The new coronavirus has disrupted our way of life in so many ways. Our hearts go out to anyone dealing with the illness and especially anyone that has lost a loved one from it.
COVID-19 has also significantly impacted our industry. In some states real estate transactions have been deemed an "essential service" while in others they have been prohibited. Regardless of the ability to do inspections, many potential home buyers are waiting to see the impact on prices and many agents are hampered in their ability to sell, resulting in less overall volume.
It's possible your knee-jerk reaction right now is to lay off people, stop all your bills, and hunker down into survival mode.
Our federal government has recognized that this might be the reaction and has created a stimulus bill, the CARE Act, to help you keep your bills paid and your team employed. By keeping small businesses structurally intact and ensuring money still flowing between them and to their suppliers, it will improve the chance of a faster economic recovery once restrictions lift.
In other words, they're giving you some money so you don't make big changes! Use it to keep paying your team and to keep paying your bills (like Spectora!) so the dominoes don't fall throughout our economy (i.e. recession/depression.)
Here are two resources you should take advantage of right now:
Disaster Loan Assistance + $10k grant (FREE MONEY)
The Small Business Administration can offer low-interest loans with minimal requirements due to this unprecedented situation. Perhaps a loan will be helpful to you, but that's not why we're recommending this program. If you apply for a loan, you can check a box to be eligible for a first-come, first-serve advance/grant of $1000 per employee to assist small businesses. Even if you get denied or turn down the loan, our research indicates you to keep the advance.
From our research, there's no reason not to do this!
Paycheck Protection Program: 2 months of payroll/rent COVERED
The second resource is the Paycheck Protection Program, a program designed to prevent you from laying off anyone or bailing on your rent/utilities. The program is also for a low-interest loan (0.5% w/ 6 month deferral) with an amount based on 2.5x your average monthly payroll. The most appealing part is that whatever you spend on payroll, rent/mortgage, and utilities in the first 8 weeks is forgivable (i.e. also free money!) This program applies to sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and the self-employed, as well as LLCs and Corporations, which covers just about every home inspector!
The catch is that the forgivable amount gets reduced for every employee you lay off, so you're encouraged to keep everyone aboard. We see this as buying ourselves two free months of payroll and rent while we wait and see what the long-term impact of this virus will be.
If you've already laid people off, you can still re-employ them and not have the penalties, allowing you to continue providing for your team and their families. This also reduces the risk of having to start training someone new once we're on the other side of all this. Worst-case scenario is you lay off everyone after 8 weeks if things are still looking grim.
This program is through SBA-approved 7(a) lenders. Check with your local bank first! We had luck with the local bank we do our business checking through - they had only a handful of applications compared to the nationwide banks that had millions.
If you can't go through a local bank, here's lender matchmakers we've seen results from so far:
This program ran out of money quickly with the first round of funding. It is getting a second round 4/24/2020 - we encourage you to apply quickly!
Keep in mind we're not lawyers and are strictly giving our layman's interpretation of these programs based on our research.
We hope these resources help get you through these trying times. Please reach out with any questions!