You are here

REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley Coronavirus Update

April 16, 2020
Important SBA Loan Updates

As of this afternoon, the SBA has stopped accepting new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program & Economic Injury Disaster Loans due to a lapse in funding. Please know that Congressional leaders are presently in negotiations to appropriate additional funding to the tune of $250 billion, after which, the programs should begin accepting applications again. It is unclear when the legislative logjam will break.

On Monday, NAR sent a letter strongly urging Congress to provide additional funding for the PPP and EIDL programs in future COVID-19 response legislation, ensuring the need for these loans is met as this crisis continues. In addition, Congress should clarify implementation to resolve issues with added limits and requirements that are not in accord with legislative intent.

For more details, please visit nar.realtor

Click Here for NAR’s Updated SBA Loan FAQ

April 16, 2020
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Testing Addendum Reminder

On March 20, 2020, Governor Baker issued an emergency order that permits home buyers and sellers to defer the smoke and carbon monoxide detector inspection requirements that are otherwise required under the General Laws of Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® has developed an addendum that addresses the requirements of the emergency order. Please be sure to speak with your clients about this change and the local fire department for their latest procedures and practices.

Download the MAR Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Inspection Addendum below.

Smoke & CO Detector Inspection Addendum

April 16, 2020
Homebuyer FAQ

Below you will find a link to a homebuyer FAQ, which we hope will be useful when speaking members of the public. This FAQ also includes important information from the National Association of Realtors® regarding home loans.

Homebuyer FAQ

April 14, 2020
NAR Quick Reference Guide: Health Insurance Coverage During The COVID-19 National Emergency

To download the PDF file, click here

April 6, 2020
COVID-19 Housing Bill Update

The Legislature is currently working towards passage of a housing bill to provide some relief and protection to residents from the impacts of COVID-19 by prohibiting foreclosures and evictions for a limited time in Massachusetts. The House (H.4615) and Senate (S.2621) are both working on their own bills with several similarities and key differences.

For a full list of key similarities and differences click here.

For more details, please visit the MAR COVID-19 web site.

April 3, 2020
Your Financial Health Matters!

Below are many of the essential tools you need to protect and support your business during COVID-19.

To download the PDF file, click here.

April 3, 2020
NAR Offers Members TeleHealthSM to Realtors® at No Cost in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

The National Association of Realtors® announced Wednesday that it will be expanding access to Members TeleHealthSM at no cost to its members for those who register before April 15. The program comes as part of NAR’s larger "Right Tools, Right Now" initiative – relaunched on March 27 – which is making numerous valuable resources available to the association’s 1.4 million members at reduced or no cost.

For more details, please visit nar.realtor/newsroom/nar-offers-members-telehealthsm-to-realtors-at-no-cost-in-response-to-covid-19-crisis

April 2, 2020
HUD Issues New Cares Act Mortgage Payment Relief for FHA Single Family Homeowners

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a tailored set of mortgage payment relief options for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 National Emergency. Also included is an extension period for seniors with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

To assist homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages in understanding these options, FHA has also published a Q&A for consumers.
For more details, please visit hud.gov

April 2, 2020
Coronavirus Advocacy FAQs: RE Transactions, Independent Contractors, NAR Grants

NAR’s Federal Advocacy team has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19, in addition to minimizing transaction disruptions during these very difficult circumstances.

Coronavirus Advocacy FAQs
For further details, please visit nar.realtor

April 2, 2020
S.M.A.R.T – Safe Measures All Realtors® Trust

We echo MAR’s recommendations on best practices for our members.
It is critical that all Realtors® are complying with Governor Baker’s instructions and acting in accordance with the strict public safety guidelines that the Baker administration laid out. Realtors® should be complying with the advisory to stay home and work remotely.

Click here to view SMART guidance for servicing your clients

April 1, 2020
Governor Baker’s Update on Real Estate 

On March 31, Governor Baker made two important announcements concerning real estate: Real Estate as an Essential Business & Short-Term Rentals.

For further details and guidance from the MAR, please visit www.marcovid19.com

March 30, 2020
CARES Act: Unemployment Benefits Update

As you may know, the CARES Act signed into law last Friday deems independent contractors eligible for unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks (26 base, with 13 additional if needed), and can be increased by $600/per week up to four months, through the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Please understand that the Department of Labor needs to first issue additional guidance on how this program will be implemented. Once that occurs, DOL will enter into agreements with each willing state to provide these benefits and will reimburse states for 100% of the costs.

As such, the assistance will be federally provided and administered by state unemployment departments or agencies. The amount of pandemic unemployment assistance provided to individuals will vary state-by-state. 

NAR hopes to provide more information on how to access these benefits once the DOL releases additional guidance and as states begin to interpret and implement this program. Please note that this process could take several weeks.

CARES Act: SBA Loan Resources

As you may also know, the CARES Act includes over $350 billion dollars in small business relief (500 employees or less including independent contractors) through two main loan vehicles:

- SBA 7(b)(2) loans – Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL) – Grants available within 3 business days for immediate relief up to $10K

- SBA 7(a) loans – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Forgivable loans available at 250% of an employers average monthly payroll up to $10M

More details on both programs available in NAR’s CARES Act Summary

Flow chart from the Committee on Small Business

March 27, 2020
Congress Clears Coronavirus Rescue Bill Filled with REALTOR® Benefits

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a historic $2.2 trillion COVID-19 rescue package Friday, sending it to President Trump for his signature.

The bill contains numerous benefits for REALTORS® that NAR fought hard for during the past three weeks, including unemployment eligibility for the self-employed and independent contractors; unprecedented aid for small businesses; and a delay in business payroll tax payments.

NAR has compiled a comprehensive guide to all benefits for REALTORS® and their customers found in this legislation

“This bill will go a long way to help people through these next weeks until the economy can open up again,” said Shannon McGahn, senior vice president of government affairs for NAR. “This is the third and largest rescue package to-date, and we are already working with Congressional leaders on round four.”

“The real estate industry supports nearly 10 million jobs in the United States and makes up 17% of our economy,” McGahn continued. “Congress understands that a strong housing market will lead the economic recovery.”

Review details of the relief package.

Please find the link below to learn more about what this means for Realtors® and small business:
https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/…/3613.pdf

March 27, 2020
Massachusetts officials announced Friday morning that the 2019 state income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

For more details: MA Tax Deadline Extended to Line Up With Federal Deadline

March 27, 2020
Executive Order on Individual License Registration

On March 18, 2020 Governor Baker issued an order extending the registration of certain licensed trades and professions.
Get the details at mass.gov/doc/eo-on-license-registration-extension-dpl-opsi/download

March 26, 2020
Putting Members First With the Right Tools, Right Now

In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, and its impact on the real estate industry, NAR is taking steps to support members through these uncertain times. 
nar.realtor/right-tools-right-now

March 26, 2020
Do you have questions about holding open houses? Follow the link below for the latest update from the NAR Legal Department.
Open House Guidance During COVID-19

March 26, 2020
Guidance from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors

MAR is committed to assisting Realtors® with information to safely practice real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Realtors® play a critical role in assuring shelter during this state of emergency. Realtors® are also actively engaged in keeping existing transactions going and providing critical help to homebuyers that may be caught in limbo with limited options.

Click here to access the guidance from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors

March 25, 2020
A message from the CEO regarding COVID-19

 

March 25, 2020
New: Transaction Guidance Released for REALTORS®

This is general guidance ONLY. Members should consult their brokers, legal counsel, and government-provided public health information. In addition, members should check with their MLS for any changes to open house and showing fields, or other temporary rules in place due to local conditions.

In deciding how to address new day-to-day issues while conducting business, we urge members to find answers that will ensure first-class services to your clients, while also demonstrating care for the health and well-being of clients, agents, and the greater public welfare in reducing the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19.

Click Here for Access to Transaction Guidance for REALTORS® During COVID-19

General Guidance® for REALTORS® During COVID-19 has been updated here.

Open House Guidance for REALTORS® During COVID-19 remains available here.

March 25, 2020
New: Department of Labor Posts FAQ on Paid Leave from Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of guidance to provide information on the leave included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). If you recall, the FFCRA imposes new family sick leave requirements on certain employers for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members, with tax credits to reimburse small businesses and self-employed to cover the leave.

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – tries to address questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses may begin to obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

This guidance is not all-inclusive of every question or situation and is only the first round of resources to be provided. As more questions arise, DOL is soliciting feedback to address in future compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools. Input is being collected until March 29, 2020, online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com.

CARES Act (Phase 3 Economic Stimulus Package) Update

Although it’s been reported that a bipartisan deal was reached on the $2 trillion package early this morning in the Senate, negotiations over the final bill text and details are still ongoing this afternoon. That said, the Senate is expected to vote on the final package at some point today. Speaker Pelosi said yesterday the House could approve a Senate-passed bill by unanimous consent – a procedure that would allow the chamber to pass the bill without calling members back to Washington, provided no lawmakers object. It remains unclear whether any objections will arise. In the meatime, Axios has released a good summary of what the bill will broadly include, though I should caution that details and provisions could still shift in the final version, especially if there are objections from the House.

NAR’s policy and lobby teams are analyzing the draft verions of the bill and will release a summary that will give an overview of the legislation’s impact on/benefits for REALTORS® and small businesses, as soon as the bill is finalized. Stay tuned

March 25, 2020
What is NAR doing for REALTORS®/Self-employed/small businesses.

NAR’s Federal Advocacy team has been working nonstop with policy makers in Washington – with Congress and the Administration - to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19. We’ve focused specifically on advocating for self-employed and small business relief in every emergency response package and will continue to do so as more proposals are considered. Below are some of the most recent actions we’ve been working on to date.  For specific questions, please also check out a new FAQ resource we’ve developed on common questions related to these advocacy efforts.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) created emergency paid sick and family leave for workers affected by COVID-19, including self-employed. Specifically, the legislation expanded Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) and created a new federal paid sick leave program for those impacted by COVID-19 (read more here). The legislation created 100 percent refundable tax credits designed to provide an offset for small businesses and independent contractors to cover the cost of new paid sick and family medical leave benefits. 

In addition, businesses can apply for SBA “Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” for up to $2 million to cover costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Please stay tuned to https://www.nar.realtor/political-advocacy/nars-advocacy-work-towards-covid-19-relief for the latest.

March 20, 2020
Dear Government Affairs Directors,

Below is an important update from Shannon McGahn, NAR Senior Vice President, Government Affairs. Please share this information with your members.

  • We are continuing to work with Congressional leaders on behalf of the self-employed and small business during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

  • In a letter submitted today, NAR urged House and Senate Leadership to ease the burdens for independent contractors in the developing stimulus bill.  

  • In the letter, NAR urges lawmakers "to recognize the millions of self-employed workers of America that lack the benefits and financial aid offered to traditional W-2 employees."

  • This latest communication includes more specific policy requests, and our belief is that additional protections for a broad swath of American workers and families will be implemented.

  • We sent a similar letter two weeks ago urging relief measures for the self-employed and small business, which were included in the bill President Trump signed into law this week.  

  • As we await the fallout of this crisis on employment, we cannot let our leaders in Washington forget that every two home sales in the U.S. generate one job.

  • NAR will continue fighting for relief for small businesses, employers and the self-employed workforce, which are the backbone of our economy. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

March 20, 2020
As a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker has issued an executive order allowing smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm certificate inspections as required under Sections 26F and 26F½ of Chapter 148 of the General Laws to be deferred so long as:

  1. The Parties to the sale or transfer have agreed in writing that the buyer assumes responsibility for equipping the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

  2. The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms immediately upon taking title.

  3. An inspection as otherwise required under sections 26F and 26F½ occurs no more than 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® legal staff has drafted language that you may use to satisfy the conditions of this executive order.

Click here to view Governor Baker's Executive Order

 
 
March 20, 2020
U.S. tax filing deadline moved from April 15 to July 15.
 

March 19, 2020
Due to growing concerns related to the Corona Virus, the Realtor® Association of Pioneer building will be closed. Our Administrative Team will be working remotely. We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and will notify all when the Association building is able to reopen.  Have no fear we are still open for business.  The Administrative Team will be available via email Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

Brendan Bailey, CEO: Brendan@rapv.com
Laura Herring, Director of Operations: Laura@rapv.com
Erin Percoski, Controller: Erin@rapv.com
Kim Santos, Membership & Events Coordinator: Kim@rapv.com
Ayca Yavuz, Communications & Marketing Director: Ayca@rapv.com

It was a very difficult decision to close our doors, but it is the right decision to ensure the safety of our Administrative Team as well as our membership. Thank you to all for your flexibility and patience as we all work our way through an unprecedented time.  

We look forward to seeing you all again soon!