CCIM Institute is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, as well as prepare for contingencies to prioritize the health and safety of our members, course participants, instructors, and staff.
CCIM Institute prepared the following resource page for commercial real estate professionals to provide additional professional guidance around this issue. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Impact of Coronavirus on the Industry
In this special episode of the Commercial Investment Real Estate podcast series, CCIM Institute Chief Economist K.C. Conway discusses the pandemic, how CRE practitioners can weather the storm, and how to future-proof new investments. For an edited excerpt of this episode, read the Commercial Investment Real Estate magazine online exclusive article.
The SBA is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). For details and to apply, visit SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Assistance page.
IRS AND TREASURY DEPARTMENT
IRS Tax Payment Extension: A three-month extension has been made for tax payments. Individuals will be able to defer up to $1 million without interest or penalties, and corporations can defer up to $10 million.
Commercial Paper Funding Facility: The Federal Reserve Board recently announced that it will establish a Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.
Two coronavirus emergency legislative packages have been enacted and a third is currently being negotiated:
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Signed into law March 18, this $183 billion-plus package expands Medicaid and unemployment benefits, provides free coronavirus testing, and mandates paid sick leave and childcare leave for certain employees. Learn more on how the act affects real estate professionals.
Third Economic Stimulus Package: This massive $1 trillion-plus economic bailout package is currently being negotiated and expected to address the immediate cash flow issues for small business. The package is expected to include provisions for loans to other impacted sectors of the economy, individual payments to all adults, and a dramatic increase in small business loans to cover payroll and other business interruption needs.
CCIM has joined NAR and other industry organizations on multiple letters addressing issues we would like to see addressed either legislatively or through administrative action:
Main Street Response to COVID-19: CCIM Institute, along with NAR, IREM, and RLI, joined more than 70 associations to call on policymakers to enact legislation and regulations that will help secure the short- and long-term vitality of the U.S. economy during this unprecedented disruption. The letter requests immediate relief by:
providing immediate and readily accessible unsecured credit to businesses of all sizes;
suspending the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic; and
amending the Tax Code to assist with losses.
Extension on 1031 Exchanges: Sent to both the Treasury Department and IRS, the letter encourages relief on the 180-day deadline and the 45-day period for identifying possible properties as exchange candidates.
Rental Assistance and Mortgage Forbearance: A coalition of national organizations, including CCIM Institute, sent a letter to congressional leaders to provide an emergency rental assistance fund, to urge the use of caution when issuing blanket moratoriums on evictions, and to allow for mortgage forbearance for rental property owners.
Check out NAR’s comprehensive list of its advocacy work toward COVID-19 relief.
Fellow National Association of REALTORS® affiliate IREM and the National Apartment Association recently hosted the webinar above to prepare property managers for COVID-19. Access additional IREM resources.
Guidance for Commercial Real Estate Brokers and Advisers
What unique issues does coronavirus present to the commercial real estate industry?
When an infectious disease, such as coronavirus, is associated with a specific population or nationality, fear and anxiety may lead to social stigma and potential discrimination. Be mindful of potential discrimination when working with clients and colleagues. Plus, practitioners visit a variety of settings throughout the day, often including face-to-face interactions. Adopt a consistent and methodical approach to limiting risks associated with the virus, regardless of the situation or setting.
Should I be wary of travel?
Travel is often a significant part of the commercial real estate business, so it's important to balance good business sense with necessary precautions. While frequent hand-washing should be a priority, don't forget to extend this to items such as steering wheels, door handles, seat belt latches, and dashboards when traveling by car and tray tables, seat belt latches, and arm rests if traveling by air.
I typically drive my clients for market and/or property tours. May I refuse to drive potential clients?
Yes. However, be sure that any change to your business practices is applied equally to all clients. You may refuse to drive clients who show signs of illness or reveal recent travel to areas of increased risk of coronavirus, or you may instead decide to stop driving clients in your car altogether and simply arrange to meet clients at a property. If you continue to drive clients in your car, frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles and seat belt latches, and ask clients to use hand sanitizer when getting in and out of the car.
Should I still conduct showings on my listed properties?
Speak openly and honestly with your clients about the pros and cons of showings in the short term. Assess the risk based on your specific location, and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area. You could also propose alternative marketing opportunities for your client's consideration, such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property. If you host showings, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the property, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms. After showings, recommend that your client clean the premises, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.
What precautions should practitioners consider taking in their offices?
Real estate professionals should use their best judgment when formulating a plan. Office managers should implement a mandatory “stay-home” policy for any staff member or agent exhibiting any sign of illness. Depending on where the office is geographically located, a manager also may want to consider imposing a mandatory remote work policy for employees and instructing professionals to stay out of the office. In addition, taking measures such as holding virtual meetings or potentially postponing or cancelling in-person meetings or events may limit close contact between individuals. Having alternative mediums, such as Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, and other virtual hosting software, as well as cloud-based file sharing systems to facilitate this process is important. Be sure to monitor updates from the CDC and WHO, as well as your state and local health authorities, for additional information and guidance on holding meetings or events. For additional coronavirus resources from NAR, including travel considerations, please visit “Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTOR® Associations.”
CCIM Institute has partnered with the Center for REALTOR® Development to offer free on-demand courses for residential specialists considering a career in commercial real estate. The courses provide REALTORS® with critical analytical skills and a deeper foundational understanding of commercial practice, including the core concepts of financial modeling, leasing, and application of market and trade data.