Where We Are Now: March 17, 2020

Work From Home — Day 2

6:00AM PST

Good Morning,

Market futures are predicting some stability today, albeit in a world without stability. Around 5AM PT today, CNBC referred to futures index as a “fraud.” This is mainly because any and every announcement has whip-saw potential in our volatile state.

In Northern CA, we are very focused on County Recorder offices and where we are hoping offices may be open even in a “virtual” manner. Counties like Napa and Sonoma have not yet called for shelter “lock down.” Will the banking industry, where mortgages fit in, be considered an “essential service”? Updates to follow throughout the day.

In Southern CA, we have marginally better conditions. In our Sunset Strip office yesterday, Fran was managing multiple offer situations. Chartwell Escrow has developed deep contingency planning to, if required, consolidate 13 locations into 4 hubs. Vince purchased 17 laptops, one for each escrow officer, to support you and our clients on a remote, WFH, basis.

Every day will bring new challenges and new opportunities. Needless to say, we are all hyper focused on family and loved ones first and our business interests second.

Be safe! Be smart! Updates to follow as they develop.


Mark A McLaughlin

Work From Home — Day 2 — Closing Bell

1:00PM PST

Team – 

Just closed out a healthy bounce in the equity markets. Dow closed up over 1,040 points. At least until tomorrow we have a more favorable “hope ticket.”

Spent a considerable amount of time with various title, escrow, and lending executives by phone this morning. Seems the County Recording anxiety of yesterday has found some relief. First, it seems, our closing process, an extension of the banking system, is currently qualifying as “essential services.” Minimal staffing seems to be keeping the recording offices open and processing for now. Second, I have confirmed that most every County in CA has e-filing capabilities.

I am working with Vince Foley, President, Chartwell Escrow on virtual notary and signing capabilities. More later this week.

As a reminder, our NorCal [6 Bay Area counties] government shelter policy does not permit open houses, caravan, showings, etc. Clearly, we do not control the wishes or actions of buyers and sellers.

We are still seeing robust activity in NorCal & SoCal. The market under $3 million, maybe more so under $2 million, is ferocious and multiple offers remain fairly normal. Interest rates have never been more attractive. We have seen a slow down over $3 million where purchases are more all cash. These have likely been impacted by the adversity in the equity markets.

Next update on cancellations will be Thursday 5PM.

If you have a story on a situation you think everyone should hear about, please send it to me. I will publish a series of stories tomorrow.

This is an amazing team we all play on! My bet is 100% of us to get through this and thrive.

Give me a great story!


Mark A McLaughlin

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