Real Estate Operational Guidance Under COVID-19

CTAR would like to recognize the incredible team effort in getting clarification on functions of real estate being classified as an essential service in the City of Charleston’s “stay at home” ordinance. We are focused on supporting you and your business during this crisis.

We would like to be explicitly clear about one thing: “Essential Services” DOES NOT mean “business as usual” and is certainly not all-inclusive to all real estate functions, regardless of the area you are practicing in.

While the legal and financial components of the real estate transaction have been preserved, we do not in any way advise “business as usual” during this time. Showings, listing presentations and open houses can and should be conducted virtually.

We remind you of your ethical duty to protect the public, your clients and we all have a responsibility to protect our communities. Pause and consider the gravity of the decisions you are making and the liability you are opening yourself up to if you take clients to a property (which we advise against) or are having in-person interactions. Is a transaction worth the risk of anyone getting sick and potentially becoming fatally ill?

Given the ease of access to technology resources, you can and should conduct your business virtually during this time.  

In addition to CHS MLS’ decision to relax specific Rules + Regulations to allow for enhanced use of virtual tools to help users to serve their clients safely, they have added the ability for you to schedule virtual open houses and tours of homes. You can use any online communication service or event tool, such as Facebook, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams, to schedule a live online walkthrough of the home. Read more about this powerful new resource.

Other suggestions for best practices to avoid in-person contact:
| Buyers should thoroughly view the pictures online first to see if the home meets their needs.  Most listing agents upload enough pictures to get a good idea of what a home looks like.

| Buyers should ask their agent questions that the photos don’t address and the agent should reach out to the listing agent to confirm answers.

| Use virtual tours, Facetime, Zoom and other technologies to replace showings and/or listing appointments

NAR has also offered a thorough list of specific transactional guidance to assist you during this time.

We ask all members to consider the gravity of the situation unfolding and conduct yourself and your business in an appropriate, professional and courteous manner. This includes phone calls, emails, text messages and social media postings.

Please consider what you’re posting in social spaces during this unprecedented time and how it might be received by those who are sick, unexpectedly unemployed or otherwise struggling during this time. We ask that you err on the side of safety and kindness.

We have a wonderful Realtor® family in Charleston and this is the time for us to come together, to support each other, and to support our communities. Local businesses are struggling, particularly those in the hospitality space—consider how you or your business might support others during this time.

Our communities have faced adversity before and as we have always done, we will come through this stronger, together.

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