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NC REALTORS® COVID-19 STATUS UPDATES

In light of the current situation, it is important that we provide you with updates on the goings-on in the state’s real estate industry. So, we created the STATUS UPDATE page that we will update every time we feel that it is necessary to get you important information.

Over the past few days, NC REALTORS® has been working to respond to many issues facing the state’s real estate industry. While we recognize that the coming days will be challenging, we will get through them.

NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least the end of March. You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information. The NC REALTORS Legal Hotline will remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. To contact the Legal Hotline, email legalhotline@ncrealtors.org. The NC REALTORS® Tech Helpline is also Monday – Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612) or visiting TechHelpLine.com.

UPDATE: March 27, 2020

In today’s STATUS UPDATE we provide you with more information about the local stay-at-home orders in areas across the state. We will also give you additional insight into the relief legislation passed by the Congress earlier today.

Stay safe and continue to monitor all of the information which is being distributed by health officials.

Governor Cooper Issues Statewide Order

Today, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121 which implements a statewide “shelter in place” directive, effective Monday, March 30 at 5:00 PM. This order will remain in effect for thirty (30) days unless otherwise repealed. While this is a significant measure, it is a vital step in the effort to assist in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The full list of measures implemented in Executive Order 121 are found here.

Included in section 25 of the order, real estate services, including brokerage, appraisal and title services, ARE included under essential business operations. This is a HUGE win for our industry, our clients, and the state economy. We sincerely appreciate the support shown by Governor Cooper through this order!

Here is the specific language of Section 25 on page 8 of the order:

Professional services. Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, professional engineering and architectural services, land surveying services, real estate services (including brokerage, appraisal and title services) and tax preparation services.

We also thank the Governor for his statement encouraging local governments who have or will implement their own orders to conform with the state standards. As we have seen over the past few days, local governments have issued a variety of different orders which have led to a lot of confusion for our members and citizens alike.

“In these difficult times, we are extremely appreciative of Governor Cooper’s efforts to allow our industry to continue serving our clients,” said Maren Brisson-Kuester, 2020 NC REALTORS® President. “As our economy is experiencing such significant turmoil, it is great that providing people with shelter has been given this level of priority. But remember, while we have been granted these abilities, it does not mean that you don’t have to abide by the health and safety guidelines. If you can work remotely, do it! Above all else, stay safe!”

For the past ten days, the NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team, in partnership with local associations across the state, has been working diligently to demonstrate the importance of the real estate industry. We have engaged with the Governor’s office and local government officials to develop and clarify orders issues to ensure that real estate services are included in their orders.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even though this order allows your business activities to continue, YOU MUST abide by ALL CDC and NCDHHS health and safety guidelines! Make sure to maintain social distancing and proper hygiene practices in all of your interactions. If you can do your work remotely, DO IT!

NC REALTORS® has put together multiple resource guides which are available at ncrealtors.org/coronavirusupdate.

More Stay-at-Home Orders Issued

In yesterday’s Update, we provide you with a list of the orders which had been released to-date. Following distribution, two other orders, in Wake and Gaston counties, were released. Below you will find links to these new orders.

Gaston County (March 26)
Wake County (March 26)

Both of these orders do allow real estate services to continue during this time. As more information and additional orders are released, we will provide them to you.

Congress Passes Important Relief Legislation

Earlier today, the United States House of Representatives approved the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” also known as the CARES Act. A $2 trillion economic relief package, it includes multiple important provisions for the housing industry, and specifically, REALTORS. The bill now moves to President Trump who is expected to sign it.

NAR has put together a complete explanation of all of the provisions of the more than 900-page bill.

**Please note that NAR and NC REALTORS staff are still reviewing the approved grants and loans authorized under this legislation. Additional guidance will be provided to members as soon as it becomes available.

Here are a couple of quick highlights:

  • $350 billion for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program—These loans will allow businesses with less than 500 employees access to up to $10 million for use towards mortgage interest, rent, utilities, and payroll costs. A portion of these loans will also be forgivable. REALTORS, independent contractors, and those living on commission-based income WILL be eligible for these loans.
  • One-time payments to individuals and married couples—The legislation approved a one-time payment of $1,200 to most individuals, $2,400 to married couples, and $500 per child. There are some income caps which may limit the amount an individual will receive.
  • Affordable Housing Support—Included in the bill are billions of dollars to support affordable housing programs like Section 8 rental assistance ($1.2 billion), project-based rental assistance ($1 billion), and a foreclosure moratorium on all federally-backed mortgage loans for 60 days (until May 18, 2020). There is also a moratorium on eviction filings for nonpayment of rent for 120 days on properties covered under federal programs.
  • Dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance—The legislation expands the unemployment insurance benefit period to up to 39 weeks (known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance), extending it to independent contractors for the first time. NAR is still reviewing the specifics under this proposal and will be providing more information soon.
  • Mortgage Forbearance—Borrowers of government-backed mortgages can request up to a 360-day payment forbearance without any proof of hardship.
  • Broadband Pilot Program—The legislation provides $100 million for a grant program to fund construction and upgrade costs for broadband networks in rural areas.

Keep Your Mind and Skills Sharp Next Week

Learn new skills and enhance your ability to keep your business going in these uncertain times. Take advantage of one of these discounted or free online training opportunities:

  • Financial Tips During Challenging Times: A Business Survival GuideTune in March 30 at 2PM to learn about steps you can take to build an emergency savings fund to protect your business and stay ahead of market trends. Register now>>
  • Helping Your Agent Through an Economic Market Downturn: Survival Guide for Brokers Tune in April 2 at 2PM. This webinar will address ways you can help your agents get financially prepared for challenging times, while uncovering new ways to protect your business. Register now>>
  • How To Be a Virtual Agent Tune in April 3 at 3PM. Jeremias “JMan” Maneiro of JMan Seminars will discuss the how to’s of virtual open houses and virtual buyer consultations. Register now>>
  • Coronavirus Playbook: Building Your Business During QuarantineThe Boom Team will be hosting a FREE webinar March 30 through April 3. Learn personal habits/routines you should build NOW, that will impact your life and business well AFTER the quarantine is over. Can’t join live? There WILL be a replay, but only if you register! Sign up for the day/time that works best for you here.
  • 30% off ALL Center for REALTOR® Development Online Courses
  • 50% off At Home with Diversity Course (CE Included)
  • Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA (CE Included) FREE
  • e-PRO® Certification Course FREE

NC REALTORS® Offices

As a reminder, NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least April 10.

You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information. The NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline will remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. To contact the Legal Hotline, email legalhotline@ncrealtors.org. The NC REALTORS® Tech Helpline is also Monday – Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612) or visiting TechHelpLine.com.

UPDATE: March 26, 2020
March 26, 2020

In today’s NC REALTORS® STATUS UPDATE email we take a look at many of the stay-at-home orders which have been issued by local governments across the state over the past 48 hours. NC REALTORS® staff is diligently monitoring all of these actions and working with the local associations in the affected areas to get more detailed information out to members.

Stay safe and continue to monitor all of the information which is being distributed by health officials.

Please note that all of this content is available on the STATUS UPDATE page on ncrealtors.org.

Message from Maren

Stay-at-Home Orders

As of the time of distribution, there are 18 municipal or county orders which have either closed access to or designated “stay-at-home” protocols. There are also other orders, especially in the beach communities, which cease all “short-term rentals” in an effort to limit access to permanent/long-term residents in the area.

Links to each of these orders is included under the “Current Closures and Shelter Orders” tab of the resource page.

The following municipalities or counties have issued orders:

Each of these orders includes some similarities to one another, while all remaining somewhat different. The NC REALTORS® Government Affairs team has been reviewing each of these orders as they are issued and working with the respective local associations in the affected areas to distribute information to members. They are also working with local governments to resolve some of the language at issue regarding real estate services.

In general, with some limited exceptions, there have been limitations placed on real estate activities in each area.

Here are some examples of how real estate has been addressed in the different orders:

  • Legal services are allowed to continue in all of the orders issued. There are also significant allowances for financial services to continue in compliance with federal guidance.
  • In language used by the Mecklenburg and Guilford County Commissions, as well as the City of Durham, is a limitation that real estate services be restricted to appraisal and title services (see the March 24 STATUS UPDATE for more details on the Mecklenburg County order).
  • The Pitt County order includes the following language in reference to real estate services—”real estate services, but only when necessary to assist in compliance with time sensitive or legally mandated activities.”
  • The City of Winston-Salem’s order listed real estate services as follows as well—”real estate transactions and services including, but not limited to, real estate brokerage services, appraisal and title services.”

Broadly speaking, we have also seen no specific order which closes Registers of Deeds offices following Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 120 directing them to remain open.

Statewide Stay-at-Home Orders

As all of these local orders have been issued, the question has been raised: Why hasn’t Governor Cooper issued a statewide “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” order like has been seen in other states?

In his public statement, Governor Cooper has been clear that his team is reviewing all options to protect the safety of North Carolinians and continue to try to flatten the curve of this virus.

While no details are available regarding any potential statewide orders, on March 18, NC REALTORS® President Maren Brisson-Kuester sent a letter to the Governor asking him to include real estate services as an essential business in any future order. NC REALTORS® staff continues to have conversations with the Governor’s team and will provide more information as it becomes available.

Video Q&A Now Available for Form 790-COVID-19 Addendum to the 2T-Offer to Purchase and Contract

On Friday, March 20, 2020, NC REALTORS® published Form 790-COVID-19 Addendum to the 2T-Offer to Purchase and Contract. A Legal Q&A related to the 790-COVID-19 Addendum can be found here. Below we’ve included a video of Will Martin, General Counsel for NC REALTORS® and Steve Barnes, Vice President and Managing Broker of Beverly-Hanks REALTORS® in Downtown Ashville discussing the new COVID-19 Addendum.

If you have additional questions regarding the Addendum, please contact the Legal Hotline by emailing legalhotline@ncrealtors.org during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm.

NC REALTORS® members can access the Addendum in electronic format on zipForm® Plus and can log in and download a PDF through the NC REALTORS® website.

Beware of Scams

The North Carolina Department of Justice is warning consumers to be aware of possible scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Josh Stein released a one-page guide that includes information on scams related to robocalls, miracle cure products, phishing attempts, and fraudulent charities.

NC REALTORS® Offices

As a reminder, NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least April 10.

You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information. The NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline will remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. To contact the Legal Hotline, email legalhotline@ncrealtors.org. The NC REALTORS® Tech Helpline is also Monday – Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612) or visiting TechHelpLine.com.

UPDATE: March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

Welcome to our third NC REALTORS® STATUS UPDATE email. We have sincerely appreciated all of the feedback that we have received from members across the following our two previous emails. We continue to monitor multiple different issues facing our industry and members. As more information becomes available, we will share it with you.

In this edition, we focus on Mecklenburg County’s stay at home order and guidance issued by Governor Cooper in Executive Order 120 about additional business closures.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY ISSUES STAY AT HOME ORDER

**ALL REALTORS RESIDING IN OR WHO HAVE BUSINESS IN MECKLENBURG COUNTY, PLEASE READ.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While this order applies only to those within Mecklenburg County, there are reports of other counties considering similar actions. NC REALTORS® staff continues to monitor the developments and will provide information as soon as it becomes available.

Earlier today, Mecklenburg County and all municipalities therein, issued a “stay-at-home” order beginning Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 AM. This order will remain in effect for three weeks but can be revised or repealed at any time.

Staff is continuing to review the order and seek clarification on many of the outlined directives, but here is the current assessment.

Some real estate-related businesses were designated as “essential services.” Included in this list are banks, lenders, appraisers, attorneys and title companies.

Yesterday, the Governor’s Executive Order also required Registers of Deeds to continue operating. While this means that closing activities may be able to continue, it is still unclear as to the manner in which they will be accomplished (remote or in-person submission).

Additionally, many critical trades are allowed to continue to work, including building and construction, plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities and essential businesses and operations. These activities should help property managers continue operations.

Beginning Thursday morning, travel is restricted for all non-essential activities. If you are not working in an essential business or conducting an approved activity, you must stay at home. Real estate brokerage is NOT included as an essential business or activity. That means starting Thursday, REALTORS® will not be allowed to conduct most business activity outside of their homes within Mecklenburg County. That does not mean that business must stop; however, your normal business activities (including showings and open houses) must now cease or be conducted remotely from your homes.

The order does not include any explicit references to multiple items included in the closing process, including but not limited to inspections, walk-through inspections and in-person closings. Staff is continuing to gather clarifications on these and other points.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 120

On March 23, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 120. Titled “Additional Limitations on Mass Gatherings, Restrictions on Venues and Long Term Care Facilities, and Extension of School Closure Date” this Order outlines additional restrictions and closures, as well as further guidance related to the evolving situation.

Here are the highlights from the Order:

  • Clarifies a previous order designating mass gatherings as no more than fifty (50) persons. These gatherings do not encompass activities or locations like grocery stores.
  • Orders the closure of entertainment facilities without a retail or dining effective at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. This includes bingo parlors, gyms, movie theaters, and many others. There is an allowance for any retail or dining component located within that location to continue to operate under the previously established guidelines for take-out dining (Executive Order 118).
  • The Order also directs the closure of close-contact businesses like barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and nail salons.
  • Direct local government agencies and officials to continue to exercise their responsibilities, including but not limited to local county Department of Social Services (“DSS”) offices, Health Departments, Registers of Deeds, and other local government functions that are required to protect lives and property.
  • Restricts visitors and non-essential health care personnel Long term care facilities shall restrict visitation of all, except for certain compassionate care situations, for example, an end­of-life situation.
  • Directs that all public schools remain closed for students through Friday, May 15, 2020.

Executive Order 120 provides no direction regarding any other business operations outside of those listen within it or in any previous Executive Order. Notwithstanding the Mecklenburg County order detailed above, no other businesses, including real estate, have been ordered to close.

NC REALTORS® Offices

As a reminder, NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least April 10.

You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information. The NC REALTORS® Legal Hotline will remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. To contact the Legal Hotline, email legalhotline@ncrealtors.org. The NC REALTORS® Tech Helpline is also Monday – Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST by calling the dedicated NC REALTORS® phone number (877-573-5612) or visiting TechHelpLine.com.

UPDATE: March 19, 2020

In this STATUS UPDATE we focus on the emergency rules passed by the NC Real Estate Commission, communications with the Governor regarding real estate services, the passage of a federal relief package, federal rental relief proposals, understanding evictions during this time, and other resources available on the NC REALTORS® website.

NC Real Estate Commission Approves Emergency Rules in Response to COVID-19

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission passed an emergency rule package in response to the current COVID-19 situation. These rules primarily address education requirements for licensees due to the guidance offered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding prohibitions on mass gatherings and social distancing.

The rules are available on the NC Real Estate Commission’s website and are pending final approval by the state Codifier of Rules. They are expected to go into effect in the next few days. As soon as they are, you will receive email communications from the Commission.

Here are the highlights:

  • The Commission shall grant all brokers an extension of time to complete postlicensing and continuing education courses, as well as the 12-hour Broker-In-Charge course.
  • All schools and course sponsors will cease (cancel or suspend) all in-person courses until April 30
  • Schools have been given the approval to hold synchronous distance learning (i.e., live webinars or web-based conference platforms) under the following deadlines:
    • Until June 10, 2020, schools and course sponsors may offer synchronous distance-learning for continuing education courses
    • Until June 30, 2020, schools and course sponsors may offer synchronous distance-learning for prelicensing and postlicensing courses.
  • Schools shall allow students to make-up courses through taking another course offered by the school
  • The Commission has also granted educators an extension on their instructor renewals.

Want to take some online CE courses during this time? Check out this growing list.

NC REALTORS® Asks Governor Cooper to Designate Real Estate Services as Essential

On Wednesday, NC REALTORS® sent a letter to Governor Roy Cooper to ask that he designate real estate services as essential under his current disaster declarations. Over the past few days, we have begun to hear of REALTORS® facing challenges in completing closings due to the changes being made by Registers of Deeds across the state. To help mitigate the potential economic harm, we have made this important step.

These steps have been taken by other states and even county governments in North Carolina, like Buncombe County, to recognize and include essential operations vital to a real estate transaction. These services include, but are not limited to, title searches, permitting, inspections, construction, and especially the transfer and recordation of ownership.

NC REALTORS® is also working with our local associations to closely monitor and assist local governments in their efforts to keep these functions proceeding.

If you have had transactions impacted by the current situation due to changes in government processes, we want to hear from you. Email us.

Second Relief Bill Signed by President

Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave. It also includes refundable tax credits for small businesses and self-employed individuals to cover the cost of the leave. Learn more.

NAR’s advocacy team continues to urge Congressional leaders to include support for self-employed professionals and other small business owners.

Federal Rental Relief Proposals

NAR has joined other real estate and finance industry groups in sending a letter to the US House of Representatives and Senate leadership as well as the White House, urging them to include measures to address landlord/property management concerns in relief efforts.

It includes:

  • Supporting an emergency rental assistance fund, to help tenants meet housing-related financial obligation if they lose income during the crisis;
  • Pointing out that evictions are the only mechanism for removing tenants who pose safety or security risks to other residents/the community, and cautioning against blanket eviction moratoriums that may include situations not related to COVID-19;
  • Urging them to provide financial relief to rental property owners, specifically asking that any measure providing assistance to renters also provide support to rental property owners to mitigate the loss of rental income.

The Eviction Process

As you may have seen, the North Carolina Courts system has made multiple shifts in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The most notable of these shifts is a significant reduction in operations to limit the amount of social contact. With these changes has come a lot of questions, including what impact this will have on eviction and foreclosure proceedings.

NC REALTORS® has been closely monitoring the issues being faced by property managers in response to a memo which outlined an overarching delay in these court proceedings. Following conversations with representatives from the Administrative Office of the Courts, here is what we know.

The NC Court decision to stop all eviction and foreclosure court proceedings does not prevent the filing of eviction or foreclosure paperwork, nor does it relieve the tenant or obligated property owner from any obligations under their lease or mortgage. Thus, landlords can proceed with the eviction and banks can proceed with foreclosure protocols. Once the pandemic has passed and court processes return to normal operations, these can proceed immediately.

Representatives of the Administrative Office of the Courts have relayed that their directive does not prohibit emergency evictions from operating as normal. These are situations where criminal activity is occurring which puts the health, safety, and welfare of others in danger. These proceedings can go before the magistrates rather than through the typical district court. At this time, magistrates are operating a normal.

We recognize that this guidance may still result in landlords potentially losing rent payments during this time. Tenants should be reminded that they are still required to comply with the terms of their lease unless granted an explicit waiver by you. NC REALTORS® Government Affairs staff continues to encourage the NAR lobbying team to ensure that landlords are allowed to receive assistance through proposed Small Business Administration (SBA) loans or debt forgiveness programs.

If you are having issues with getting an emergency eviction heard or are having any other issues with these new processes, please email us. We have been asked by the NCAOC to provide feedback regarding any issues so they can be resolved.

UPDATE: March 20, 2020

NC REALTORS® has published Form 790-COVID-19 Addendum to the 2T-Offer to Purchase and Contract. This Addendum allows the parties to agree to an extension of the Contract (time period to be negotiated by the parties) if circumstances arise related to the world-wide Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that could make it unduly burdensome or impossible for Buyer or Seller to exercise their rights and/or perform their obligations under the Contract. This form is not required, however, it is being made available to all REALTORS® to use if appropriate in their transaction.

A Q&A related to the 790-COVID-19 Addendum will be published on Monday, March 23, 2020. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding the Addendum, please contact the Legal Hotline by emailing legalhotline@ncrealtors.org during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm.

The 790-COVID-19 Addendum should be available electronically with vendors soon. NC REALTORS® members who are unable to access forms through a vendor can log in and download a PDF through the NC REALTORS® website

As a reminder, NC REALTORS® is continuing its operations with staff working remotely to ensure that we maintain the same level of service to our members. Our offices are currently closed to members and guests until at least the end of March. You can access our staff directory at ncrealtors.org for contact information.


NC REALTORS® Resources

NC REALTORS® has developed a dedicated page which includes a long list of resources and content to give you a better understanding for everything going on during this crisis. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.



Be Epic. Be an NC REALTOR®.