BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Kern County realtors and their clients are having to change the way they do business because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 28 The California Association of Realtors received an advisory memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, deeming realtors essential workers.
The memo says residential and commercial real estate, including settlement services, are now an essential service in California.
The group falls under the category of residential and shelter facilities and services.
Ronda Newport, President of the Bakersfield Association of REALTORS, says they have over 2,000 members that have been impacted by the outbreak.
"That did change us, but only in the way that we have transactions we can complete," Newport said. "It’s not business as usual, it's still restrictive."
When asked if this applied to new transactions or just ones that are already in process, Newport says they are still awaiting clarification from C.A.R.
The Association of Realtors states open houses are prohibited.
It stresses "if such health safeguards and protocols are not followed, the rule for the state could easily change to stop or restrict all real estate activity."
So relators are finding new ways to function and are relying on the internet.
Many clients now have several options for home walkthroughs. Those options include conducting them by themselves, via video chat, or they can waive it.
"Some of the things that members have had to get used to is trying to get those listings in a virtual capacity," said Newport. "Whether it's a 3D or regular tour that you can do with your pictures and make them into a virtual tour. Otherwise, just getting them so that the clients can see and feel like they are part of the home."
Newport says she believes the change for realtors to become essential workers is to address the previous and ongoing housing crisis in California.