Guidance from the California Association of REALTORS® Per Governor Newsom's "Stay-at-Home" Order
March 23, 2020
As many of you are aware, the California Association of REALTORS® (CAR) released a new set of guidelines on Friday after the Governor’s “stay-at-home” order. Of particular interest to most of you is that: "REALTORS® should cease doing all face-to-face marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections.”
We have recommended the same, but CAR makes it clear that private, in-person showings should cease for now. As we have recommended, showings should be done virtually. You are able to check on your “inventory” or listings and, when you do, you should record a virtual tour. It’s a good time to sharpen your video skills.
We are all in the same boat so it serves everyone’s interest to act responsibly and carefully. Respect the Mayor Breed and Governor Newsom's orders. If you have a situation that requires personal attention at your listing or on a property you have in contract, speak to your Broker or Manager as to how best to handle the situation. It is no time to go rogue.
Lastly, there is a lot of chatter on all of our social networking sites. Please treat each other respectfully and think about what you are about to say online before you hit “post”. You may regret it later and may not be able to take it back.
The situation remains very fluid and will undoubtedly change as the week progresses. We will do our best to keep you updated as changes pertain to our industry. Please also know that everyone on the SFAR Leadership Team as well as the staff at our Association are working around the clock to keep you updated and operations functioning smoothly. Please do them the courtesy of thanking them instead of being critical. Everyone is doing their best in an unbelievable situation.
Guidance from CAR as of March 20, 2020 per Governor Newsom's "stay-at-home" order:
“Yesterday Governor Newsom and the State Public Health Officer issued Executive Order N-33-20 requiring all Californians to stay home except as needed to maintain continuity of operations in 16 infrastructure sectors. This supersedes all existing local city and county orders that are less restrictive. The real estate industry is not exempt from this prohibition except as needed to maintain “continuity of operation … of … construction, including housing construction.” Therefore, REALTORS® should cease doing all face-to-face marketing or sales activities, including showings, listing appointments, open houses and property inspections. Clients and other consumers are also subject to these orders and should not be visiting properties or conducting other business in person.
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.”
Impact on MLS Statuses, Showing Instructions and DOM
In light of the Governor’s order on March 19, 2020, it would be appropriate for the MLS listing status to be changed by the listing agent to hold or withdraw— but if the listing agreement is still in effect, one would not select cancelled.
Also, it would be reasonable under the circumstances, if so desired, for an MLS in its discretion to alter its usual showing instructions and/or DOM approach, either by taking a unilateral approach systematically in the MLS or simply to offer participants the option to alter their status designation into a field that suspends the clock, ex: hold or the like in one’s system. An MLS could also decide to make no changes to its offerings because it's a given that all California listings are subject to this same order of March 19, 2020, such that those active during this time would be assessed in the same light.
If an MLS does alter or suspend the DOM, keep in mind, however, portals like Zillow, Realtor.com and others that also calculate their own DOM might not be changing their DOM calculations. That raises the concern of having two differing, publicly available DOM sources, possibly causing the buying public to lose confidence in the MLS reporting and/or creating potential liability situations for agents for inaccurate reporting. Thus, if an MLS does decide to pause the DOM calculations, best practice would be to keep measuring things both ways so that future evaluation of this current marketplace will be possible. When this is all over, it will still be important to keep an accurate tracking of what happened, so even if the DOM clock stops, the CDOM clock should keep going so the total picture is still there.