Event Changes and Information Related to Coronavirus
The GDWCAR building is closed to members and is open by appointment only. All REALTOR® Store transactions will be handled over the phone, with a retail-to-go model. Some staff will continue to work remotely, we will continue to handle business through emails and phone calls only.
We would like to emphasize that we are still here for our members. Please continue to find information and address concerns via our website, email, phone, and social media. We are working hard to ensure that the needs of our REALTORS® and Affiliates will continue to be met during this temporary adjustment to our office arrangement.
The Greater Denton/Wise County Association of REALTORS® staff and executive committee are monitoring developments at the national, state, and local levels regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on association operations, travel, and real estate activity.
The Association will continue to operate under the following guiding principles:
1. Keep our members safe
2. Continue to serve our members and the community with the highest standards
3. Do our part to slow community spread of the virus as guided by recommendations by local authorities
Our hours of operation will remain 8:30 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday.
Direct contact for the following services is as follows:
We will continue to update all members with further recommendations and/or further restrictions as we monitor the situation. For updates regarding any changes to Association programming please continue to visit our website: gdwcar.com/coronavirus
Greater Denton/Wise County Association of REALTORS® Events
Cancellations and Postponements
News from Texas REALTORS®
Gov. Abbott Announces Initial Steps to Reopen Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott announced steps to reopen Texas businesses in phases while working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In his remarks, Gov. Abbott specifically mentioned REALTORS® as an example of essential services that have been conducting business responsibly and safely. Read more in The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.
Texas REALTORS® is in active discussion with the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas regarding support of services impacting the real estate industry to ensure members have access to a robust recovery.
Submitting Documents to the TWC
To increase the amount of your benefit beyond the minimum, self-employed/independent contractors who apply should also submit income verification documents (1099, Schedule F, C, or SE) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are automatically enrolled in both programs and can receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds simultaneously. Read more about how to apply for unemployment
To address these uncertainties, Texas REALTORS®️ has created the COVID-19 Addendum (TXR-2520). The COVID-19 Addendum provides for a 30-day extension of the closing date in a residential sales contract if the closing cannot occur due to a voluntary or mandatory COVID-19 quarantine or closure.
Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions (Includes information about Brokerage Issues, Closing, and Property Management). Click here.
Texas REALTORS® Legal Hotline: 800-873-9155
The Texas REALTORS® Legal Hotline is a benefit exclusively for members of the association. It is your link to an attorney who can provide information about real estate law and related matters. All members can call the hotline. The designated REALTOR® for your office will be notified by e-mail when you call. The hotline is available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewal
Because of the widespread financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is extending the grace period to renew National Flood Insurance Program policies from 30 to 120 days. This change applies to NFIP policies with an expiration date between February 13 and June 15, 2020.
News from National Association of REALTORS®
Need quick access to NAR’s COVID-19 info?
Text COVID19 to 30644 for guidance on coronavirus legislation and relief affecting real estate professionals.
Watch this video and learn how to secure funds through the CARES Act. It features REALTORS®, with different business structures and sizes, sharing how they successfully obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. They'll also hear tips on navigating the SBA website, what forms to have on-hand when applying, and how to find a lender. Don't wait! Funding is limited!
NAR has been working closely with Congress and the Administration to ensure the interests of REALTORS® and their clients are protected in any federal action in response to COVID-19. Many REALTORS® are small businesses, or work with them as clients. In the most recent relief package passed into law, the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or CARES Act, there were significant provisions aimed at assisting small businesses during this difficult time.
As of 4/16/20, the appropriations for both the SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans have been exhausted(link is external). NAR sent a letter(link is external) to Congress on 4/13/20 urging quick action to provide additional funds for these loans, to ensure that they can assist as many small businesses in need as possible. This FAQ has been updated with additional information to reflect this change, and will be updated again when the programs re-open.
Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave. It also includes refundable tax credits for small businesses and self-employed individuals to cover the cost of the leave.
NAR has created a guide with FAQs about how the three relief measures passed so far affect REALTORS®
In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, and its impact on the real estate industry, NAR is taking steps to support members through these uncertain times. The Right Tools, Right Now initiative, which was activated once before in 2009, makes new and existing NAR products and services available for FREE or at significant discounts – right now – and is available to REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations.
NAR's COVID-19 Response Hotline: 800-874-6500
The National Association of REALTORS® announced a new hotline that members can call if they have questions about the association’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Members also can call the hotline for the latest information on what programs and services are being developed to help them in their business during this time.
News from TREC and TALCB
COVID-19 has impacted daily life as we know it. In the midst of this crisis, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has worked to ensure continued service to license holders and the public while protecting our employees. As a result, our physical offices in Austin are closed to the public, and staff and operations have transitioned to working remotely.
The agency is open for business and continues to provide customer service through email and over the phone at 512-936-3000. Our website, application tracker, license holder lookup with renewal CE information, and online services are available anytime. As always, the staff is ready to assist with applications and renewals of licenses. TREC has provided FAQs for real estate license holders related to COVID-19 and continues to update them as needed
Considerations for REALTOR® Members from the Texas REALTORS® Newsroom
Commit to professionalism
Uncertainty, anxiety, and rapidly changing information due to COVID-19 in the U.S. present challenges to real estate professionals and consumers involved in real estate activities. When working with clients or prospects, REALTORS® must always be careful to avoid actions that violate the Fair Housing Act. This remains true even with the added concerns regarding COVID-19.
Communicate with existing and prospective clients
Engage in open, honest discussions with your clients and prospects to understand their goals and concerns. You can provide insights about steps in a real estate transaction that may involve contact with others or visits/visitors to properties. For clients and others concerned about in-person contact, you may be able to suggest alternatives such as virtual meetings, photos, and videos.
You can also point clients and prospects to expert sources for topics that fall outside your expertise, such as the CDC, Texas Health and Human Services, or local health authorities for hygiene and health tips.
Make sure policies are consistent
Remember your obligation to follow fair housing laws. You may not discriminate against anyone based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
You may ask people if they have recently traveled to locations with outbreaks of COVID-19. However, if you do so, you must ask this question of all clients and must treat clients equally based on their responses—not on any of the protected classes. You may refuse to drive clients in your car if they have traveled to such areas or show signs of respiratory illness—or you may decide to not drive any clients in your car.
How Texas REALTORS® Can File for Unemployment
REALTORS® who are independent contractors or self-employed and are unable to earn an income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for disaster-related unemployment benefits.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the state agency that administers unemployment benefits in our state. TWC began disbursing disaster-related funds on April 12, with $183 million disbursed to date.
The following suggestions are intended to help Texas REALTORS® navigate the application process.
Two Funding Resources for REALTORS® Affected by COVID-19
There are two types of disaster-related unemployment benefits available until certain dates, so REALTORS® are advised to apply as soon as possible to take advantage of the funds.
1. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
· Provides $600 per week for either up to 13 weeks or until July 31, whichever comes first
· No income limit.
2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
· Provides between $207/week (minimum) and $521/week (maximum) for up to 39 weeks
· Program expires Dec. 26, 2020
· To increase the amount beyond the minimum, self-employed/independent contractors should submit income verification documents (1099, Schedule F, C, or SE) to email@example.com.
Applicants are automatically enrolled in both programs and can receive FPUC and PUA funds simultaneously.
Follow These Steps to File Online
Please note that TWC's system wasn't designed to accommodate independent contractors, so some of the questions or terminology in the application may not apply to you as a REALTOR®. Complete the application as it best describes your situation.
Visit TWC's website at twc.texas.gov.
Create an account—you'll need a User ID and password to file for unemployment.
From the homepage, find the Quick Links list in the blue bar near the top, then click "Unemployment Benefits Services" on the list. From the UBS page, click "Log on with your existing TWC User ID or create a new User ID" and follow the steps to create a new User ID (if you don’t already have an account).
Here's a link directly to the page for creating a new User ID: https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/security/logon.do.
Here's a TWC tutorial on creating a User ID, using screenshots from the website.
Complete the application.
The UBS page includes a link to "Apply for Benefits".
Under "Reason No Longer Working," select "Disaster" and be sure to indicate in the details that you were impacted by COVID-19 or coronavirus.
Once you have submitted your application, you'll receive information about next steps, requirements, and instructions.
Check out TWC's list of "Next Steps," such as setting up a PIN, signing up to receive important messages, and choosing a benefit payment method.
Why You May Receive an Initial Denial
TWC's system automatically searches for an applicant's reported W-2 income, so you may receive a message that your application is denied because you had $0 reported last year.
This is because TWC's system was not designed to accept applications from independent contractors/self-employed individuals—TWC staff advises those applicants to ignore the initial denial letter.
Check Your TWC Inbox Often
Once you have applied, be sure you're receiving TWC's messages by logging on and selecting "Electronic Correspondence" from the Quick Links menu. This free service allows you to receive unemployment notices and forms electronically in a secure, online mailbox.
Be sure to check these messages frequently—information about your claim will be sent here. You are responsible for regularly checking for these messages.
You Must Request Payment
TWC will not automatically send you payments—you must request payment through TWC's system every two weeks online or by phone. Do not wait for TWC to notify you of your eligibility.
Applicants will receive instructions for requesting payment after applying.
If you applied before April 9, 2020, you will be automatically enrolled in the federal programs; however, you should submit a request for payment before waiting for TWC to notify you.
Select Your Payment Option
Choose a benefit payment method to receive funds: either direct deposit—the preferred, faster method—or a debit card.
Direct Deposit: For more information see Receiving Benefit Payments by Direct Deposit.
Debit Card: For more information see Receiving Benefit Payments by Debit Card.
You can change your payment option online or by phone:
Log on to UBS and select Change Payment Option from the Quick Links menu.
Call Tele-Serv at 800-558-8321 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and select option 5.
Funds Are Taxable
Unemployment benefits are taxable, so TWC will send you a 1099 to report the income on your 2020 federal income taxes next year. Recipients may wish to consider withholding a percentage of the funds for tax purposes.
TWC's online and phone systems have been inundated with applicants, so it may take time to complete your application. TWC is increasing their capacity and staffing to expedite the application process and have advised applicants to keep trying until they are able to successfully apply and request funds.
TWC's help line at 800-939-6631 is now open from 7 a.m. Central to 7 p.m. Central, seven days a week.