Real Estate

Forgivable Small Business Loans to Bring Relief

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 31, 2020 - 1:00am

The new Paycheck Protection Program, funded under the $2 trillion stimulus package, will offer funding to small-business owners and independent contractors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories: Real Estate

4 Ways Coronavirus Could Impact Housing Long-Term

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 31, 2020 - 1:00am

A new study predicts how the pandemic could influence mobility, housing inequality, and the number of sight-unseen transactions.

Categories: Real Estate

Health Care Workers Allegedly Asked to Leave Rentals

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 31, 2020 - 1:00am

Landlords have reportedly asked medical professionals fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to vacate their rental properties out of fear that the virus will spread within their buildings.

Categories: Real Estate

Americans Are Still Optimistic About Buying

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 31, 2020 - 1:00am

Home buyer sentiment remains resilient despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, new survey results suggest.

Categories: Real Estate

FHA, VA Join Others in Easing Appraisal Standards

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 31, 2020 - 1:00am

Government agencies are accepting alternative appraisals and income verifications to help keep real estate transactions and refinance applications moving forward.

Categories: Real Estate

Can You Get an Airline Ticket Refund Due to Postponed Olympics or Coronavirus?

RisMedia Consumer News - March 30, 2020 - 4:23pm

(TNS)—Getting a refund from an airline has never been easy, and it hasn’t become more so in this time of chaos in the airline industry and elsewhere.

I’d welcome you to The Twilight Zone, but anyone who has tried to get an airline refund, even if the flyer has died, has already visited The TZ. Now, with the postponement of the Olympics (and pretty much everything else), we may become permanent residents.

Before plunging in, please heed these words from Kurt Ebenhoch, executive director of Travel Fairness Now, a consumer advocacy group. Your chances of getting a refund “varies by carrier, and it’s something that’s in flux right now,” said Ebenhoch, whose group specializes in airline and hotel issues. “Policies that were in place before are not always holding up as we’re finding that companies want to hold onto money.”

Into this shifting landscape we introduce shifting policy. Fasten your seat belts, friends. Bumpy doesn’t begin to describe it. Here’s what you need to know:

Don’t immediately cancel your ticket.
But, you protest, you always advise us to cancel a ticket if we know we’re not going to be able to use it. Shouldn’t I do that now?

No, said Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group that does extensive work on airline issues.

“If you have a flight planned in the next three or four weeks, do not call up and cancel the flight,” Leocha said, even if you don’t want to go or can’t. “If the airline cancels your flight—and they are canceling flights right and left—you are eligible for a cash reimbursement.”

If the airline cancels the flight and can’t accommodate you within a certain period of time, it is supposed to refund your money.

Supposed to? Why ‘supposed to’?
Some may offer a voucher first. Don’t fall for it. Ask for the money. Nicely. But not all airlines are playing by the same rules. Consider the case of United Airlines, which, like all carriers, has been rocked by the coronavirus chaos.

Then it counterpunched, Brian Sumers reported in Skift. United’s policy, like many airlines’, was that you could get a refund if your flight was delayed by more than two hours.

Then United changed that to 25 hours and said it applied retroactively to all tickets. Then the policy changed again, this time to delays of six hours, Sumers said.

And now?

“At last check—and this may very well change again—United won’t allow refunds on international travel,” Brett Snyder, who runs CrankyFlier.com, a consumer advocacy site, said in an email. “If your flight changes by more than six hours, you can hold that in a credit. If you don’t use the credit within one year from the original date of ticket issue, then you can get a refund.” 

When should I cancel?
You usually can cancel up to about the time of departure, but as the rules shift, you should give yourself a bit of a buffer, Snyder said in an interview—a day or two before your flight. If you don’t cancel and you don’t show up for the flight, you’ll be considered a no-show and you’ll get nothing back.

Hold off on a request for a refund for Olympics tickets.
If you have a nonrefundable ticket, the general cancellation rules apply: You’ll get a voucher, minus a change fee, and it will be good for within a year of the purchase of your ticket, not the flight.

But, Snyder said, “I have seen Japanese airlines be pretty generous with refunds through this coronavirus mess. So, it wouldn’t shock me if they added a policy themselves that would allow refunds for Olympic tickets.”

Stay tuned.

Read the airline’s contract of carriage.
If you’re looking to while away those lonely hours in lockdown, read the terms and conditions, a.k.a. the contract of carriage, on the airline’s website.

Yes, this may seem like a bigger punishment than having to stay home, but these contracts lay out the ground rules for cancellations. Arm yourself with information before doing anything. Copy relevant parts of the contract on a document you can consult as you’re speaking with an airline representative.

Read your email.
The airline may have communicated with you by email about changes to your ticket, its polices or other matters. Get up-to-date on anything that pertains to the goal you’re trying to achieve.

Determine that goal and adjust your expectations.
Understand that getting a refund may be a struggle. It’s that way in the best of times.

Most airline tickets are nonrefundable. They’re almost always cheaper and thus more attractive to leisure travelers.

The downside is that if you want to cancel, you will probably not get your money back—but the downside to that downside is that you may get a voucher good for a year from the date of your ticket purchase, not from the date the trip was to begin, and you’ll have to pay a hefty cancellation fee.

Should I call the airline, then?
If you bought your ticket through a travel adviser (used to be called an “agent”), call the adviser. If you bought your ticket as part of a cruise package that is no longer going to sail, call the cruise line. If you bought your ticket through an online travel agency such as Expedia, call Expedia (which asks those who are not traveling within 72 hours to delay calling) or the OTA.

If you bought your ticket directly from the airline, call the airline, but be prepared for a wait. Call centers are overwhelmed. Some will give you a callback time so you don’t have to hang on the phone.

Whatever you do, gather your travel information before you call—ticket number, purchase date, credit card and frequent flyer numbers. You may not need all of it, but you won’t be fumbling at the last minute.

Dispute the charge on your credit card.
If you get nowhere, call your credit card company and file a dispute if you bought your ticket within the last 60 days. The credit card companies carry a fairly large stick when it comes to dealing with their users’ issues. This is a last-ditch effort, and you must be mindful of the 60-day timeline—determined from the date you bought the ticket, not the date of your trip.

File a complaint with the Department of Transportation.
Leocha of Travelers United notes that the DOT tells you first to contact your airline to try to resolve your problem. Then, when it receives few complaints about an issue, it may conclude that whatever you’re complaining about is not a problem. But, Leocha said, the DOT has no way of knowing how many complaints were made to the airline because that’s what it told you to do.

To file a complaint, go to the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection page. It may not resolve your issue immediately or ever, but at least you will be on the record and a groundswell may result in changes.

Contact your elected representative’s field office.
Your elected officials aren’t usually the first people you turn to, but they often can have an enormous effect on the outcome of a dispute, especially if the entity in question is currently the subject of legislation that involves bailouts. Bailouts or no, we have seen excellent results in resolving passport problems and, more recently, Global Entry issues. 

Finally, deep, cleansing breaths.
One of my bosses used to tell me this fairly often. It doesn’t solve anything, but it may calm you a bit. In this time of turmoil, that’s quite an advantage. 

©2020 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Can You Get an Airline Ticket Refund Due to Postponed Olympics or Coronavirus? appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewals

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 30, 2020 - 1:00am

Homeowners who have policies through the National Flood Insurance Program now have 120 days to renew without a lapse in coverage.

Categories: Real Estate

February Pending Sales Reveal Healthy Housing Demand

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 30, 2020 - 1:00am

While data has yet to reflect the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the market should recover from any future losses, says Lawrence Yun.

 
Categories: Real Estate

NAR Offers Relief on Business Tools During Crisis

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

The Right Tools, Right Now program has been reactivated to help members navigate this uncertain business climate.

Categories: Real Estate

Top Markets Where Owners Are Most Eager to Lower Mortgage Payments

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

A new report names the top markets that have the highest level of refinancing activity.

Categories: Real Estate

Scammers Are Trying to Dupe Homeowners Who Need Help

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

Warn your clients not to fall prey to fraudsters whom are using spoofing tactics to trick them.

Categories: Real Estate

Is Stark Design on the Way Out?

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

Furnishings offering comfort and usability may become priorities for homeowners as they spend more time indoors.

Categories: Real Estate

Short-Term Rentals in This Posh Area Are Absolutely Booming

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

“I got a call Monday from someone willing to spend $250,000, and he was in a house by Thursday,” says one broker.

Categories: Real Estate

President Trump Signs $2.2T Stimulus Package

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 27, 2020 - 1:00am

The law, which includes many benefits for REALTORS® and consumers, should provide a boost to the economy as mortgage rates remain low.

Categories: Real Estate

What the $2T Stimulus Package Means for You

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

NAR fought for provisions in the bill that extend financial relief to independent contractors and commission-based workers.

Categories: Real Estate

NAR's COVID-19 Response Hotline Available for REALTORS®

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

The association is rolling out a hotline number to help members with questions or concerns.

Categories: Real Estate

HUD to Award $40M in Grants Combating Housing Discrimination

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

NAR applauds the department’s efforts to help nonprofit organizations defend against fair housing violations.

Categories: Real Estate

Homeowners Facing Hardship Get Mortgage Payment Leeway

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unveiled a mortgage payment deferral program for up to two months for struggling homeowners, whether it’s COVID-19 related or not.

Categories: Real Estate

New Report Analyzes 550 Real Estate Tech Tools

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

“Sifting through available technology vendors without any context or idea of value is challenging,” says a spokesperson with the consulting firm T3 Sixty. Here's some tech guidance.

Categories: Real Estate

3 Tips to Sharpen Your Image on a Video Call

NAR Daily News Magazine - March 26, 2020 - 1:00am

As more of the nation transitions to working from home, prepare to make more appearances over video.

Categories: Real Estate

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