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COVID-19 and Real Estate Transactions

COVID-19 and Real Estate TransactionsAs the coronavirus spreads, how will it impact New Hampshire’s Real Estate Transactions?

We reached out to many of our most trusted professionals in the field to get their feedback and yet there appears to be only a minimal impact on NH transactions. Though Bank lobbies have been closed across the state, mortgage lenders are still able to meet in person with customers if they so choose and yet there hasn’t been a significant impact on transactions already in process.

One local lender stated a single deal fell through due to the employment of the buyer who had just gotten laid off.  There are also single instances of seller’s not allowing appraisers into their home without full protective gear which was able to be provided and the deal went through to closing.

What about closings? In many instances there could be a significant number of people in attendance (lenders, realtors, buyers and sellers) and according to Roselyn Langianese, President with Summit Title Services, this protocol has yet to be altered; however, they ask that we keep attendance at the closing limited to only those parties that must sign. Roselyn also stated that Summit will not allow for any in-home closings.  They have offices around the state and are doing their best to accommodate and be creative to get the transaction closed in a safe manner. According to Langianese, “COVID-19 … has certainly made for some innovative thinking!  Summit Title has the ability to close remotely however the obstacle for us at the moment is that the NH legislature has not yet adopted RON (remote online notary), which prohibits us from e-signing documents such as the deed and mortgage.  ALTA (American Land Title Association) has sent a proposed bill, which is now in Washington to immediately permit us to perform such online transactions (nationwide).  Summit is a very “tech savvy” company and the processes we have in place now will allow us to turn this feature on immediately to our clients and customers!”

Listings of property for sale has yet to be impacted though many homeowners are spending extra time sanitizing their homes before and after showings, inspections and appraisals. Markets that have been “hot” continue to be so and areas that have slowed have also not seen a change.

In January Grafton County had 140 new residential listings; just 17 units shy of the same period for the previous year. In February new listings remained the same for that period last year, 151. To date in March we’ve seen 121 new listings and in all of March in 2019 there were 179. Perhaps there is a wave yet to come and as with most things, it simply takes longer to impact Northern NH.