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  • 14 Jan 2021 8:00 AM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    PPP returns, giving a 'crucial' lifeline to small, underserved Houston businesses

    The Paycheck Protection Program, a federal stimulus meant to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic, came back online Monday at 8 a.m. Businesses that received the low-interest, forgivable loans from the first iteration of the program in 2020 will soon be able to apply for a second, and restaurants and hotels will soon be able to qualify for larger loans proportional to their payroll costs.

    The program is open to businesses with 500 or fewer employees, which are eligible for first-draw loans of up to $10 million, while second-draw loans are limited to businesses with 300 or fewer employees and capped at $2 million. For their second-draw loans, restaurants and hotels can receive as much as 3.5 times their average monthly payroll, while all other loans are limited to 2.5 times. The funding is part of a second, $284 billion, relief bill signed into law last month.

    This time, following criticism that the first round of the program served disproportionately few minority-owned businesses, it began a little differently. It rolled out first with community institutions, which tend to have stronger relationships with minority communities.

    “For smaller businesses, first-time applicants, community institutions and minority businesses, this round of funding is designed to correct the issues of the first round of PPP funding,” she said. “While it still may not be perfect, seize this opportunity to get funding.”


    Houston Chronicle

  • 13 Jan 2021 10:33 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    Houston Construction Execs Push Back On Data Saying City Led U.S. In Construction Jobs Lost

    Houston’s construction industry took a bigger hit than any other major city in the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic raged in 2020, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

    The economic uncertainty of the pandemic, in tandem with the energy downturn, is considered to blame for the slowdown in construction activity and subsequent job losses. While the numbers are dire, some construction executives in Houston pushed back against the data, saying they don’t see that much pain in the market and are continuing to add jobs and move forward on schedule themselves. 

    From November 2019 to November 2020, the Houston metropolitan statistical area lost more construction jobs than any major metro area in the country — 22,500 jobs or 9% of the local construction job market, according to an AGC analysis of government data.

    That figure was well ahead of the second hardest-hit location, New York City, which lost 16,700 jobs, or Midland, Texas, which came in third at 9,800 jobs. Nationally, large numbers of contractors have had to lay off workers once they complete projects that started before the pandemic, because private owners and public agencies are hesitant to commit to new construction, the AGC said.

    AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson told the Houston Chronicle that the Houston construction industry has likely been left much weaker than other parts of the country because the downturn in the energy sector suppressed demand for construction workers.

    Incoming 2021-2022 AGC Houston Chairman John Marshall said that while he doesn’t know for sure, he also believes that challenges in the energy sector prior to the pandemic contributed to job losses in Houston. Combined with economic uncertainty, it isn’t surprising that projects were delayed or canceled in 2020, taking jobs with them.

    “I think it's that continued uncertainty, almost being exponential on top of [the energy downturn],” Marshall said. “I think it's the uncertainty that's really driving the slowdown.”

    Marshall is a vice president at Houston-based Satterfield & Pontikes Construction, and said the firm has seen some projects slow down or be pushed back because of the pandemic, though few have actually been canceled outright. Commercial development projects have been more likely to hit the brakes than public works, which have continued mostly as usual, Marshall added.

    In terms of where job losses have hit hardest, Marshall said that delayed or slowed projects have forced subcontractors to bear the brunt.

    “We've seen the effects of COVID on subcontracting firms, which can ripple through the owners that we work for, and how that causes people to react. So it continues to be the big influencer,” Marshall said.

    Some construction companies and subcontractors have fared better. GT Leach Construction President Gary Leach said that his firm briefly laid off two people earlier in the pandemic, but has since rehired them. The company actually increased its total staff in 2020 because things have been so busy, he said.

    Leach said that the AGC’s number of job losses in Houston surprised him to the point that he questioned the accuracy, as it didn’t add up to what he has seen in daily business life.

    “It really surprised me. I mainly work in the residential high-rise area [and] hospitality, and we've actually added more jobs this year,” Leach said. “I've never been busier.” con't article by link


  • 5 Jan 2021 12:46 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)
    NARPM 2021 Education Classes are Open for Registration!

    #NARPMSmart will improve your property management business! 2021 Education Courses are open for registration and here's the January & February 2021 lineup!
    Click HERE to see even more classes and sign up today! Members receive a 5% discount on course fees, when you register for 2 or more courses at a time.

  • 15 Dec 2020 6:27 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    This year's Christmas gathering was one to remember. 

    We celebrated good friends, our leaders and sweet relationships in a wonderful setting with lots of laughs.  The venu was beautiful and the Housotn skyline magnificent.  If you missed the Houston Chapter December event, we missed you too! 

    Have no fear we are already planning for 2021 and we expect it to be an eventful and powerful year for even more change and opportunities to grow our businesses.  Join us this coming January 21 for our first meeting and get onboard learning, networking and engaging.  Watch for the agenda and who will be presenting in the new year. Merry Cristmas and Happy New Year too!

  • 24 Jun 2020 1:15 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)


    Extension Through August 31, 2020, Provides More Security for Homeowners Impacted by the Coronavirus Outbreak

    WASHINGTON - Today, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced a two-month extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020, for homeowners with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages. This extension provides additional security and peace of mind to homeowners that they will not lose their homes while they are trying to recover financially.

    FHA’s Single Family foreclosure and eviction moratorium extension applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, and continues to direct mortgage servicers to:

    • Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties; and
    • Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured Single Family properties, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties.

    “While the economic recovery is already underway, many American families still need more time and assistance to regain their financial footing,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Our foreclosure and eviction extension means that these families will not have to worry about losing their home as they work to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.”

    “FHA is committed to working with borrowers impacted by COVID-19 and this second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium is another sign of the unprecedented steps HUD is taking to assist those impacted by this terrible pandemic,” said Acting Federal Housing Commissioner Len Wolfson.

    Homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages should continue to make their mortgage payments during the foreclosure and eviction moratorium if they are able to do so, or seek mortgage payment forbearance pursuant to the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act from their mortgage servicer, if needed.

    Pursuant to the CARES Act, FHA requires mortgage servicers to:

    • Offer borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages up to a year of delayed mortgage payment forbearance when the borrower requests it. FHA does not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance period
    • Assess borrowers who receive COVID-19 forbearance for its special COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim before the end of the forbearance period. The COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim puts all deferred mortgage payment amounts owed into a junior lien which is only repaid when the borrower sells the home, refinances the mortgage, or the mortgage is otherwise extinguished.

  • 16 Jun 2020 1:22 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    Check out this video in which Marc shares 3 unique ways in which property management companies can proactively help residents during COVID-19.

  • 16 Jun 2020 1:18 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    Is it possible for your property management company to not only survive, but also to thrive during the COVID-19 crisis?

    In order to make 2020 a successful year we recommend having a plan. This PM Survival Guide is designed to assist your property management company with creating that plan

    Rather than worrying and having anxiety, focus on what you can control. These are 5 parts of your business you can start to control today.

    check out this great Survival Guide here:

    Day hikers are the most vulnerable in survival situations. Here's ...

  • 16 Jun 2020 1:13 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    June 11, 2020 • News

    Written By: Lisa Noon, CAE, RCE

    We’re hearing more and more about companies being contacted by law firms with complaints about the company’s website and its compliance with ADA Title III rules. These types of what are called “drive by” complaints can be hard to fight and very expensive for a property manager, so it’s always a good idea to periodically check your website for compliance. How do you do that? Here are a few tips:

    • Go to WAVE, a reputable web accessibility evaluation tool that you can access free of charge. All you have to do is type in your website address and in seconds, you’ll have a report that shows exactly where errors and alerts appear. Don’t be surprised if your logo gets flagged for missing alternative text – this is fairly common! The goal is to bring your error count down to as close to zero as possible; if it’s really high, you could be in danger of receiving a demand letter from a plaintiff’s attorney.
    • Add an accessibility policy to your website. In 2020, not having a policy page has been a common source of complaint and lawsuit. The more specific you can be, the better – click here for a useful article with a sample policy.
    • Test your website with actual users who are disabled. What does that mean? Typically, the ADA looks for ways you can make your website easier for those with visual limitations, physical disability (are not able to use a mouse or keyboard), or have hearing disability. Some specific examples of each are:

    Visual – the viewer could have the ability to increase text sizes or magnify the screen, change background and text colors (for those who are color blind), or the ability to have the computer read web pages out loud. For example, you should always have text behind every graphic on your page, even if it’s your logo, so it can be read aloud to the user. Is your site compatible with screen reader technology?

    Physical – can the user tab through menus and links through their keyboard instead of the mouse?

    Hearing – do you provide transcripts of audio information and captioning for videos?

    • Hire a consultant to remediate your website. There are no plug-ins, toolbars, widgets or any other immediate ‘fixes’ that will make your website instantly accessible. Ask your consultant if your site complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Levels A and AA – the most common measures of what constitutes an accessible website.
    • Remember that some states and even some localities have their own accessibility laws, so check with your attorney to see if that might apply to your company’s site.

    This list is not all-encompassing; needless to say, there is a lot to ensuring a compliant website, and it may even require a complete redesign. Watch for an article in the upcoming July 2020 issue of Residential Resource for more information.

    Copyright © 2020 National Association of Residential Property Managers®. All Rights Reserved. Do not reprint without permission. 

  • 18 May 2020 3:46 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought dramatic change to the way REALTORS® are doing business today and will do business for years to come. With that in mind, HAR has assembled the greatest thought leaders from the real estate industry to present a series of virtual events designed to prepare our REALTOR® members for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in this new environment.

    Click Here for full lineup!

  • 18 May 2020 2:51 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    When Will In-Person Open Houses Return to HAR.com?

    The HRIS board (which is over HAR.com and the MLS) voted to begin displaying in-person open houses again when the governor declares Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. That is expected to be Monday, May 18, assuming the numbers he is reviewing look like progress is being made. We have everything in place to be able to immediately reenable the entering of in-person open houses in Matrix and the display of them on HAR.com as soon as he declares Phase 2.

    In the meantime, we are recommending that any REALTOR who holds an in-person open house also consider doing a Virtual Open House (www.har.com/virtual). There is still a significant part of the population that is not yet ready to go to an in-person open house, so holding a Virtual Open House as well allows you to reach both groups of people, which maximizes your exposure to potential buyers. Plus, the Virtual Open House is recorded so interested consumers can view the property outside of just the hours you are holding the in-person open house. To date, 634 Virtual Open Houses have been held with nearly 4,200 people in virtual attendance.

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