According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, just under four million American homeowners are in forbearance. Meanwhile, negotiations over a new stimulus package have yet to culminate in an agreement. Property owners impacted by the COVID-19 housing crisis are struggling to pay mortgages, and the imminent risk of foreclosure and bankruptcy looms large over the industry. Ironically, the housing market seems resilient.
Last week we took an opportunity to talk with Kris Lindahl, the CEO and Founder of Kris Lindahl Real Estate and a key expert in the Twin Cities real estate market.
Kris Lindahl is one of America's most successful real estate professionals. Known for being an innovative pioneer he's a nationally sought-after speaker, a bestselling author, a popular podcast host, and the leader of the #BeGenerous Movement. Names to the Business Journal 40 Under 40 list, Kris is a phenomenal entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Realty Biz News: So many people in the industry are talking about how a new stimulus package to help homeowners is much needed. Can you share with us your views on the need and the possible negative effects should the stimulus not arrive soon?
Kris Lindahl: The housing market is red hot right now. Historically-low interest rates and a low inventory of homes for sale have helped the housing market remain robust. We have very serious buyers who have more purchasing power competing for the low number of homes on the market. The competition is helping sellers get top dollar in the middle of a pandemic and economic uncertainty. It’s a win for both sides.
Realty Biz News: Do you advise homeowners to refinance in lieu of foreclosure, and if so what is your advice?
Kris Lindahl: Banks are more proactive than ever when it comes to offering solutions for people struggling to make their mortgage payments. I encourage anyone struggling to make that payment to immediately reach out to their mortgage lender. Your lender may offer refinancing or selling your home as one of the many options to help. Refinancing can help lower your monthly payment to something more manageable while selling your home ensures you get a return on your investment and frees you of that mortgage payment. Again, those are just two of many options that your lender may provide to help you.
Realty Biz News: The pandemic has caused a paradigm shift for every sector of the economy. What does the real estate landscape look like post-pandemic for the long term?
Kris Lindahl: I believe this pandemic has changed how people house hunt moving forward. Post-pandemic we are going to see a lot more technology. Traffic on real estate apps is at an all-time high and that is going to continue. 3D tours and virtual stagings are making it easier to house hunt from your couch. You can look at dozens of homes in a short amount of time, hone in on the ones you love and only visit those. It saves so much time and I think we’ll continue to see the benefits.On the commercial side, I think we are going to see a lot more innovation. Some businesses are realizing they may not need such a big footprint and they may downsize that office space. This moment could truly change the way we know working from an office.
Realty Biz News: What other advice can you give homeowners for staying afloat if the stimulus negotiations drag on?
Kris Lindahl: I encourage homeowners to communicate with their mortgage company. Waiting until the last minute to tell your lender about financial problems could leave you with fewer options. If you’ve communicated with your lender and you’ve exhausted all possibilities, reach out to a real estate agent to determine if selling your home may be the best option for you.
While the pandemic and the ensuing economic upheaval are unprecedented and certainly a tragedy, low-interest rates and other factors give the looming dark clouds a kind of silver lining. This is especially true for those who are somehow able to pull things together to buy. Kris also pointed out in our conversation that right now is a great opportunity for first time homebuyers to enter the market. He says current homeowner can also benefit by refinancing with lower interest rates and lower monthly bills.