To ease any confusion, Maryland REALTORS® has worked hard with the brokerage community to develop a set of guidelines, which have been reviewed by the Administration. These are presented as best practices; if your attorney or broker has a different policy, follow that. We will continue to monitor this continuously evolving situation and will provide updates as necessary.
As REALTORS®, we have the honor of serving people who want to buy and sell homes. We care about our clients, our communities, and our colleagues. Nothing in recent memory has brought this into sharper focus than the COVID-19 pandemic.
As discussed below, providing real estate services has been deemed essential in Maryland, permitting brokerages to conduct business during this time. With that right comes the responsibility of doing so in a safe manner.
Governor Hogan issued a statewide “Stay at Home Order” (the “Order”) that became effective at 8 pm, Monday, March 30, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus that requires the closure of all “non-essential businesses.” Except for staff and owners maintaining minimal operations, all workers that are considered non-essential must work only remotely.
Governor Hogan’s Order incorporates federal guidance, which includes residential and commercial real estate services as “essential,” an acknowledgment of the vital nature of providing housing to the public. The Governor’s Order also emphasizes the overriding importance of protecting public health through staying home and physical distancing. The real estate brokerage industry shares the Governor’s priorities. Our paramount concern is the safety of the public and prevention of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The following guidelines outline procedures that will allow us to continue to do business in a way that is mindful of the unique risks we are all facing. It is our responsibility to follow these guidelines so that we and our and clients are protected. If we cannot adopt these safe practices, the industry may face additional restrictions or even a complete prohibition on providing real estate services.
Accordingly, real estate licensees will limit personal interactions to the greatest extent possible and will engage in-person only when necessary, and follow these strict protocols:
- In-person activities must be by appointment only.
- No more than three (3) people, including the agent, may be at a property at any one time.
- Those three persons must strictly follow physical distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
Real estate licensees who strictly follow the above protocols are permitted to engage in the following in-person activities related to the purchase and sale of homes:
- Conduct listing presentations, take property photos, and create virtual tours for new listings.
- Facilitate signing of contract documents.
- Preview and show listings by appointment only.
- Facilitate photography/videography, inspections, appraisals, buyer “walk-throughs,” and key delivery.
All other real estate brokerage services will be limited to services we can provide remotely. There are risks associated with leaving the safety of your home and viewing homes for sale, as well as having prospective buyers enter the seller’s home. Buyers and sellers must be attentive to and abide by the mandates and guidelines from public health officials and work with their real estate agent to make informed decisions about listing, selling, and purchasing real property. REALTORS® will exercise their best judgment under the circumstances to provide advice regarding all aspects of the current real estate market.
For the latest information and updates, please visit the Maryland REALTORS website