It’s today | as midnight approaches

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As we approach midnight tonight – the timeline to which we will all need to comply with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order – a few items to further digest. I can’t stress enough – the information continues to be fluid and changing however I’m very impressed with Washington REALTORS (WR) direct & consistent communication with Governor Inslee as we continue to navigate & adjust.  If you haven’t yet seen WR attorney Annie Fitzsimmons STAY HOME video – here it is.

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GOVERNOR INSLEE ISSUES PROCLAMATION IMMEDIATELY ALLOWING REMOTE NOTARIZATION

Last night, Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation to allow remote notarization in Washington State.  This action addresses a priority request from Washington REALTORS® and other organizations to enable real estate and other transactions to proceed using remote/electronic means. The Order accelerated the October 1, 2020 effective date of broadly-supported remote notary legislation passed by the Legislature in 2019. Like other emergency orders, it is effective for 30 days and so WR will continue working with the Governor’s Office, and if necessary, the Legislature, to ensure that remote notarization can continue.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

One of the member questions we have received is whether REALTORS® are eligible for either (1) state unemployment benefits; or (2) federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”). Short answer:

The National Association of REALTORS® is working on this issue with the goal of ensuring that REALTORS® are eligible for DUA in those states with federally-declared disasters, and we are in daily contact with NAR and will send information to our members in Washington State when more is known about this issue.

And a message from WR CEO…

“CAN I COMPLETE A WALK THROUGH?”

WR Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons is addressing coronavirus questions through the Legal Hotline. Log in to the Legal Hotline on WR’s website and select the category “Coronavirus” and then “Search” to review some of the most frequently asked questions from the last few days. If you have a question for the Legal Hotline (WR members only), email your question to legalhotline@warealtor.org.

  • QUESTION #1: Can we do a final walk through on a vacant home prior to closing or does that need to hold up closing as well?
  • ANSWER: Assisting the parties to conduct a walk-thru is consistent with the provision of RE Brokerage Services which are NOT deemed an essential service under the Governor’s order. On its face, it would appear that broker is not permitted to assist parties with conducting a walk-thru. However, the right to conduct a walk-thru is a contractual right for which buyer bargained. As a result, the consequences of a broker refusing to facilitate a walk-thru could be significant. The Washington REALTORS is attempting to seek guidance from the Governor’s office on this specific issue but until that guidance is given, broker should work with his managing broker to determine how broker will proceed with this issue, on a transaction by transaction basis, and consult legal counsel as necessary. With respect to delivery of keys to the buyer/new owner of the home, broker should engage in this activity in isolation of the buyer. The Governor’s order allows individuals to take a walk. While broker is not actually taking a walk and while the Legal Hotline is not condoning ways to work around the order, this answer attempts to combine two accurate statements. First, a buyer/new owner cannot be denied access to their new home for two weeks because a buyer broker cannot access the key from the key box hanging on the property and deliver that key to the buyer. Second, Washingtonians are free to take a walk while respecting necessary social distancing measures. Combining these two separate, but equally true statements … brokers should individually access the key from the key box on the seller’s property and then, deliver the key to buyer while limiting contact with the buyer. The key can be delivered to the buyer’s home and placed under the door mat, for example, or delivered to some neutral location, such as the front desk of the hotel where buyer is residing.
  • QUESTION #2: I have a home inspection tomorrow (before the Stay Home order goes into effect). If items are found for repair, will those be allowed as they would in a rental?
  • ANSWER: Repair activities are allowed during the pendency of the Stay Home order for emergency repairs and repairs necessary to the structural integrity of the residence. Repairs for aesthetic purposes, and the like, are not allowed. For anything other than emergency or structural integrity issues, buyer would be well served to negotiate a reduction in price and/or seller’s payment of some portion of buyer’s closing costs as compensation for the repair, rather than trying to require seller to make the repair prior to closing. Buyer can then use the saved funds to make the repair, after closing, if that is what buyer chooses to do.

Dear Members,

We have received hundreds of questions and requests for clarification on a wide range of topics related to the Governor’s order. We hear you and are taking your questions to the Governor’s office. Please send additional questions to comment@warealtor.org. Even if we are unable to respond to each individual email immediately, your comments are being aggregated to be addressed. Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented event and please know that we are working diligently to get the answers you need. Stay tuned and keep reading these daily updates to stay current on developments as they happen.

Steve Francks, WR CEO

Back to TODAY, with Laura…

Look for the “Daily Update from Washington REALTORS®” in your inbox; clutter; junk. I shared bits + pieces of today’s “Daily Update” above and direct you back to your email to find the full meal deal (there is more). I’m impressed with the information they are able to timely turn around and provide us. Another source of over communicating within this environment.

Midnight TODAY is coming. Are you ready? Do you need clarity in how to operate within your business? Connect with your owner; manager or ping my cell – we are all in this together.

Ps; be looking for continued “Mondays with Matthew Gardner” on the HUB. Weekly digestible bites there too on the economics of all. *if you haven’t add the HUB app to your phone; consider doing so.

“Stay Home, Stay Healthy” and Stay Grateful. 

Committed to “calm + caring thru crisis.” All in, for you. All in, for us.

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