Governor Inslee Issues New Guidance for Real Estate Brokers
On March 27, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a memorandum clarifying the restrictions placed on the real estate and mortgage industries in his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The memorandum sets forth guidance and restrictions by which real estate professionals, sellers, and buyers can continue to operate while they attempt to navigate the myriad transactions that are pending or in the offing.
Governor Inslee’s memorandum outlines that pending transactions should be allowed to close, and closings should be accomplished by electronic means whenever possible emphasizing social distancing practices. Real estate activities have been deemed essential under the Governor’s proclamation, but with the following restrictions:
- In-person meetings with customers are prohibited except when necessary for the customer to execute documents or view a property;
- No open houses (other than virtual) are permitted;
- All property viewings, appraisals, inspections, and walk-throughs shall be by appointment only, and have no more than two people on site at a time (exercising social distancing practices);
- All new listings shall be facilitated remotely.
Within these limitations, it remains allowable to engage in real estate sales, appraisals, closings, settlements, inspections, mortgage origination and processing, underwriting, and government processing and recording necessary to complete transactions.
In these uncertain times, it is important for real estate industry professionals to remain agile and adaptable in order to move transactions towards closing despite the circumstances. Please contact one of Helsell Fetterman’s Land Use and Real Estate attorneys with any questions or if you would like to learn more.