See the Governor’s New Guidance on Real Estate Activity
After a long drought of no real estate activity in the state due to Governor Wolf’s classification of real estate as a non-essential business, the real estate sector is now up and running. Wolf’s guidance includes REALTORS®, appraisers, notaries, and home inspectors to resume in-person operations as long as they follow certain safety guidelines.
The safety guidelines featured in the governor’s guidance applies statewide, even to counties that are still under strict COVID-19 lockdown orders.
Safety Guidelines to Follow
The complete guidance orders can be found here. This is a list of safety guidelines for real estate agents who will be conducting in-person activities.
- Every person present at a worksite, business location, or property offered for sale must wear masks or face coverings.
- Provisions require the establishment of protocols for execution upon discovery that the business has been exposed to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Utilize separate transportation to property showings and all other in-person activities.
- Schedule in-person office visits, property showings, appraisals, inspections, final walk-throughs, and title insurance activities by appointment and maintain records of all appointments, including contact information for all participants. Where possible, utilize unoccupied model homes for in-person showings.
- Limit in-person activities to no more than the real estate professional and two people inside a property at any time, exercising appropriate social distancing.
- When conducting settlements/closings, utilize remote notary, powers of attorney (POA) or the exchange of contract documents electronically or by mail wherever possible. Where it is not possible to conduct settlements/closings via remote notary or POA, attendance in-person must be limited to required signatories and their legal counsel or real estate professional only, and steps to preserve social distancing must be followed to the maximum extent possible. Advance copies of documents should be provided for review prior to the settlement date, wherever possible.
- In keeping with the Guidance for Businesses, where real estate businesses can conduct operations, including particularly office functions, by telework, they must do so.
Since real estate activity was included in the list of business closures throughout the state, homeowners looking to buy and sell, as well as the real estate agents, began to struggle and home sales decreased.
Kathy McGuriman, who is the President of the Montgomery County Association of REALTORS®, says the industry was getting desperate. "We expected the spring market, which is always gangbusters, to be outta this world and market, and it dropped by 47%," said McGuriman.
Wolf’s reclassification of real estate sectors being an essential business gives a light of hope, but many question whether or not the decision came too late.
How to Safely Work as an Agent During COVID-19
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