IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING GOVERNOR INSLEE’S MARCH 28TH MEMO:
A MESSAGE FROM WASHINGTON REALTORS LEGAL HOTLINE LAWYER ANNIE FITZSIMMONS AND NWMLS LEGAL COUNSEL JUSTIN HAAG
It is clear that some brokers are misinterpreting the Governor’s March 28 Memorandum. Brokers cannot conduct “business as usual”…
The recent modifications to the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy Order (the “Order”) were based on numerous discussions with the Governor’s office.
We know for a fact:
The Governor’s intent is to limit in-person real estate brokerage services to the services listed below and only if the required protocols are followed.
This is true regardless of any reference in the Governor’s Memo to “essential services.”
This means you cannot “send your photographer in” or “hire a mover” or do anything else that is not specifically identified in the Governor’s Memo.
If real estate brokers engage in additional activities beyond those identified in the order or do not follow the protocols – the Governor will likely revoke the recent modifications and place additional restrictions on the real estate industry.
Please carefully review the information published by Washington REALTORS® and Northwest MLS so that you understand what is permitted, and what is not permitted.
If you are not sure an activity is permitted, it probably is not. If brokers creatively interpret the modifications to the Order, the entire industry will be negatively affected and might lose the privileges the Governor just extended.
The protocols that must be followed for the permitted in-person activities include:
- In-person activities must be by appointment only;
- No more than two people, including the broker, may be at the property at any one time; and
- Those two persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
The revisions to the Order are limited to allow the following in-person activities, provided the above protocols are followed:
- Previews and showings of listings by appointment only;
- Listing presentations, photography, and creating virtual tours for new listings [Note: professional photographers are not considered “essential,” thus all photos must be taken by the broker or seller];
- Inspections for pending transactions;
- Appraisals for pending transactions;
- Buyer “walk-throughs” for pending transactions prior to closing; and
- Providing keys to buyers at closing.
No other in-person real estate brokerage activities are permitted.
EMAIL QUESTIONS TO COMMENT@WAREALTOR.ORG.
Washington REALTORS®, your voices were heard! WR Staff and Leadership have been working with Governor Inslee’s office to address the 17,000+ transactions in the pipeline and the needs of other buyers and sellers eager to enter a purchase and sale agreement. We have good news! Thanks to the hard work of our Government Affairs team, WR’s strong leadership team, and Governor Inslee’s compassionate and decisive action, he has issued an important memo creating opportunity for pending transactions to close and allowing limited marketing and brokerage services to prospective buyers and sellers. His order allows inspections, appraisals and walk-throughs to take place under very strict conditions described below and in these revised FAQs.
To be clear, brokers still must comply with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate and with extremely limited exceptions are to conduct real estate business from your homes to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus. For example, brokers will be allowed to meet one-on-one with a client when no other alternative is available, but in no event may more than two people be onsite at a property, including the owner/occupants and the real estate broker. Additionally, social distancing protocols must still be observed and every effort to sanitize surfaces touched must be taken. This also applies to appraisers and inspectors. Private showings are allowed under these new guidelines but again, they are strictly limited to two people on site, including the REALTOR®, as well as following all CDC social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Please study these FAQs and fully understand how you may conduct business under these new guidelines. Look for additional explanatory videos and messages from WR President Kitty Wallace, Legal Hotline attorney Annie Fitzsimmons and others.
Most importantly, we all must comply with these new guidelines both to protect our fellow citizens, and to ensure that we can keep the guidelines in place. The Governor has placed great trust in the real estate community; if he sees violations of his new order, he can eliminate these in-person opportunities.