Chaos! Every day brings a new interpretation of the current edicts given by all the heads of state—the president, the governor, the mayor, CAR (which is the California Association of Realtors), the police, I’m sure there’s more. As of Thursday, March 26, 2020, basically, we are supposed to stay home except to procure food, health care, to walk, or perform an essential job. Therefore, we Realtors are in a curious Catch-22 situation: we can’t meet buyers or sellers at a property, we can’t order inspections because inspectors aren’t considered essential (but sellers can hire them to find out if they need repairs if they want or need to do), buyers can get loans and appraisers can do desktop appraisals, escrow companies can work, counties can record sales, movers are considered essential, but if sellers sell and they need to buy another home can they? If you see some inconsistencies in all that, you are correct!
While the initial Stay at Home Order seemed a little more vague with regards to real estate and whether or not it is an essential job, the California Association of Realtors has clarified with the following:
"On March 19, Governor Newsom and the State Public Health Officer issued Executive Order N-33-20 requiring all Californians to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations in 16 infrastructure sectors. This supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction.” Therefore, REALTORS® should conduct as much of their business as possible using virtual means. REALTORS® should cease doing all in-person marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person."
Fear! I just read that the US now has 200,000 cases of COVID-19, the most of any country in the world. How would you feel if something you did caused someone to contract COVID-19? How would you feel if they died from it? This is serious folks. We don’t want to do anything to make this pandemic get any worse, to kill more people, to extend this one day longer. We have to consider this more seriously than many of us have been.
Real estate is now an essential business, but still no open houses, and NO IN-PERSON SHOWINGS! This question of showings seems to change almost every day. The last change I’ve seen is April 1, and now showings can only be virtual, not in-person. So either you’ll buy a house in-person sight un-seen, or not at all.