Throw a pebble in a pond and ripples roll out. Throw several pebbles in and more ripples roll out and collide and form new patterns. Close a business down and people not associated with the business are affected. The restaurant is closed. Power use age goes down, garbage pick up is cancelled. So folks at the power company and garbage company are laid off.  And so the spiral careens downward.

This pandemic has created a whole new set of challenges. A medical crisis of this proportion is some-thing we’ve not had to contend with in any of our lifetimes. We are creatures of contact; not being able to shake hands or hug family and friends for fear of passing along a virus that would be harmful is scary at best.

Elected leaders are often reactive more than proactive which makes us all question what is best for ourselves, our family, friends, clients and the public in general. Personal financial matters for many has be-come chaotic with layoffs, business suspension and closing of small businesses that operate of small profit margins and cannot survive a month’s closure.

Data is showing up that a predominance of the folks who have applied for forbearance on their mort-gage payments are in the service industry – restaurants, entertainment, retail stores, etc. They may have received 6 or even 12 months forbearance on their mortgage and feel a sense of relief. But what happens when the world starts to return to normal and that normal world doesn’t include their old job because the company they worked for no longer exists?  Those who’ve had to seek forbearance need to know the responsibilities that go with those choices and know it will take time to ‘heal’ even while the economy is rebuilding.

The best practice is to be knowledgeable and consult with the conscientious industry professionals who can provide the best information so the consumer can make informed decisions that suit their specific needs and circumstances. If an uptick in foreclosures happens will you, the real estate agent, be there with the right answers for homeowners? Can they save their home? What attorneys should you direct them to? Should they file a bankruptcy? Do you know who that attorney is?

Agents are not licensed to be lawyers. They need to have names and phone numbers in their database to refer their clients to. And!! They need to know what, if any, will be the legal fee for a consultation so they can inform their potential seller of the cost. Many folks won’t even pick up the phone and call a lawyer because of the cost so know that info ahead of time.

Unfortunately, those of us who survived the recession know that the lenders can, and often will, change the game plan without any notice. So what we know today may not be in practice 6 months from now. Smart real estate agents will take the time to stay in close communication with their favourite lender on a monthly basis. Stay informed. BE that source of help when you are called upon.

Marty Lough, President
Anne Hartman, Vice-President

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