish to be let out of their listing agreements.
While the brokerage company and client are always welcome to negotiate any amendment they would like, including an agreement to place a temporary pause on the listing agreement that will resume at a later date, we thought it might be helpful to review the two types of termination options provided in the Modification to Listing Agreement:
Conditional TerminationThis termination fits a seller who no longer wants to sell the property.
If this turns out not to be the case, full commission would be due if the seller transfers (signs a deed), contracts to transfer (signs a purchase and sale agreement), or contracts to lease the property or any interest in the property “from the date of the conditional termination through the actual Termination Date and Protection Period, if any.”
Unconditional TerminationThis termination fits a seller who wants the option to continue marketing the property, with or without the help of another broker, after the termination.
Under unconditional termination, both sides agree to powerful release language, as they release each other from “all obligations under the Agreement and … any and all actions arising from or related to the Agreement.”
Joel Maxson is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors
© 2020 Florida Realtors®
HUD says homeowners with FHA-backed loans will have time to deal with the growing COVID-19 pandemic and self-isolation without fear of loss their home.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.
“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” says Carson. “The halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times.”
The guidance applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages. Carson says it:
“This is an uncertain time for many Americans, particularly those who could experience a loss of income. As such, we want to provide FHA borrower households with some immediate relief given the current circumstances,” says Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery. “Our actions today make it clear where the priority needs to be.”
FHA has developed and maintains a Q&A document to provide stakeholders with the latest information about FHA’s response to the Presidentially-declared COVID-19 national emergency. An updated version of the FHA Single Family COVID-19 Q&A is now posted.
© 2020 Florida Realtors®
Should condo boards close gyms? Can they deny entry to anyone with a fever? Still hold public meetings? The situation is fluid and definitive answers are hard to find.
STUART, Fla. – Question: Our residents are very concerned about the coronavirus. Some owners want the gym open and others are insisting that the board close the gym. Some owners want the association to deny entry to anyone with a fever. We also have our annual meeting next week and want to avoid hundreds of people but also want to hold the election. What should we do? – T.G., Treasure Coast
Answer: This has been a constant discussion in our office and around the world. As I write this article, it is very likely that the situation will have changed, and thus I recommend that you consult your attorney as you work through the next few weeks and months.
Broadly, note that Governor DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and many attorneys are supporting the use of the emergency powers statutes in Chapters 718 and 720 to support broadened Board authority during this time. Each community will approach this from a different perspective. Some will support full social distancing, others will support more stringent cleaning regimes, others will support a business as usual approach. Some homeowners associations have restaurants and bars that are subject to the Governor’s order on occupancy and serving alcohol, and others will voluntarily shut down operations.
We are working with clients to implement policies and procedures to continue operating its standard functions. Beyond that, I believe it is important that the board avoid actions or communications which create the impression that the board is responsible or obligated to maintain and/or protect physical health.
As a community association charged with operating a residential community and maintaining property, neither the board nor its managers (in most cases) are designed, trained or built to guarantee physical health. This is not what you do. If you create the impression that you are responsible to keep sick people out, then the board may be assuming a duty that is not in the association’s purview. You will most likely not do this perfectly and assume unnecessary liability that may not be covered under your insurance policies.
Because of these limitations, we recommend reiterating to the owners that they must contact their individual health care provider if they have any questions or concerns over their own health, or their involvement in any community activity or use of common areas. The association can take precautions such as closing or limiting facilities, implementing additional cleaning protocols, making hand sanitizer available, providing signs and instructions to wash hands, but the owners should understand that the association cannot serve as a health care provider or guarantor.
More specifically to your question, we are seeing many communities limit or close amenity access and community gatherings. By the time this article is printed, it may be mandatory. The board should consider whether it wants to follow CDC recommendations concerning large group gatherings and use of common facilities. The board has the authority to limit access, limit hours, or close community facilities during this time.
Finally, we are recommending that annual meetings either be rescheduled or limited to necessary personnel, which will typically include the board, management, and candidates in the event of an election. If you do not have any business to conduct or an election, you could also cancel the meeting under emergency powers. If you have limited attendance, you could also consider providing a conference telephone line for owners to attend by telephone, live stream or video tape the meeting for real time viewing or future viewing, or use a virtual meeting platform. If you have an election with limited attendance, we also recommend keeping all election materials in a secure location to ensure a proper recount is possible down the road.
Steven J. Adamczyk Esq., is a shareholder of the law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.
© 2020 Journal Media Group, Steven J. Adamczyk
In 2019, about 31K more people became ultra-rich – worth more than $30M – and “real estate marketers are paying close attention” to these potential investors.
NEW YORK – The ultra-wealthy may be looking to expand their real estate portfolios. The industry is watching closely as the number of high-net-worth individuals grows: About 31,000 more ultra-rich people emerged globally in 2019 – an annual growth rate of 6%, according to a new report from U.K.-based real estate firm Knight Frank and New York brokerage Douglas Elliman.
The growth rate of the ultra-rich – those with a net worth of at least $30 million – was 4% in 2018. North America saw the highest uptick in this segment, adding 13,911 people in 2019 compared to Asia’s 11,788 and Europe’s 4,682.
The ultra-high-net-worth individuals’ ranks are expected to grow by about 27% over the next five years globally, according to the report. By 2024, there could be about 650,000 people around the world who each have at least $30 million.
The countries seeing the fastest growth among this population are India (a projected 73% increase by 2024), followed by Egypt, Vietnam and China.
“Real estate marketers are paying close attention to where” these high-net-worth individuals are, Leonard Steinberg of Compass told The Wall Street Journal.
About 43% of 620 wealth advisers who manage the mega-rich’s money say they would increase their real estate exposure in 2020. Notably, Asian buyers have made the U.S. their top destination for residential real estate outside of their home country.
“The appeal of holding a dollar-denominated asset in the world’s biggest economy is likely to increase on the back of 2019’s three rate cuts, with some buyers viewing the lull in the run up to the presidential election as a potential opportunity,” the report notes.
Source: “New York Condo Developers Have 31,000 Reasons to Smile,” The Wall Street Journal (March 4, 2020)
© Copyright 2020 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688