COVD-19 FAQs For Colorado Real Estate Professionals

On October 6, Colorado Governor Jared Polis extended many previously issued executive orders related to COVID-19 safety. Since the Colorado Division of Real Estate “continues to receive complaints concerning real estate brokers not following state and county-issued guidance regarding COVID-19 restrictions when performing real estate activities,” we’ve decided to compile some resources for you so you can continue to work safely.

Here’s a list of safety resources that you can look at in their entirety when you have the time:

If you only have a few minutes, take a look at this shortened version of the official Colorado Real Estate Industry COVID-19 FAQ page. And remember, we offer online continuing education courses that can be completed anytime on any internet-enabled device! Click here to view our our Colorado state-approved course packages!

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Real Estate Services

Question: What does the Governor’s mask ordinance mean for my place of business?

Answer: As of July 16, 2020, Executive Order D 2020 038 mandates that every Coloradan older than 10 wear a mask or a face covering in all indoor public spaces, unless that individual has a medical condition where wearing a mask would put them at risk. It is important to note that wearing a mask properly means that it covers both your nose and mouth. Wearing a mask under your nose or chin is ineffective.

If a business or professional does not comply with the order, they are at risk of losing their license. Customers who do not comply with the order are violating a Colorado law and are subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Question: Are real estate open houses allowed?

Answer: Yes, real estate open houses are allowed under this amended June 30, 2020 Order, however, all open houses must strictly follow the Indoor Event requirements in Section I.H.4 of this Order. The Colorado Department of Health & Environment has listed on its website the Indoor Event requirements.

Question:  Who is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting occupied properties between showings?

Answer: Both Seller's Brokers and Buyer's Brokers are considered “Field Services” workers under the Public Health Order 20-28 and share responsibility to make sure cleaning and disinfection occur between showings. 

Seller's Brokers need to make arrangements with any occupants to clean and disinfect between showings. Likewise, Buyer's Brokers need to clean and disinfect behind their buyers while showing the property.

Question: Can a buyer require a seller to deep clean a property prior to closing?

Answer: Yes, so long as this is part of the terms of the contract between the buyer and seller.

Question: Who should be providing gloves and masks for showings?

Answer: Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment, it is recommended that brokers encourage buyers to bring their own masks and gloves. Both Buyer's Brokers and Seller's Brokers are encouraged to attempt to provide masks and gloves. However, if buyers show up to meet a Buyer's Broker without masks and gloves, the Buyer's Broker must either: 1) provide masks and gloves; 2) check to see if the Seller's Broker has provided masks and gloves; or 3) tell the buyers they will need to reschedule the showing until the buyers have masks and gloves.

Question: Should the Buyer’s Broker ask the buyer if they have symptoms or have come into contact with known positive cases of COVID-19?

Answer:  Best practice is for Buyer’s Brokers to ask buyers they are working with if they have symptoms or have come into contact with known positive cases of COVID-19.  If the answer is yes, at a minimum, the Buyer’s Broker should tell Seller’s Brokers prior to scheduling a showing.  The Seller may deny showings.

Question: Is it ok to have more than one potential buyer in the property at a time for a showing?

Answer: No. In order to prevent unnecessary contact, showings must be limited to only one buyer group (meaning a group of individuals from a currently shared household) at a time.

Question: Is there a limit to the number of buyers I can show the property to if they have all been quarantined together?

Answer: Under Public Health Order 20-28, gatherings are limited to 10 or less people.  However, we STRONGLY encourage Buyer's Brokers to limit the number of buyers they show the property to prior to executing a contract to only those buyers that will be signing a contract.

Additionally, sellers may impose other restrictions such as requiring buyers to be pre-qualified, limiting the number of buyers in the property or prohibiting showings until a contract is executed by both buyer and seller.

Question: Does the occupant need to leave the property for showings?

Answer: No. Occupants are permitted to remain in the property during all showings. However, occupants should wear masks and gloves and maintain six feet of distance from everyone while other people are in the property.

Question: Should Seller's Brokers get waivers of liability from potential buyers before allowing the potential buyer to enter the property for a showing?

Answer: Brokers that have waivers of liability drafted by a Colorado licensed attorney are permitted to use them. Seller’s Brokers should consult with their Colorado licensed attorney regarding the risks or enforceability of such waivers. Additionally, Buyer's Brokers must advise all buyers to have such waivers reviewed by legal counsel before allowing buyers to sign such waivers. 

Question: Does a buyer have to see the property before they can make an offer?

Answer: No. All buyers, especially Vulnerable Individuals, should be encouraged to do as much research finding a property as they can virtually. This might include getting a contract signed by both buyer and seller prior to the buyer ever seeing the property. In these cases, the buyer may want to consider adding a contingency to the contract that the contract is contingent upon the buyer viewing and approving the property after the contract is signed.

Question:  Does the seller have to allow showings?

Answer: No. Seller's Brokers should explain to all sellers, especially Vulnerable Individuals, their options for selling their property without allowing or minimizing showings. This might include asking for pre-qualifications of buyers before allowing them to see the property or requiring buyers to make an acceptable offer that is signed by the seller before allowing anyone into the property.

Question: Can a buyer still sign a contract or deliver earnest money in person?

Answer: While clients can still sign contracts or deliver earnest money in person, brokerage firms are required to take measures to reduce or negate the need for paper and attempt to provide contactless payment options.

Question: Can a Broker still attend listing appointments in person?

Anwer: Yes. However, Brokers are required to wear a mask and gloves. Public Health Order 20-28 limits gatherings to 10 people or less. We strongly encourage Brokers to perform as many of their job duties remotely or virtually as possible.

 


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COVID-19 Brings Remote Notarization Changes to Colorado

Despite an improving market outlook, with new listings increasing by 53% compared to April and interest rates dropping, we’re all still in the middle of a pandemic. If you’re still working with clients who insist on doing things from the safety of their homes, an important bill concerning remote notarization recently passed in the Colorado General Assembly.

Since March 27, an executive order allowed for a temporary suspension of the notary’s personal appearance requirement. But recently, a new bill passed that both extended the remote notary ability to the end of the year and made it permanent starting on January 1st, 2022.

Unlike many other states who already allow remote notarization, Colorado is putting a specific emphasis on privacy. The new bill, “prohibits the use or sale of personal information of a remotely located individual by a remote notary and the provider of a remote notarization system…” So, you can assure your clients that their private information is safe if they choose to use a remote notary.

To make sure your industry knowledge keeps up with this ever changing world, sign up for our online Real Estate Continuing Education courses.

 


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Colder Temperatures Cool Down the Colorado Real Estate Market

Over the past year or so, the media has deceivingly discussed the decline in the real estate market across the U.S. Will there be another 2008? Is another recession around the corner? While these words may instill some fear, that’s where the tall tale ends. Real estate projections in most of the nation all show steady continual opportunities. Most states, Colorado included, are seeing continued above average home sales for this chilly time of year.

After a 6 year long hot real estate market, it is to be expected that the market will cool down. The residential and commercial markets in general remain strong and agents are just now seeing properties remain on the market for longer. Coloradans have seen inventory increases and that’s resulted in increased price reductions and concessions. To put it simply, sellers can’t be as aggressive in their pricing strategy because the market is going from one (sometimes even less) homes per buyer to three or four. This increase gives buyers more options to choose from and less competition when putting in offers. After a heavy multiple offer scenario market, a cool down is a good thing.

Today, nine out of ten home buyers require financing to purchase property. Fortunately, interest rates are lower than this time last year. This dip in interest rates means that buyers shouldn’t just look at the sales price, but also factor in the cost of the loan. Buyers purchasing homes under $500,000 have some big advantages this time of year. Typically, November through February is a great time for buyers to purchase a home and more people should take advantage. Moving expenses are far lower and the power of negotiation and available choices have multiplied.

For agents, buyers and sellers, winter isn’t the easiest time for home showings because of the weather. For agents, this is a great occasion to spend time with family for the holidays and to complete your required continuing education.

This time of year can be stressful enough, completing your continuing education doesn’t have to be! With Real Estate Training Institute, you can stay in and use any internet enabled device to complete your courses.


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