ATLANTA — Realtors, mortgage brokers, and lenders are starting to have a serious conversation with their clients about the home-buying process and vaccine status.
And it's all because of some companies announced recent requirements that an employee be vaccinated to keep their jobs -- jobs clients need to qualify for a home loan.
Denver-based realtor, Lindsay Mann-Emerson with The Creed Group at Compass is representing a seller who was supposed to close on a home on Monday. But the buyer’s loan fell through at the last minute.
“Her (the buyer’s) employer would not issue her written verification of employment, which for the type of loan that she's using is a mandatory requirement, because she had not produced to her employer that she had successfully received both of her COVID vaccines, and that had become a condition of her employment.”
Mann-Emerson said the situation put both the buyer and the seller’s loans to buy their next homes, on hold.
“So, this person (the buyer) had already sold her home and was moving in on Monday and is now living in an extended stay hotel until they figure this situation out as a single mom with two young children, which is really awful.”
For many loans, a written verification from a mortgage lender is needed for a loan to be fully approved.
Roswell-based broker Matt Newman, with Newman Mortgage Group, explained: “One of the first things we often do as part of the loan process is obtain a written verification of employment from somebody's employer. And there's a box on there that asks about the likelihood of continued employment.”
If an employer makes a vaccine a condition of employment, and that employee hasn’t received a vaccine, the employer could say their continued employment is unlikely, thus risking the home purchase or even a refinance.
Mann-Emerson said several people told her they would simply sue their employer if they were in the same situation.
She explained it’s not that simple.
“It’s similar to if your employer requires you to not be a felon, or if your employer requires you to wear a certain type of uniform to work or not a certain type of clothing,” Mann-Emerson said. “These lending institutions are tightening up to make sure that we don't have another housing crisis. And this verification of employment to them is also really important. Because if she doesn't do this, and her company is saying, as of October 1, you don't have a job. How does she continue to pay her mortgage?”
Newman added, “It's not just about getting approved for the loan at the current time. So, they're (lenders) always looking at the continuation and the likelihood of the continuation of the employment to make sure that employee is going to be able to continue to make the mortgage payments moving forward. So, if the lender suspects there's any risk to that moving forward, they would likely deny the loan.”
Newman hasn’t personally experienced this with his clients but said it’s something he’s started discussing with colleagues. And he suggests an employee have that same discussion at work.
“It's definitely something you want to discuss with your employer or your HR or whatever you feel is necessary to get clarity on it,” said Newman.
Mann-Emerson said she’s unsure how widespread the issue is (or could become) but wanted people to armed with the knowledge if their employer requires a vaccine- and the employee is starting the home buying process.
“I never want to tell people what they should and shouldn't do, but I think that they should be aware that if they're planning on initiating a mortgage or even a refinance, a car purchase anything like that. And I think they just need to be thinking about that when they're making their decisions. This is something that could really affect the average everyday American.”