Brighter Report: April Jewels, Resources, Real Estate, and Relativity

April 2, 2020

With limited competition, sellers who need to sell will be negotiable.

 

APRIL JEWELS

Old temporal adages seemingly no longer apply
and the whimsy of nursery rhyme reads increasingly inappropriate,
however, in these times,
as we adapt to a new normal,

I thought it's prudent to bring back my "Wikipedia Month" Intro and seasonal "Brighter Bulb" pic. 

An insignificant gesture perhaps,
but one that must manifest itself throughout our new routines,
as we WFH, kids in tow, figuring out how to navigate these uncharted waters,
It will be these minute mementos
that will distract us
from media and memes
long enough
to ground our selves in the present time continuum,
proclaiming that this too shall pass.

As the forest will ultimately reclaim the cities,
may you find the presence of mind to reclaim your time,
your pen, your brush, your guitar,
whatever it was that used to sustain
before your main strain became dedicated to "maintain." 
And since you've gotta stay at home anyway 
maybe make time to re-define "essential" for yourself.
And weave it like a one strand mantra into your new now
and emerge re-energized from your Chrysalis.
....
By no means is this a vacation, with a clear beginning, specific duration and end, but while we do our best to follow mandates and guidelines, it should also be considered a time for reflection.

Maybe more of an extended intermission from our normally scheduled programming where we can check our selves and get caught up on missed callings and messages.

As adults, we may have lost our connection with Puff the Dragon, (no CBD reference_ but perhaps these same passions and experiences can inform our work and personal relationships once the experts get a handle on this pandemic.

For many, real estate may be the last thing on your mind, as a transactional experience, but we all either rent or own, and have to consider how to manage our adult financial obligations whether as renters, mortgagors, landlords, or investors. 

WIth that being said, I will do my best to keep this brief and informative, after that florid intro.
REAL ESTATE ADVICE
BUYERS: 

The bold buyer will win the race. With limited competition, sellers who need to sell will likely be negotiable. Make sure to include a funding contingency in your deal sheet/contract. Message me for more info. A friend reached out last week, so I already have a buyers meditation guide for how to best orient your search, outside of simply gunning for (unlikely) 20% discounts.

SELLERS:

If you need to sell, now is the time to list, believe it or not. The volatility of the stock market is ebbing and flowing in sync with insecure investor confidence. Some will ride the roller coaster, other investors will look to real estate as a safe long term investment. I have charts for ya. MSG ME.

Advances in virtual staging, video tours, and virtual open houses, can limit physical exposure and maximize virtual visibility. If possible, opt for cash buyers, as the gap between the 30 year mortgage rate and the 10 year bond rate have created a risk margin where some banks may choose not to fund at the closing table. #eyeswideopen

 
RENTERS:

Going on Rent Strike may seem like an option, and evictions have been stayed for 3 months, at this time, but after 90 days, you will still owe rent. I'm definitely not telling you what to do here, but if you are unable to pay rent at all, seek assistance with the above listed services. If you are only able to make a partial payment, then let your landlord know. 

Some rent is likely better than no rent, for them, and open communication, albeit humbling, could transform you back from a line item in a balance sheet to a human being. Suggest a number and a term for that number, possibly suggest conversion of security deposit to rent, but make an attempt to realize that your landlord may be up a creek after 90 day mortgage forgiveness expires.

While I am not an attorney or an accountant, I am getting emails from attorneys and accountants, and am happy to share with you on a one to one basis.

I know this should have occupied the lionshare of this newsletter, but many are still in damage assessment mode, and I didn't think it was fair or appropriate to include more pointed guidance, at this time.

Feel free to review my lengthier suggestions in my last Brighter Report.
SHMONEY (SHORT TERM MONEY)

Can't really be an adult without it, and without a nation of employed people buying goods and services (housing included) the economy would implode. 

So for those who find themselves with reduced hours, temporarily furloughed, or regrettably let go, the government has several programs in place to help you level things out in the short term, I would bookmark these links, as they will likely be updated 3 months from now.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

Rental Assistance

Food Assistance

Programs to help pay bills - rent, utilities, medical bills, mortgage, etc. 

RESOURCES AND INFORMATION 
FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Tax: Postponed and Deferred

The Treasury and IRS have automatically delayed the federal tax filing date from April 15 to July 15. Income tax payments are also automatically deferred to July 15, without any penalty or interest, and regardless of the amount owed.

If an individual tax filing needs to be extended past July 15, they can do so by submitting Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software, or the IRS.gov website. Businesses will submit Form 7004 to extend the new deadline.

Unemployment Assistance: State and Federal

NYS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the federal government to provide unemployment assistance to New York’s gig-economy workers, many of whom remain ineligible for those benefits at the state level.

FED: The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a Presidentially declared major disaster.

Eligibility Checker

Disaster Loan Applications

NYC Coronavirus Information

Information on the US Relief Bill due to the Coronavirus

TIPS FOR SAVINGS AND SANITY

CRISIS FINANCIAL PLANNING-6 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW.

  1. Prioritize bills – Whether your job has been affected or not, look at all your bills and identify which ones are critical and those that you may not need to pay immediately. Do check in with service providers as some may be offering assistance or an option to temporarily skip payments. For example, NY State’s major electric and gas utilities have agreed to not cut power or heat from customers unable to pay their bills during the virus pandemic. 
     
  2. Reduce spending– You should start reducing nonessential and discretionary spending in the event things get worse. These expenses can include entertainment, certain food items, and luxuries. Those savings should be stuffed away in a savings account as an emergency fund in the event you lose income in the next few weeks or months.
     
  3. Reach out to credit cards – If you’re already losing income and having difficulty paying your debts, reach out to your credit cards providers immediately. Generally, credit card providers offer hardship programs, and some will even provide a small period for nonpayment. Many have now issued statements regarding their willingness to work with card holders who are facing financial strain due to the coronavirus. Check out this live page on assistance banks are providing: For those who do not have a credit card, you may want to consider opening one up for additional flexibility. Please consult with a financial counselor to ensure this makes sense for your financial circumstance.
     
  4. Change how you pay student loans – Federal student loans come with several already-existing options. There are two ways you can temporary suspend your payments: deferment and forbearance. With deferment, you may be able to avoid interest accrual, while with forbearance you won’t, which means your debt will grow. A best practice during forbearance is to pay down the interest portion so that the debt will not grow.

However, just days ago, the Department of Education has announced that it will waive interest accrual for deferments and forbearances for the foreseeable future. This will be very helpful for those who have no other option but to suspend their payments temporarily. Details are still being finalized.

There is another option though. Federal student loan borrowers can consider transitioning over to an income-driven repayment plan, which will lower the payment to a certain percentage of their income. Suspending or adjust your payments can be done by reaching out to your student loan servicer.

Private student loan borrowers do not have access to the same programs provided by the Department of Education, but can still reach out to their servicers to determine if there are any hardship programs being offered.

  1. Remove auto debit payments– If you think you will experience a cash crunch, you should consider removing auto debit payments for your bills and other utilities. This way you can provide yourself with more flexibility to prioritize expenditures.
     
  2. Lookout for price gouging and scams related to the Coronavirus. It is illegal for businesses to take unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are “vital to the health, safety, or welfare of consumers”. If you see any price gouging, you should file a complaint. Services that offer products that can “cure” the virus should be avoided. You can find more information here.

10 tips to quickly lower expenses and save a little more each day:

  1. Refinance and reduce your mortgage payment.
  2. Reduce credit card interest, call and request a rate deduction.
  3. You are likely overpaying for home insurance. Shop and compare rates here.
  4. Cancel all subscriptions to apps, magazines, and other services you don’t use.
  5. Shop for coupons and discounts. 
  6. Consolidate your loans to a low-cost credit card.
  7. Shop online. Most retailers are offering great discounts right now.
  8. Eliminate monthly cable bills. Use Netflix, Hulu, or other tv streaming options.
  9. Cancel your gym membership...Get outside and take in some fresh air. (responsibly)
  10. Re-evaluate your cell phone plan and request a reduced rate.

HARVARD PROFESSOR VIA GOOD MORNING AMERICA

“Meditation and mindfulness can be valuable allies in times like this,” wrote Dr. Jay Michaelson, editor of wisdom content for "Ten Percent Happier." “Of course, they don’t keep you free from disease. But they can help you be free-er from panic, more able to protect yourself, and more in touch with your own inner wisdom and resilience.”
 
 
In times like these, we need practical, actionable ways of coping with stress, fear, and anxiety. The meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks on this page will help you build resilience and find some calm amidst the chaos. We’re adding more resources as they're created - so keep checking back.

How Mindfulness Can Help You Navigate the Coronavirus Panic

Your mindfulness practice can help you mitigate not only the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, but can even help you quit touching your face all day.
BRIGHTER UPDATE

My wife is WFH. Day Care is Closed. Mornings are my shift.
Afternoons I have trainings and conferences via Zoom.

The main takeaway from our trainings is that while it may not be business as usual, Shift Happens, and it is our job as professionals to reach out to our network in service, in addition to doing all the annoying back office stuff that is hard to do when you are chasing deals.

While the product is geared towards Real Estate agents there may be suitable applications for various professions.

I haven't yet subscribed to audible, but that is another thing this Quarantine time might enable.




Since my last Newsletter, I have closed two transactions that were initiated prior to the arrival of COVID-19

1. Apartment rental in Bed Stuy, a referral who basically just got in before the doors shut. 

We saw one property prior to "quarantine edict," after having exchanged many emails. That one property ended up being the one, and the others-- one tenant decided not to move, others were showing by video tour only, or had been snatched up before the curtain came down on "non-essential" showings. fyi any brokers receiving this, there may be fines from 1-10k for brokers found showing during these times (unofficial, highly suggested quarantine).

2. Retail space in Bed Stuy for the Laundromat Project.

"The Laundromat Project advances artists and neighbors as change agents in their own communities. We envision a world in which artists and neighbors in communities of color work together to unleash the power of creativity to transform lives."

This is my second community/wellness lease in Bed Stuy, and I am happy, proud, and satisfied to have helped find them a long term home that will establish them as a fixture in the community. 

*** Shout out to HealHaus! Please check out their website as they have streaming yoga and guided meditation offerings while their doors are closed for the pandemic. Writing this, I realized I hadn't reached out, as I navigate my new norm.

Literally just sent a text, and will pass along any info to them as small business owners.

Checking their IG, I see that they are adapting to the new environment and continuing to provide wellness to possibly a wider community than possible through brick and mortar. May the shift serve you abundantly!
PARTING WORDS

Yeah well, if you know me at all, you know i'm not good at being brief. Hopefully you found this informative...

The following is still apropos, so leaving it as a repeat from last BN.


Some paraphrased notes from Gary Keller's podcast. 
Some information while directed at RE agents will resonate for all.

1. If you are self employed, trim the fat, limit non-essential expenses as much as possible, we have experienced a monumental shift and things will likely not return to normal. Better to invest in core activities and necessities than squander surplus on speculation.

2. While business activity and social activity may be lower than normal, this does not mean you stop working.

Continue to provide value to those who desire your services, innovate and evolve, those competitors who do not will likely not be your competition when the market stabilizes.

3. Be Kind. To each other, to yourselves. Donate your excess to those in need. Things that you may have been holding on to for too long may be unattainable necessities for those who can't work from home and are financially strapped. 

The sharing economy needs to step in while the traditional economy recalibrates. 

If you are able to give to those in need, pls remember the elderly, homeless, and hungry, whether that is in the form of a dollar, canned goods, functioning electronics, or clothes in good repair.

Until next check-in 
LIVE BRIGHTER!

 
How can I help you?
Buyers: 150k-15M. 
Sellers: 500k-5M. 
Renters: 1800-18k per month.  

Areas Served. 
All Manhattan.
All Brooklyn: accessible by train, 1 fare zones.
Queens: LIC/Astoria, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights
Bronx: accessible by train, 1 fare zones.

Property Types:
Rentals: Doorman, Walkup, Elevator, Loft, Townhouse
Sales: Condo, Coop, Condop, Townhouse/Brownstone
Commercial: Office Leasing, Retail Leasing, Investment Sales

Copyright © 2016-2019
Brighter Real Estate Group
All rights reserved.


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