In this episode, I provide an update on the county's changes to the Shelter in Place order. Click "play" above to hear the episode.
It's Saturday, April fourth and as expected Monterey county has modified their Shelter in Place order with some significant changes that affect real estate. The first thing to note is that the modified Shelter in Place extends the Shelter in Place period through the third of May with, of course, the possibility of it being extended even further.
As it relates to real estate, they have actually opened a small window for some real estate activity to occur which was not true under the original order. The order now reads that service providers that enable residential transactions, so that would be people like myself, real estate agents, leasing agents, notaries, escrow officers, can continue to work with some pretty significant constraints. The order states that appointments should be virtual whenever possible. In those instances when a virtual appointment doesn't work the order does now allow for some limited showings of vacant properties. It's important to note that the property has to be vacant, these are not properties that are occupied by a tenant or an owner. In addition, there is an additional restriction in that these properties can only be shown to two people at a time both of whom have to be members of the same household.
So, the gist of the order appears to be that occupied homes whether that's by a tenant or an owner cannot be shown. In in all instances where it's possible virtual appointment should be the rule of the day, whether that's a zoom meeting with your escrow officer or a zoom meeting with me or another realtor, looking at photos of a home, or a virtual tour that's the preferred option.
If the home is vacant and a virtual appointment isn't feasible, then the vacant property can be shown however in those instances the people that are coming to see the property have to be from the same household and there can be no more than two people.
In addition to the rules that are outlined in the Shelter in Place order, most of us here on the Monterey Peninsula are also pre-qualifying buyers before showing vacant properties. For example, I have a showing coming up of a vacant property with some buyers and their agent but before agreeing to show the property I verified that the potential buyers have reviewed all of the photos, they have reviewed all of the reports and disclosures we've sent (which includes a home inspection) and that their agent his prequalified them with a lender, so I know that they actually are able to make the purchase should they like the property.
I think we're going to see those kinds of hurdles in place for quite a while on showings of vacant properties now. When we can show occupied properties I suspect the same hurdles will be in place and may even be more stringent.
That's the update on our ability to show a property.
Another thing in the order I think his interest is they have obviously recognized the people need to move. The order now makes clear that you can move residences but only if it is not possible to differ an already planned move and if the move is necessitated by safety sanitation or habitability reasons. If the movie is necessary to preserve access to shelter or necessary to secure employment in an essential service.
This is an important change. I know of both buyers and sellers who are stuck. Sellers who can't move out of a home they've sold and buyers who can't move in because of the Shelter in Place order. This seems to have given them a window of opportunity to complete that move.
There’re some other interesting things in the order as well. Contractors are much more constrained now in the kinds of construction they can undertake. And, interestingly landscapers are limited as well. The order specifically prohibits landscaping for purposes of maintenance or beauty and only allows it for fire and safety.
It's a fairly interesting read. Here is a link to the order. The changes from the original order have been highlighted.
As always, I'm available to answer your questions or engage in conversation on this or any other topic. Feel free to drop me an email or give me a call and these days we can even set up a Zoom call. Thanks for listening.