The State has lifted the ban on residential and commercial property showings, declaring certain real estate functions as “essential” during the coronavirus crisis.
“Our industry has been given a great responsibility in this time of crisis to help meet the needs of New York’s residential and commercial property buyers and owners, and the overall welfare of the local and state economy,” said Jennifer Stevenson, president of the New York State Association of Realtors.
“But our priority must be to the safety of our customers, clients and indeed for ourselves, as we all continue to practice socially responsible distancing that is helping to flatten the curve during this national health crisis. Our mantra must be ‘safety first, work second.’”
The Empire State Development agency clarified that residential and commercial showings along with back office real estate work, appraisal services and home inspections are essential real estate functions effective immediately.
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.
The executive order permits residential home and commercial office showings; home inspections; and residential appraisers. Back-office real estate work is deemed essential, although brokers are being urged to use utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures where possible.
“This designation is a recognition by the state that real estate licensees, real estate home inspectors and real estate appraisers provide a critical service to New York, which is vital to the well-being not only of New Yorkers but also for New York’s local and state economy,” said NYSAR in a statement.
“However, as you prepare to conduct those services for your clients that have been deemed essential, NYSAR reminds all its members that they must fully comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” directive, which says that 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.”
Eddie Shapiro, CEO and founder of Nest Seekers, welcomed the news, but cautioned, “There are still great challenges we continue to face with many, if not most, buildings individually not allowing access and showings. Shelter in place instructions also continue to be a struggle both mentally and physically for agents, as well as prospective buyers.”
“Our back offices never actually closed, they were available both virtually and from home. But this decision is definitely a step in the right direction. Moving forward we will be keeping in mind the safety of our agents and our clients first and foremost. We are proceeding with an abundance of caution as we try to navigate these times.”