Over the past month, we have received thousands of calls and emails from real estate agents all over the country asking about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect their day-to-day activities working in the industry. Here is a snapshot of the most common questions we have received.
What does ‘essential service’ mean?
An “Essential Service” is an arbitrary term where the state deems interruption of the service will endanger the life, health, or personal safety of part of the population. Many state governments have deemed real estate an essential service but what that exactly means varies by area.
In one location, it may simply mean real estate offices are just closed, and agents can meet with clients or show properties. In other areas, it may mean all services are open as long as social distancing guidelines are strictly followed. Regardless, businesses deemed essential are not subject to shelter-in-place orders but must strictly follow local COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
How do I find out if real estate is considered ‘essential’ in my area?
The majority of states and municipalities are left to decide which services are essential. Because of these multiple and sometimes conflicting government designations, the situation is constantly changing. NAR is currently working with associations to get their local and state governments to make this designation for real estate, with some varying degrees of success.
Visit your state’s real estate commission or government website for more information regarding real estate being an essential service in your area.
What work can I do if real estate is declared ‘non-essential?’
There’s a common misconception when it comes to the term ‘Non-Essential.’ Just because an area declares the real estate industry ‘Non-Essential,’ it does not mean that all real estate activities are canceled or suspended.
Check with your local association or regulatory authority for more information.
Are there any new COVID-19 addenda?
Many states’ REALTOR® associations have created state-specific COVID-19 addenda. Some addenda may include or deal with:
- Title cure
- Due diligence period
- Any relevant association approval
Check with your managing broker, form provider, or REALTOR® association to get the latest news regarding any addenda.
What else should I be doing during COVID-19?
Now is a great time to get ahead and set yourself up for success during and after this pandemic ends. Some of the activities agents should be doing are:
- Keeping in touch with current clients
- Prospecting for new clients
- Looking for better ways to automate your business
- Adapting using technology, like VR tours of your homes for sale
- Completing your Continuing Education online
- Getting multi-state licensed, if you’re in the right area
Working in real estate during coronavirus can be tricky business, which is why we’re offering our Doing Business During COVID-19 course for free. Through this online course, we break down everything you need to know for effective but safe work in real estate.
About The CE Shop
Founded in 2005, The CE Shop has become the leading provider of online real estate education through an encyclopedic knowledge of the real estate industry. Our ever-expanding course catalog of Pre-Licensing, Exam Prep, Post-Licensing, and Continuing Education products are trusted throughout the industry and offer agents across the country the education they rely on.
Sources: The CE Shop, NAR, ILO (International Labour Organization)