WA State Real Estate Brokers Non Essential Personnel COVID-19 Update

Posted by Stacia Whatley & Associates on March 24, 2020

WA State Real Estate Brokers Non Essential Personnel COVID-19 Update

As you all know, Governor Jay Inslee announced yesterday, that we are in a "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order in Washington State. There is a long list of who can and can't be out. Under the new order, Real Estate Brokers, are NOT considered "Essential Personnel".

StaciaSellsHomes + Associates, knew this would more than likely happen, and we chose to be pro-active about this last week, and decided to stay home.

I understand you all have a lot of questions, and I am here to try and help you make the most educated decision when it comes to buying and selling your home during this time. Patience is our best asset through this, and I will do my best to keep you all informed

Below is the information we received this morning from our Northwest Multiple Listing Service and our local chapter of the National Association of Realtors. It outlines, in more detail, what our rolls are in the next couple of weeks.

"Stay Home, Stay Healthy"

Last night, Governor Inslee issued a statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that is effective midnight on Wednesday, March 25th. The order will initially last for two weeks and requires the closure of all “non-essential critical infrastructure workers.” Workers that are considered non-essential, can continue to work remotely from home only.

Real estate brokerage services are not on the list of essential services. Real estate firms must close their offices to comply with the order. Certain workers in the “Financial Services Sector” have been deemed essential workers. This includes workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financing transactions and services and insurance companies including mortgage lenders, escrow and title insurers.

Because the Financial Services Sector is considered essential, real estate transactions that are under contract may be able to proceed to closing (it is likely that lenders, title, and escrow will continue to operate). Of course, there could be delays, which is why the parties should use the new Force Majeure and Closing Addendum (Form 22FM), published by NWMLS last week. You should refer your clients to an attorney if they have any questions regarding their legal rights and responsibilities related to the purchase and sale agreement.

While the order is in place . . .

Real estate brokers may:

Provide services to their clients remotely from their house; and
Use technology services that enable remote business, including online forms, electronic signatures, virtual tours, videos, and similar tools.

Real estate brokers may not:

Conduct any business outside of their home, including physically showing or previewing properties, conducting in-person listing presentations, taking property photos, staging homes, etc. Any person who violates the Governor’s order not only puts himself/herself and his/her family at great personal risk, but also puts the real estate firm and his/her clients at risk.

NWMLS is working with Washington Realtors, which is in direct communication with the Governor’s office, to understand more specifics regarding the order (e.g., if appraisers and inspectors will be able to continue to conduct appraisals and inspections).

NWMLS is analyzing how to best handle active listings while the order is in place. It is possible that days on market (DOM) and cumulative days on market (CDOM) will be suspended while the stay at home order is in place. Stay tuned for additional information about active listings.

Brokers should use Tuesday, March 24th and Wednesday, March 25th to conduct any necessary business outside the home, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. This may include conducting home inspections, creating virtual tours and videos, retrieving files from the office, and other business needs.

NWMLS will publish updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you,
Northwest Multiple Listing Service

We are all "In this together!"

Our local communities are our main concern and we want you to know we're here for you! I'll continue to update you, as new information, comes in.