From Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin | Guertin Family Realty | (952) 442-1300 |

We hope you're doing well during these unusual times. A lot of people have asked how real estate is being affected, so here's a quick state of the market update, along with helpful tips for anyone looking into a mortgage forbearance. (There's some confusing information out there!)

Please review our new Google Business Page! Download our Homesnap app to access the same info used by real estate agents. 
Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin
(952) 451-4989 Dennis
(952) 451-5217 Jane

What's Happening in Real Estate?

Real Estate Carries On, With Some Restrictions

The Department of Homeland Security has deemed residential real estate to be an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic. State and local jurisdictions can overrule this, but most states with shelter-in-place orders have followed that guideline so far.

Mortgage professionals, title and escrow companies, appraisers, and inspectors are also still in business. This means the real estate market can in many ways continue to operate normally, as long as real estate agents abide by strict social distancing guidelines and other recommendations designed to keep their clients and associates safe.

Sales Still Happening, Inventory and Rates Still Low

It's too soon to know how the health crisis will affect the real estate market over the long term, but at this time it appears that low interest rates and lack of inventory are still driving homes sales.

That being said, it's pretty realistic to expect the housing market to become a more buyer-friendly environment over the course of the spring and summer.

Top Mortgage Forbearance Tips

The recently passed CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act provides mortgage forbearance options to property owners who have federally owned or insured mortgages.

Many private lenders are now coming up with their own versions of forbearance programs, with varying terms. (Yes, it can be hard to keep track!) Here are some tips to help clarify things.


1. Forbearance or deferment - what's the difference?

The two terms are being used interchangeably. They both refer to being allowed to stop making mortgage payments for a predetermined amount of time.

2. Find out if the loan is owned by the government or by a bank.

The rules are different for loans owned or insured by the federal government. These need to comply with the CARES Act. (Sometimes a private bank is the loan servicer for a federally-backed mortgage, which can make things confusing.)

Be careful: Some forbearance agreements require the entire sum of missed payments to be paid in full at the end of the forbearance period - even for government-owned loans that fall under the CARES Act provisions.

3. Use these lookup tools if you're unsure.

Fannie Mae Lookup Tool

Freddie Mac Lookup Tool

Any Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, FHA, VA, HUD, or USDA loan falls under the CARES Act. Another option is to call or write to the loan servicer, who must disclose the information.

Tip: Remember that a loan may be federally owned or insured even if the servicer is a mainstream bank.

3. If the loan is owned by a bank, ask about forbearance options.

Terms vary widely among private lenders, and it's very important to be clear on the repayment guidelines. (Please see the 'Five questions to ask' section below.)

4. What to expect for federally backed mortgages:

  • There is a moratorium on foreclosures until May 18, 2020.
  • Homeowners can request to defer payments for up to 6 months, with the option to request an additional 6 months after that.
  • During that time their credit score will not be negatively affected, as long as they were current on payments when they started the forbearance agreement.
  • Interest continues to accrue and the missed payments are postponed, not forgiven.
  • Repayment terms are not predetermined in the CARES Act, so be sure to get a clear explanation in writing.

Five questions to ask, no matter who owns the mortgage:


1) Can I see the agreement in writing?

2) What are the repayment terms? (Find out in advance if the entire sum will be due at the end of the forbearance period.)

3) Will the missed payments affect my credit? (For federally backed loans the answer should be 'no'.)

4) Will interest continue to accrue during the forbearance period? (The answer is probably 'yes'.)

5) Will my account incur penalties or late fees? (For federally backed loans the answer should be 'no'.)

Here's a handy Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac COVID-19 FAQ Sheet. (1-page PDF.)

What the lawyers make us say: The information here is not presented as expert legal or financial advice. Please use your best judgment and consult professionals when necessary.
Recent Market Highlights

- U.S. home prices rose 3.9 percent year-to-year in January, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is in the mid to high 3-percent range.

The February Pending Home Sales Index increased 9.4 percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
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Links that Make Life Easier

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

CARES Act Information for Renters and Homeowners
This is an extremely helpful official guide that explains important details. Yes, it's written in the tiniest font known to man, but it's still worth reading. :)

TinyPng Image Compression Tool
A free online tool that lets you easily reduce the size of photos in both JPG and PNG format.

Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles Recipe
A quick and tasty dish that's a great way to use up vegetables. The recipe calls for tofu, but chicken or beef would work well too. 

The Lighter Side


(Screenshot courtesy of Sherrie Neely and

When social distancing forced 6-year-old Kira to stop visiting her grandfather at his house across the street, the pair came up with the only logical alternative... a daily dance-off that turns out some pretty impressive moves! :)

Click here or on the image above to watch the video on the family-friendly Sunny Skyz website.

Your Resource for Real Estate
Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the next year, or could you use some remodeling advice? Even if you just need the name of a good service provider, please remember that we're always here to help you. We welcome the opportunity to serve you, your friends and associates with our expertise and recommendations.

Please give us a call today at (952) 442-1300 if we can be of assistance!
Have a great day,

Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin
Broker/Owner, REALTOR®, SFR, CBR, e-PRO, GRI, BA
Guertin Family Realty
Dennis:  (952) 451-4989
Jane: (952) 451-5217

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Guertin Family Realty | 71 Point Drive | Waconia | MN | 55387