The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to the U.S. economy, with at least 10 million claims for unemployment filed in the last two weeks.
That economic reality is making it hard for people to pay their bills, including rent and mortgage payments.
"Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran appeared on " Good Morning America" Monday to answer viewers' questions on real estate and money.
Here are tips from Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group real estate company, on everything from what to do if you can't pay rent to whether now is the time to buy a home.
Tips for renters
"Renters are in a tough spot right now and hopefully there is more help coming."
1. Check if your state has a moratorium on evictions. "Already in most of the states we have moratoriums so renters cannot be evicted. That’s through May and there’s a very good chance they’ll extend that month by month."
2. Contact your landlord about a deferment. "If someone has lost their job because of the illness or the pandemic, they should be calling their landlord right away and simply telling them that they’re struggling. Chances are very good that landlords today will defer some of their rent. Defer simply means not that you get off scot-free, but that you pay less now and you make up for it when you’re back on your feet."
Tips for people looking to buy a home
"You should be moving forward despite your concerns and your fears. Interest rates are at an all-time low. If you wait, you’re just going to pay more for that house once the market is flooded by buyers."
1. Use this time to prepare. "Now is really the time to get ready, to get pre-qualified for your mortgage so you know what you can borrow and to get out shopping so that you really know values and you know to move early and you’ll be there first once the market resumes."
2. Keep an eye out for a 'sweetheart deal.' "Once the market resumes, this real estate market across the board is going to explode. There’s one thing to always remember, in uncertain times, there’s always deals to be had. So if you’re brave of heart and you’re out there actually being aware of what values are and watching what’s going around, you’re going to recognize a sweetheart deal when you see it and everybody gets a sweetheart deal in a tough market if they’re brave enough to keep out there."
Tips for landlords
"I would get in touch with my two biggest people that are giving me the biggest bills, which are the mortgage company and your taxes."
1. Talk to your bank about waiving interest and fees. "You should reach out to your lender to see what they’re willing to do. Commercial lenders right now are either waiving interest rates and late fees, they’re converting loans to interest only or they’re even in some instances offering to defer payments until this epidemic is over. You won’t know until you reach out to them and see what they’re willing to do."
2. Contact authorities. "Next, you should contact your tax authority and stay in touch with what their position is. It’s always changing. Everybody is making deals right now. Every town makes their own deals and you should know what that is."
3. Don’t panic. You have time. "Last of all, you should not be desperate and sell units. Once this whole thing is over they’re going to jump up in value. The last thing you want to do is think about unloading those homes."