How COVID-19 is Changing the NC Real Estate Industry

Two adult men sitting on a couch looking at a computer.

Real estate is constantly changing and adapting to keep up with 2020. It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a massive impact on, well, everything but no industry has adapted to meet the “new normal” quite like real estate. North Carolina real estate is keeping up with COVID-19 in new and surprising ways—leading to a more seamless real estate transaction experience for practically every party involved.

Here’s an overview of exactly how North Carolina real estate has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Technology Streamlines the Process

In the past, real estate transactions required in-person meetings and negotiations. As social distancing became necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, the real estate industry quickly adapted by implementing a powerful suite of technologies to help distance the transaction process.

Now, much of the transaction can take place virtually. Many real estate agents, title insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and other players in the industry have made significant changes to their operations. For example, many home tours can now take place virtually, much of the closing paperwork has been transferred to online forms, and even applying for a mortgage has largely moved online.

A Push for More Efficient Communication

Prior to COVID-19, the title insurance process happened largely in the background of the overall real estate transaction. Now, however, title insurance agencies are playing an integral role in the closing process. Our team is going above and beyond to provide all of our customers with an exemplary title insurance experience—even if it can’t be in person.

In fact, our new emphasis on technology has allowed us to stay in touch with our clients, communicate more efficiently, and be there for them every step of the process in new and more efficient ways.

A Superior Closing Experience

Title insurance companies like Tryon Title have worked hard this year to create a closing process that is efficient and virtual. Many of the real estate industry’s key players have made the closing process as contact-free as possible to ensure the safety of all involved parties.

One great software that we’ve had a lot of success with is the eClosing process:

eClosing Gets the Job Done Faster

Once upon a time, eClosing was a convenient software that made it easier to complete the real estate transaction when distance was an issue. Now, however, it’s an essential part of closing on a real estate transaction.

eClosing benefits borrowers and lenders as they work to close transactions on behalf of the buyers and sellers they represent. Some of those specific benefits include:

  • Allows involved parties to sign paperwork digitally—eliminating the need for in-person appointments
  • Home-buyers can preview their closing documents in advance from wherever they are
  • Reduces the process from hours to minutes
  • Simplifies the closing process for all involved parties as the paperwork is compiled and executed online
  • Drastically reduces errors that result from closing deadlines and other logistical issues

Title Insurance Adapts to Meet Consumer Needs

Title insurance is still an essential part of the real estate transaction—it’s just easier to navigate now that agents are working to transfer the process online. Purchasing title insurance for a real estate property does not require lengthy in-person meetings, physical handshakes, or any other formalities.

With the process moving online, it allows for a convenient experience for all involved parties. Real estate agents and their clients, mortgage lenders, paralegals, and other professionals can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of safe and smart ways to continue purchasing and selling real estate.

Apply for Title Insurance Today

Looking for a title insurance policy on behalf of your clients? Our team of underwriters has years of experience assisting real estate agents and home buyers with title insurance throughout North Carolina.

Get in touch with our team today to find out more.

Millennials & Coronavirus: How Real Estate is Changing in 2020

Two parents sitting on the ground with their young daughter, surrounded by moving boxes.

Millennials are poised to become the largest percentage of home buyers in 2020… and the coronavirus pandemic might be a contributing factor. Although the U.S. economy took a big hit in 2020 and is currently in the middle of a recession, the housing market and real estate industry are quickly shifting and evolving. As a result, more millennials are buying homes right now than any other generation.

Mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low right now, so millennials are scooping up homes with a 30-year mortgage for less than in previous years. But why is now such a big time for new millennial homebuyers? In short, it’s all about the extra space. As a result of stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, more Americans are spending time at home this year. That’s why more first-time homebuyers are finally taking the plunge and going after their dream home in the suburbs.

How exactly is the real estate industry changing in 2020? Let’s dig in.

How is Coronavirus Affecting Real Estate?

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most surprising changes to the real estate industry was the sudden decrease in mortgage interest rates. While they have certainly fluctuated since then, they currently remain at some of the lowest ranges we’ve ever seen.

In June 2019, the average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage was 4.39%. Today? They rest at 3.36%, down from 3.42% in May of 2020.

Here’s Where Millennials Come In

Low interest rates such as these present an amazing opportunity for millennials, who are aging into their most active spending years. In fact, according to Joe Tyrell, chief operating officer at Ellie Mae, “Per U.S. Census data, there will be over 4 million millennials reaching the age of 29 to 30, each year for the next several years.”

In addition to reaching their peak buying age, millennials are extremely motivated to buy homes as a result of quarantining and social distancing due to the pandemic. It’s safe to say that no one enjoys quarantining by themselves in a 500 square foot apartment. The appeal of sprawling big cities is waning as more and more Americans are flocking to more suburban areas.

Unlike tiny apartments and condominiums, houses in less densely populated areas have ample space to spread out, try new hobbies, bring home new pets, and a myriad of other activities that make quarantining or social distancing more enjoyable.

Millennials are ready to buy and the covid-19 pandemic is creating conditions in the economy and the housing market that we’ve never seen before. When combined, we start to see huge changes in the housing market.

What Changes are Happening to the Housing Market?

So, millennials are hitting their peak home buying years in the middle of a recession and a global pandemic. In spite of those conditions, they’re still buying homes at unexpected rates which is having a ripple effect throughout the United States Housing Market.

Steady Demand, Decreased Inventory

With so many millennials actively buying homes right now, and production challenges as a result of government shutdowns, inventory is currently not meeting demand. According to George Ratiu, Senior Economist at Realtor.com, the current market is underbuilt by 4 million homes.

This has led to fierce competition among homebuyers—something that’s dampening spirits and leading to a decrease in home prices. Ratiu predicts that total existing home sales will decrease by 1.8% in 2020.

Some good news about the economy: while we are in a recession, the housing market remains strong. In the past, that’s often signaled that the rest of the economy will recover along with it.

Do I Really Need a Title Insurance Policy?

Yes.

New homebuyers have to plan properly for their purchase, and that includes doing due diligence and proper research before they sign their closing documents. One key way to pull off a successful home purchase is by protecting your investment with a thorough title insurance policy.

Buying a home is a huge investment, one that’s certainly worth protecting. Title insurance will ensure that every millennials’ new home purchase is a successful one. Have any questions about title insurance? Looking for a North Carolina title insurance agency to help you find the best policy for your purchase? Don’t hesitate to contact our team at Tryon Title today.

Do You Really Need Commercial Title Insurance in North Carolina?

A man signing a piece of paper on a wooden desk.

As with any other investment, purchasing commercial real estate carries a certain number of risks. If you’re a highly experienced investor, you probably already know what to look out for when planning a new commercial property purchase. If you’re a new investor, you might need to do extra research before purchasing a new commercial property. Whether you’re a longtime real estate investor or just getting your feet wet, one surefire way to invest smartly is by ensuring you are properly protected.

Here are some questions you should be asking your real estate agent as you begin planning your next commercial property purchase.

How Would an Issue Arise with My Property’s Title?

A good title will make or break your commercial property. When you purchase a piece of commercial real estate, you’re likely investing a huge sum of money into a worthwhile financial investment. But what if it’s not worthwhile? 

Commercial title insurance will protect you in the event that there’s a problem with your property’s title. Those issues might include negligence, faulty recordings or paperwork, or even fraud.

How Does Title Insurance Work?

Unlike many other types of insurance, where you pay both a premium and a monthly fee, for title insurance you pay one lump sum premium based on the purchase price of your property. This policy protects you in case any issues arise with your title.

Oftentimes, when issues arise with your title, they are often extremely costly—and at times impossible—to resolve. That’s why it’s so important to get title insurance.

Here’s how it works: when you are beginning the transaction to purchase a piece of commercial real estate, you’ll work with your agent to obtain a title insurance policy from a local title insurance company. That company will work with a title agency to perform a title search. They will thoroughly investigate the history of the property’s title to ensure it is clean. If any issues arise with the title, it may signal that this is not a worthwhile investment. You can also work with the seller to resolve these issues before you buy.

How Do Real Estate Titles Differ From Other Types of Property?

A real estate title is much more complex than, say, the title for a car or a boat. The title to a real estate property is not determined by a single piece of paper. Real estate titles depend on an existing chain of different documents related to that title.

Finding out who owns a specific piece of property can be challenging, especially when it’s gone through many different owners. Taking out a title insurance policy includes researching its history, which lets you know if there are any issues you’d rather avoid with a particular property.

What Should I Keep in Mind While Shopping for Title Insurance?

When it comes to title insurance, it pays to do your research. While you certainly don’t need to hire an attorney to purchase title insurance, you should be aware that your agent and the title insurance company are not able to provide you with legal advice as you shop for a title insurance policy.

Typically, there are two kinds of title insurance: an owner’s policy and a lender’s policy. The owner’s policy protects the owner for the entire amount of time they have interest in the property. The lender’s policy protects the lender for the amount of time that the property is being paid off.

When it comes to taking out an owner’s title insurance policy, you should be sure that it includes the following:

  • Extended coverage
  • Taxes
  • Loss determination
  • Survey issues
  • Special/project use
  • Unusual loan documentation issues

For a full list, please contact us at Tryon Title Insurance to discuss your specific title insurance needs.

What Makes a Title Clean?

Generally, a real estate title is considered clean if it is free of fraudulent errors and does not have any existing liens or claims. Additionally, there should not be any confusion over ownership—as this can make purchasing the property very challenging.

Shopping around for commercial title insurance in North Carolina? Contact our team at Tryon Title a call. We have years of experience helping commercial real estate investors in North Carolina and we have everything you need for a successful commercial transaction.