The NC Governor issued the Executive Order #120 following his press conference yesterday Click Here to Read
The NC Home Builders Association and the NC Realtors® Association are part of a larger group effort of individuals and groups, including Attorneys, Mortgage Bankers, Title Companies and Credit Unions working toward having real estate deemed an essential service. While this Order does not achieve that, it does contain the following:
Section 2 of the Order is entitled “Mandatory Local Government Operations” and provides that “to the extent that local government functions are required under state and federal law, I hereby direct the appropriate local government agencies and officials to continue to exercise their responsibilities, including but not limited to local county Department of Social Services (“DDS”) offices, Health Departments, Registers of Deeds, and other local government functions that are required to protect lives and property.”
There has been a concern that Register of Deeds offices across the state were going to close due to the COVID-19 crisis. While we know that most county Register of Deeds offices are willing to work with us, the Governor’s order today makes it clear that these vital services will remain available to our industry.
As it should, the order also makes it clear,
“local governments must take appropriate precautions to maintain the heath of the public and their employees who are required to perform their official duties in a manner that brings them in contact with the general public by putting in place appropriate public health measures, such as social distancing, use of reasonable personal protective equipment, and offering reasonable accommodations to employees who provide services to the public with consideration for their health.”
This is great news for the industry but it is just a piece of what needs to be done.
The group will continue to push to make real estate an essential service. For Realtors®, “Essential Service” is defined as “essential operations vital to real estate transactions. These services include, but are not limited to, title searches, permitting, inspections, construction and especially the transfer and recordation of ownership.” These services are focused on getting contracts to closing and do not include the normal business activities of Realtors® such as physically showing listed property, holding open houses, etc. Buying and selling, making offers etc., could conceivably still occur virtually, but NC Realtors® is not requesting the agents be allowed to conduct business as usual during this crisis.
There is also an effort to work on getting the following:
  • Relief (temporary) from the requirements of the Good Funds Settlement Act
  • Relief (at least temporary) from certain extra education requirements for Notaries to electronically notarize
  • Support of the NC Bar
  • Educating Attorneys
  • Outreach to attorney liability carriers
As for Closings, the NC Joint Forms committee which includes the Real Property Section of the NC Bar, the NC Real Estate Commission and NC Realtors® approved an addendum to the Offer To Purchase (attached) to allow closing to be continued past the final date in the OTP. I will follow up with SC Realtors® to see if they have done something similar.
There are also several efforts happening at the federal level which both NAR and the NAHB are involved.
  • Banks and financing issues
  • Liability issues
  • Appraisals for FHA and other loans
  • Notary issues
Canopy has established a website that houses information related to COVID-19. https://www.carolinarealtors.com/covid-19-updates
We will keep you informed as often as we can. Stay healthy & safe!