Day-to-day news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic can be chaotic and, frequently, it’s reported through a national prism. But for the real estate industry, so much of what’s important differs by state and by market.
Thankfully, the industry has answered a call-to-action, and brokerages, trade associations and government agencies are constantly putting out new information to help agents navigate these turbulent times.
Whether its advice on what you can and cannot do during a stay-at-home-order, or how to collect unemployment in your state or even how to infuse a bit of positivity in a dark time, here is what we hope will be a comprehensive guide that covers it all. If you know of other helpful guidance for real estate professionals, let us know and we’ll add it here. Check back daily for updates.
Companies and brokerages
Zillow put together two separate comprehensive guides. The first was written for its agent clients and the industry at large, showing the steps the company is taking to make changes to billing, virtual tours and other agent tools as many states ban in-person real estate activities.
Perhaps even more robust is the company’s guide for consumers, that features answers to dozens of common question. Some of those questions are as simple as, “Is it possible to buy a home right now?” while others are more complex like, “Why are mortgage rates fluctuating?”
Compass CEO Robert Reffkin has been taking to Instagram to post daily pieces of advice for consumers and agents, in video form. The pieces can sometimes be a bit self-promotional for the company — Reffkin promised this week that the company is, “prepared to operate 100 percent virtually to meet your real estate needs” — but it also includes advice for agents across the industry.
Another Compass leader, Mark McLaughlin, the former CEO of Pacific Union International, is writing a daily blog titled, “Where We Are Now,” that provides updates on the goings-on in Congress, daily industry changes — like open house bans — and personal stories on things like working remotely.
Redfin has been publishing weekly market-based blog posts, on top of its usual research, authored by Chief Growth Officer Adam Weiner. The posts are breaking down key insights in certain markets and the impact that government orders are having on business.
The rental management software startup published a COVID-19 guide tailored towards providing resources for landlords and tenants. The guide includes government resources and a report on how other property owners are dealing with the crisis.
The Mullin Group, a real estate team affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, put together a guide that includes local state links, as well as general advice for agents and clients on stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Showcase IDX, a real estate search portal, put out a guide to walk agents through all the changes the company is making to its platform in the wake of the global pandemic. The guide also contains tips for agents on various things they can be doing to boost their business.
RE/MAX leaders are hosting daily public video sessions on Facebook with two distinct focuses. CEO Adam Contos’ Facebook live series focuses on the, “mind, body and business,” while Nick Bailey — RE/MAX’s chief customer officer — is focused on tools, training and technology resources. Bailey’s will often feature guest speakers.
The real estate data and consulting firm is offering a number of free services to real estate industry professionals, including a short guides to preparing your business for a downturn. New guides are published every week.
The company is also offering a complimentary consulting service to help with business challenges, weekly fireside chats and “Tactical Tuesday,” a weekly opportunity to have 30-minute call with real estate consultants every Tuesday.
Real estate listing portal and media company realtor.com created an extensive library of resources for real state professionals. A spokesperson for the company told Inman, in a statement, that it’s directly communicating with the real estate community on the value of virtual tours and continuing to educate and encourage agents to create and upload virtual tours.
The company also created a microsite with guidance for consumers on the company’s digital features that can help connect them with agents and see homes without face-to-face interactions.
Real estate tech company Inside Real Estate created a financial relief resources site for real estate professionals, that covers topics like the small business loan program and tax filing information. The company is also hosting virtual trainings throughout the month of April.
Real estate technology company Tribus lanched a guide to the loan programs created by the CARES Act and has been running webinars every other day to help agents.
Matthew Gardner, the chief economist at Windermere Real Estate has been posting weekly videos on the company’s Youtube channel — which are being reposted by Inman — to provide market updates.
MoxiWorks, a real estate technology company, created a COVID-19 resource landing page, that includes a weekly webinar series, that airs every Tuesday at 9 a.m. The landing page also includes a virtual roundtable with brokerage leaders across the country. The virtual roundtables will continue with new voices in the future.
Things are changing rapidly so it’s often hard to follow the news of the day if you’re distracted with work or family. The U.S. Federal Government has a website that’s updating constantly and covers actions that nearly every government agency is taking.
The CDC is the main spot for federal guidance on the spread of COVID-19. The website includes a symptom tracker, as well as advice on what to do if you feel sick and preventative action that can be taken.
Lawmakers passed a comprehensive stimulus package in late March, that included billions in small business loans — a portion of which are going to be forgivable — to cover things like payroll and debt relief. SBA put together a guide to the particulars of the legislation and how to access all of the benefits of the package for small businesses.
For both workers and business owners, the U.S. Department of Labor put together a guide on how to handle COVID-19 in the workplace. The guide also contains information on the expanded unemployment benefits included in the stimulus package, as well as regularly updated news on regulation changes.
NAR created a living guide that is constantly updated with the latest information on shelter-in-place orders, open house guidance, transaction guidance and general guidance.
“NAR understands that these unprecedented circumstances are impacting our members’ ability to conduct their businesses,” the website reads. “Our members’ success and ability to navigate these uncertain times are paramount to NAR, and we are providing this guidance to help address some of the common transactional issues we are hearing about.”
Since real estate is such a hyper-local business, C.A.R. has a resource guide for its California-member agents to make sense of local rules and regulations and understand best practices. The C.A.R. guide also includes a financial services hotline where members can get one-on-one assistance.
REBNY created a “Coronavirus Resource Hub,” which contains industry guidelines, government resources, how to give and get help and information about the federal stimulus package.
Florida Realtors has a constantly updated guide that serves as a clearinghouse for local news and updates, as well as guidance on completing transactions virtually and in compliance with local ordinances.
The Miami Association of Realtors created a portal with government and market updates, along with virtual education and resources and financial relief.
ARMLS has a dedicated resource page for COVID-19 resources where the MLS links to the state’s shelter-in-place policy, showing and open house guidance from the National Association of Realtors, information on virtual open houses, online training, and an appointment form for keybox service. Arizona’s governor has deemed real estate as an “essential” service, according to ARMLS CEO Matt Consalvo.
ABoR also has a dedicated page for coronavirus-related resources, including important forms, FAQs, talking points, recommendations for marketing listings, information on real estate being declared an essential service in Texas, and links to a video series in which CEO Emily Chenevert sit down with local market experts to discuss the impact COVID-19 is having on the real estate industry.
ABoR is also offering a Stay Home, Work Safe Resource Kit that includes tools to keep track of business goals, rework a business plan, brush up on technical skills and answer buyer and seller questions. The kit also includes resources for self care including ABoR Member Remedy Account, telehealth services, coloring book pages of Austin landmarks from a local artist and a social distancing playlist on Spotify. Starting April 9 through May 30, the trade group will offer ABoR On Air to give members access to live, free online education, including required license renewal courses and MLS training.
Bright has its own COVID resources page, which details its Bright Steps response campaign during the outbreak. The campaign includes a virtual toolkit, complete with vendor discounts; information on how to hold a virtual open house; real-time market data reporting; a webinar series; and a #MyBrightSteps initiative in which subscribers send in short video clips offering their peers tips and best practices.
CRMLS has centralized its response to the outbreak in a resources page that includes updates to all three of its MLS systems (Matrix, Flex and Paragon) as well as rule changes and changes in compliance enforcement. The page offers resources for virtual showings and virtual open houses, tips for working from home, and guidance from the National Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors on how to do business during the outbreak.
“We’ve expanded our no-cost online training, holding virtual Association and broker office trainings regularly as well as frequent webinars on the upcoming Clear Cooperation Policy,” CEO Art Carter told Inman. “We are preparing to offer a financial wellness app in the CRMLS Marketplace in the next few weeks to assist real estate professionals with tracking their expenses and making cuts where necessary.”
In a video posted last week, First MLS detailed five major changes it made due to the pandemic.
“FMLS shows agents how they can move an Active listing to Hold (Temporarily Off Market), while not affecting days on market. It also pivoted to an online model to earn CE [continuing education] credits, created a new option of virtual open houses, and installed an online ordering system for Supra eKeys and lockboxes for contactless-delivery. FMLS has also maintained full customer support via chat, phone, email and its online knowledge base,” Steve Mapes, FMLS’ chief business development officer, told Inman.
In a resource page, Georgia MLS has posted MLS policy updates, national and state COVID-19 related updates, and resource articles to help members with their marketing efforts, CMO John Ryan told Inman. Georgia MLS has also taken the step of cutting dues for its subscribers for the second quarter due to the business disruption caused by the outbreak. In addition, the MLS is offering its subscribers tools to work remotely while maintaining social distancing requirements, such as online transaction management forms, e-signatures and online training highlighting virtual tour functionalities.
The Houston Association of Realtors’ coronavirus resources page contains information on unemployment benefits, small business loans, new COVID-19 forms, and conducting “essential” business while social distancing. HAR is also waiving third-quarter residential and commercial MLS fees, saving subscribers more than $5 million, a spokesperson told Inman.
In addition, HAR’s tech department “is creating 360 virtual tour tools so agents can personally create tours, virtual open houses live that can be searched by consumers on HAR.com as well as live virtual showings that an agent can schedule for a specific client and a specific property,” the spokesperson said.
MARIS’ coronavirus response page offers resources on handling business disruption due to social distancing; precautions for showings and open houses; messages from vendors such as ShowingTime, TrustFunds and CoreLogic; county state-at-home FAQs; and answers to coronavirus questions from the Centers for Disease Control, among other resources.
On March 27, after Wisconsin deemed real estate an essential business, Metro MLS put a notice on its website detailing MLS rule changes, options for online training, and announcing the MLS would be holding town-hall style Zoom meetings each week for subscribers to ask MLS staff questions. Metro MLS has also launched a Preferred Cleaning Service Program in which Metro negotiated reduced prices from Wisconsin-based cleaning firms.
“[They] are all bonded companies that offer both a discount to brokers/agents and have CVOID-19 cleaning regimens for homes and real estate offices,” CEO Chris Carrillo told Inman.
MRED’s COVID-19 resources page is typically updated several times daily with news from state regulators, MRED, NAR, the MLS’s association partners, and vendor partners. The page includes links to online training, details on real estate as an essential business in Illinois, rule changes, and a new weekly statistical report on new listings, sales, median and average prices and properties going under contract.
NorthstarMLS’s COVID-19 resource page included dated announcements regarding suspension of open houses, virtual showings, rule changes regarding “coming soon” status, the state’s stay-at-home order and its implications for Realtors, and updates from the state and national Realtor associations as well as health and unemployment benefits information from Minnesota and Wisconsin. NorthstarMLS has also just enabled a Live Stream Open House feature.
To help real estate firms and brokers continue business operations during the pandemic, NWMLS created a form that allows for extensions of contingencies and the closing date in the purchase and sale agreement, published an FAQ with real-time updates, provided information on best practices for showings and in-person interactions, disabled the public and broker open house features in the MLS, and published information directed at buyers and sellers.
REcolorado has been keeping its subscribers updated through its blog with posts covering virtual open houses, the Clear Cooperation Policy, changes to its “coming soon” status, and a rundown of support available to brokers, including online training, tips for promoting listings online, and information, advice and discounts from virtual tour vendors.
Stellar MLS’s coronavirus information page offers a guide to MLS virtual options for open houses and showings, a snapshot of year-to-date market activity, rules on listing statuses, the MLS’s thoughts on days on market, links to webinars, options regarding listing strategies, updates from Florida Realtors and NAR, and resources from vendors.
Resources and guides compiled by Inman
Inman has written dozens of articles on the coronavirus, full of advice for agents and brokers, as well as important news. The post is updated multiple times per day.
A constantly updated post linking to stories related to keeping your business running while much of the country shuts down.
The laws are different in every state, so Inman reporter Jim Dalrymple II compiled a full guide to the various policies that states have implemented concerning evictions, rent and foreclosures.
Much of the attention was focussed on direct payments, small business loans and expanded unemployment, but the stimulus package also contained a number of housing and credit protections.
A look at the specifics of the stimulus package for real estate agents, like which earner brackets will be eligible for $1,200 direct payments and how independent contractors can access unemployment.
Dozens of real estate companies and trade associations are offering tools and education to agents right now to help them expand their business.
Every day — and sometimes more frequently than that — Inman publisher Brad Inman is sitting down with industry leaders to cover myriad topics related to navigating a difficult time for the industry.
Updated: April 2 10:57 a.m. EDT
This list will be constantly updated with new guides and resources. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your company or association’s information included.