Notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic, we wanted to share with you how we are currently handling our business. On March 23, Governor Ralph Northam released Executive Order 53, which required some businesses to close for the following 30 days – real estate business not included. Realtors® may continue to operate real estate businesses, but must do so in accordance with Executive Order 55 released on March 30, 2020. Although we are all taking precautionary measures, we wanted to reach out to those of you who might be in a situation where you need to take action on real estate matters and are wondering if it’s permissible. It is. We continue to operate although in a slightly different manner. And we are here to guide you and assist you if you need our services. Here are a some frequently asked questions:
Am I allowed to sell now?
If I decide to sell, can I refuse access to my house?
Under current relaxed guidelines by the local MLS, in-person or onsite showings are not required and homeowners reserve the right to prevent people from physically entering the property. Active properties must be available through either listing photos, virtual tours, virtual showings, or to otherwise be available for a walk-through before closing. Talk to your Realtor® to explain what you are comfortable with and determine a plan for how you would like to show your property.
If you ratify a contract, the seller may be required to provide reasonable access to the property for buyers, buyers’ representatives, inspectors and appraisers. As your Realtors® we can discuss what precautions that can be taken in order to ensure that all parties are observing best safety practices when accessing the house. The requirements of being present in person to sign at settlement has been modified at this point as well and we are happy to share more details about this through our trusted title companies.
What other options do I have to protect myself, my family and my community?
In order to comply with the 10-person guideline set forth by Executive Order 53, we may suggest cancelling any planned open houses. Open houses have the potential to violate the Governor’s order and could pose an unnecessary risk to the public. Individual showings are allowed, while reducing potential exposure as much as possible. We are also able to show your property virtually under current relaxed guidelines. If the need arises to conduct business in person, we will do so following the CDC-recommended rules dictating social distancing, cleaning and other means.
Most, if not all, real estate sales contracts are now signed remotely. While this practice is commonplace, many don’t realize that Virginia law also permits remote notarization (commonly known as “e-notarization.”) While many lenders have historically required in-person (“wet”) signatures on promissory notes, your lender may be willing to permit remote notarization as part of their COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts. Check with your lender for more information. Also, many Virginia Circuit Courts offer electronic recordation of certain land records such as deeds and deeds of trust. Check with your local Circuit Court or a settlement agent for more information.
What if I, or someone in my household, test positive for COVID-19?
For our Buyers
Although we continue taking precautionary measures by working from home, some of you might find yourselves in a situation where you need to continue your search for a new place to live.
We are able to assist you in this endeavor by performing virtual showings of occupied homes, using FaceTime, Skype or similar app. Visiting vacant properties is done is such a way that permits buyers to keep their distance with only a couple of people in the house at one time. We are using masks and gloves and have equipped ourselves with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer ready for use to wipe down doorknobs and light switches and any surfaces that might get increased traffic. We also ask people not to touch anything inside the homes that we are visiting. CALL US so we can explain how we can go about assisting you.
Lastly, we want to thank you for your continued support. We will get through this together and come out stronger on the other end because that is who we are as a team and a community. Please do not hesitate to call and let us know if we can help in any way, not just with real estate. We are happy to assist with shopping and delivering necessities as well. We will do what we can to find the right resources to assist you.
Sending you our best wishes, 6 feet apart.
Eve and Viveca