Where are the best housing markets for 2021, especially for first-time homebuyers? The year 2020…
On March 28, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) issued a memorandum on the Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response. Essential service include real estate activity in some areas but not in others, and may also be affected by lockdown orders. Contact the buyer agents in the area where you are considering buying to get the most up to date real estate information.
Executive orders/ memoranda for every state in the US coming from reputable online sources are available below. If you click on the state link, it will show you the list of active buyer agents within our network. Realtors are carefully watching the essential service and lockdown mandates for their area. You can contact them for the latest updates as they pertain to real estate buying or selling.
Per State Advisory on Essential Real Estate
Alabama: On April 03, 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a stay-at-home order for Alabama residents effective 5 p.m. Saturday that will expire at 5:00 PM on April 30. Real Estate is among the essential services.
Alaska: Governor Mike Dunleavy orders the closure of non-essential businesses. All businesses within Alaska, except those listed in Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order. Essential services include real estate as of March 28, 2020.
Arizona: On March 23, 2020 – Governor Doug Ducey today issued an executive order clarifying businesses and operations deemed “essential” by the state and providing certainty to business owners, employees, and families. Also, the order is a proactive and administrative measure to ensure consistent guidance across the state.
Arkansas: On March 24, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued a directive forcing all restaurants and bars to shut down their dining rooms and to offer to-go and deliveries only. No advisory on real estate services being essential or nonessential.
California: Governor Gavin Newsom issued Stay at Home Order. The state adopts guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security on identifying essential businesses. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020. Also, REALTORS® should check what activities the city and county allows or doesn’t allow. Some areas do not consider real estate to be an essential service.
Executive Order D 2020 017, amended by Executive Order D 2020 024, requires all Coloradans to stay at home and all businesses to close due to the presence of COVID-19 in the State unless the business is designated as a “critical business.” This Executive Order went into effect on March 26, 2020, and expires on April 26, 2020, unless further extended by the Governor.
Public Health Order 20-24, issued pursuant to Executive Order D 2020 017, and amended by Executive Order D 2020 024, does not authorize real estates marketing services such as in-person showings or open houses.
Essential services include real estate appraisals and closings are to complete real estate transactions. Further, home inspections and final walkthroughs after a buyer has signed a purchase contract and is, therefore, a condition precedent to the actual transfer of property is also considered to be an essential part of the real estate transaction. Also, elements that are fundamental to the real estate transaction are deemed essential to support market activity. However, showing a property or conducting an open house in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be avoided as it violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders.”– Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Real Estate
Connecticut: On April 15, 2020 – Governor Ned Lamont’s issued an updated FAQ on Essential Businesses. Included in the list are real estate transactions and related services, including residential leasing and renting.
Delaware: As of March 24, 2020, Essential services include realtors, who can work from home and do showings but not open houses. They can do what is necessary to complete sales in the final stages prior to the state of emergency.
On March 24, 2020- Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Order 2020-053 where it said Real Estate offices should close to all but minimum business operations, but individual agents can work from their homes, call clients, direct people to potentially good homes on MLS, place properties for listing online and the like. Necessary financial services are essential, and closings can occur as necessary to the operation of residences and essential businesses, except open houses. Showing a home to one potential buyer is acceptable. To minimize risk, offices should move to principally telework or have a minimal number of persons present to handle the closing.
Florida: On April 01, 2020 – Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order calling for all Floridians to stay home except to obtain essential services. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of April 02, 2020.
Georgia: On April 03, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order citing Real Estate as a Critical Infrastructure Workforce supersedes any local ordinance to the contrary.
Hawaii: As of March 23, 2020 – Governor David Y. Ige has issued Third Supplemental Proclamation that states Real Estate is part of the essential services.
As of March 25, 2020: Governor Brad Little has extended his statewide stay-at-home order through April 30, 2020. Effective immediately, some businesses that had been classified as “non-essential” can reopen, if they can operate via curbside pickup and delivery, maintain social distancing for staff and patrons, and limit the number of people in the business at a time. Also, Idaho’s order adopts the guideline set by US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. Essential services include real estate as of March 28, 2020.
Illinois: On March 20, 2020 – Governor Jay Robert Pritzker has issued Executive Order 2020-10 where Real Estate services, including appraisal and title services,
Indiana: On April 6, 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb has extended the “stay at home” order through April 20, 2020. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services.
Iowa: On March 27, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds. Iowa will also rely on the guideline set by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on essential service. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Kansas: As of March 28, 2020, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order No. 20-16, wherein essential services include real estate.
On March 25, 2020, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed Executive Order 2020-257, which also directs all businesses that are not life-sustaining to cease operations effective Thursday, March 26, 2020. Essential services include real estate agents in Kentucky.
Louisiana: On March 22, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards has issued additional measures for COVID-19 Stay At Home Order. Also, the state adopts the guideline set by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on essential services. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Maine: On March 24, 2020 – Governor Janet Mills issued Executive Order: An Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Operations. The state also adopts the guideline set by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”. Essential services include real estate as of March 28, 2020.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan ordered all nonessential businesses to close at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020, except those included in the guideline set by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as “Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Massachusetts: On March 31, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker extended the emergency order until May 4, 2020. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Michigan: Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s issued Executive Order 2020-21 FAQs “Real estate agents, brokers, and real estate service employees do not constitute “critical infrastructure workers” and thus may not leave their homes for work unless, under section 9(d) of the order, they are “providing food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.”
Grand Rapids Business Journal states that the executive order meant showing of houses, in-person delivery of documents, on-site professional photography are also nonessential. Also, lending and title closings will continue as essential financial services under the executive order.
Minnesota: On March 25, 2020, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-20. Essential services include workers who facilitate and finance real test services, including appraisers and title services.
On March 26, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed a supplement to Executive Order 1463. Also in the order, Governor Reeves provided clarity to ensure uniform statewide parameters to slow the spread of COVID-19. Included in the business essentials list are real estate services (including appraisal and title services).
Missouri: On April 03, 2020, Governor Michael Parson has issued the statewide Stay At Home Order. The Order does not prohibit Missourians from accessing essential services, and specifically recognized in the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Montana: Governor Steve Bullock’s stay-at-home order states businesses are allowed to remain open. This order also includes real estate services.
Nebraska: Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the state will not be moving to a stay-at-home mandate. This is because of state leaders working closely with UNMC on a plan that will just limit the number of people in an area to ten. This means real estate services may continue to transact following safety measures by CDC and protocols provided by NAR.
On April 08, 2020, Governor Steve Sisolak prohibits “open house” showings of real estate properties for sale and showings of homes occupied by renters. You can still buy and sell a home. Real estate agents can still use technology to virtually stage a home. Home showings are allowed following social distancing and if the property is not occupied. But realtors can no longer open a house for a period of time for multiple prospective buyers to visit.
He also said that he appreciates the assistance of the Realtors Association of Nevada in helping to craft this solution.
New Hampshire: On March 27, 2020 – Governor Chris Sununu issued Emergency Order #17.
Real Estate Transactions/ Agents/ Brokers:
1. Meetings between brokers/ agents and clients (or prospective clients) cannot take place at a real estate brokerages’ physical offices. But may take place with social distancing or remotely by phone, video, or other electronic means.
2. Showings of homes or other properties may take place by appointment and with appropriate social distancing measures.
3. Real estate closings can continue, either through remote means or with social distancing for any in-person transactions.
4. Property inspections and appraisals may continue with appropriate social distancing.
5. Lastly, the order still does not permit open houses.
New Jersey: On March 30, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy clarified Executive Order 107 with an Administrative Order. The order said that individual appointments to view real estate with realtors by individuals or families shall be considered an essential retail business for the purposes of paragraph 6 of Executive Order No. 7. Also, Paragraph 5 of Executive Order No. 107 does not permit open houses.
New Mexico: New Mexico’s Department of Health Stay at Home Order Essential Businesses which also deems real estate services including brokers, title companies, and related services.
The Empire State Development agency clarified that residential and commercial showings. Also, it includes back-office real estate work, appraisal services, and home inspections are essential real estate functions effective immediately. The official notice reads as follows.
Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, is strongly urged to maintain social distance to the extent possible.
Essential services include residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisers.
Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, but please utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible.NYSAR
North Carolina: On March 27, 2020 – Governor Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order No. 121. Also, the state adopts the guideline set by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
On April 08, 2020, the North Dakota Association of Realtors (NDAR) stated in MN essential services include the real estate industry. Since ND does not have a list, the state will follow the guidelines set by US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Please also see the memo from NDAR Legal Counsel Casey Chapman about Licensees traveling between North Dakota and Minnesota.
Ohio: On April 02, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health issued COVID-19 Guidance for Essential Businesses and Operations – Professional Services. Essential services include real estate (including appraisal and title services).
Oklahoma: On March 25, 2020, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an amended executive memorandum. Also, it directs businesses to close in several counties except those listed as essential. Real estate is among those considered essential.
Oregon: Governor Kate Brown has issued Executive Order No. 20-12, on March 23, 2020, which ordered the closure of businesses where personal contact is difficult or impossible to avoid. The order does not include real estate offices under the closure order, but must comply with other restrictions in place.
Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order on April 1, 2020. It directs residents and workers to stay at home except those engaged in businesses designated life-sustaining. Also, the order does not include real estate as life-sustaining.
Rhode Island: On March 28, 2020 – Governor Gina Raimondo issued Executive Order No. 20-14, which directed non-essential retail businesses to close in the state. As a professional service, real estate does fall under the closure requirement. Although agents and brokers must comply with other aspects of the stay at home order.
South Carolina: Governor Henry McMaster issued executive order 2020-21, on April 6, 2020. It ordered the closure of several non-essential retail and entertainment businesses. Although real estate is not directly covered under the closure order, agents and brokers should follow relevant social distancing guidance.
South Dakota: On April 2, 2020 – Governor Kristi Noem issued Executive Order 2020-08. Like some of the other states, it has no provision on real estate.
Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 22 on March 30, 2020. Your business is essential if it is listed either in Executive Order No. 22 or the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Texas: The state also adopts the guideline set by US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
Utah: On April 9, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert extended the Stay Safe, Stay Home directive through the end of April. As of this writing, the Utah Association of Realtors (UAR) has submitted their request to include real estate as essential.
Vermont: On April 10, 2020, Governor Phil Scott issued a clarification on existing guidance regarding real estate sales and brokerage. This is to ensure guidance applies to all real estate sales, including those for sale by owner. Also, online real estate sites must notify potential sellers and purchasers that all in-person real estate transactions are temporarily suspended. Real estate functions that can be conducted online, by phone, or email may continue.
Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53 (2020), but did not specifically identify real estate services as essential or nonessential.
“Although business operations offering professional rather than retail services may remain open, they should utilize teleworking as much as possible. Exercise social distancing, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and apply the relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities”.-Gov Northam
Washington: On March 27, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued Real Estate and Mortgage Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20- 25).
“While real estate activities along with mortgage lending activities have been approved as essential activities under the Proclamation, such activities shall only be permitted under the following restrictions and limitations:
a) In-person meetings with customers are prohibited except when necessary for a customer to view a property or sign necessary documents;
b) No real estate open houses shall be permitted;
c) Property viewings, inspections, appraisals, and final walk-throughs shall be arranged by appointment and limited to no more than two people on-site at any one time, exercising social distancing at all times; and
d) Except for the limited exceptions authorized above, all new real estate listings shall be facilitated remotely.”
West Virginia: Governor Jim Justice issued a Stay at Home order effective March 24, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. The order directs all West Virginians to stay at home and limit movements outside of their homes beyond essential needs. Also, the Stay-at-Home order relies on essential workforce guidance provided by the US DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Essential services include Residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services as of March 28, 2020.
On March 25, 2020, Governor Tony Evers and Secretary Andrea Palm define essential services in Emergency Order #12: “Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurance services, real estate services (including appraisal, home inspection, and title services). These services shall, to the greatest extent possible, use technology to avoid meeting in person, including virtual meetings, teleconference, and remote work (i.e., work from home).”
Wyoming: Governor Mark Gordon and State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist have extended the three existing statewide health orders through April 30, 2020. This is to slow community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect lives, but no specific advice on real estate.
Reminders for Real Estate Consumers:
Everyone is encouraged to stay informed by regularly visiting the CDC’s website. And also to comply with local and state government orders regarding coronavirus-related restrictions. You may also want to take a quick look at CDC’s travel guide within the US. The National Association of Realtors® has also issued guidelines for buyers agents, seller’s agents, and consumers.
For a current list of each state and when lockdowns are expected to be lifted, visit: https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/coronavirus/heres-when-every-state-plans-to-end-their-coronavirus-lockdown
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