California Realtors told to stop home showings, open houses

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The California Association of Realtors told its members Friday to stop all face-to-face sales activities including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections due to coronavirus concerns.

Thursday's "stay at home" order from Gov. Gavin Newsom did not exempt home selling, the association noted. The order aims to keep more people away from each other and help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Only "essential" industries can continue to operate, the order says. That includes home construction, the association noted. In recent weeks the industry had been trying to sell existing homes with lots of hand sanitizer and "social distancing" before Newsom upped restrictions.

"This supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive," the association states in its advisory. "Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person."

This order is another blow to the suddenly troubled housing market. The buying pace that recovered in 2019's second half looks to be short-lived.

Massive layoffs are projected for many industries following numerous virus-related limitations. The bleak employment picture likely will cut the number of qualified house hunters and scare off potential buyers.

The association's advisory added that "property management and repair work, which generally involves maintaining sanitary and safety conditions is permissible. Additionally, many other aspects of the real estate industry can continue to occur without in-person contact, including documentation and signing, and in many circumstances, closings. Other activities may also be managed remotely, though there may be some difficulties."

Lisa Dunn, a real estate agent with her Laurel Real Estate Resources in Rancho Santa Margarita, was disappointed to hear the news of a sales shutdown but was thankful for the clarity of the association's message. She will stop person-to-person selling but continue to close the sales she has in the works.

She's hoping the sales limitations are brief because she's got several potential deals brewing.

"We'll be ready to fly out of the gate," she said Friday evening.

Tribune Content Agency
Housing market Coronavirus Real estate California Association of Realtors California
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