It's no joke. The business of real estate has been designated as "essential" by the governor of Washington State, which not only opens up the ability for buyers and sellers to move forward with their life plans, but it brings an amazingly complex and fluid set of liabilities to all involved. Let us say it again: IT'S NO JOKE.
The possibilties of infection, to either clients, or ourselves, or those whose homes we visit in the course of allowed actions, those possibilities not only bring potentially horrific ramifications to any infected, but they also bring possible legal liabilities to all parties involved as well. It's too early to predict, but looking at the recent news in which cities, counties, states, and nations are examining potentially suing for damages brought by the Corona Virus, it's not a leap of imagination to see the possible future for any business that involves human interaction.
With that said, here are links to the most recent legal disclosure and permission forms that have been brought to the process of viewing, showing, inspecting, etc., real estate in Washington State, from both NWMLS and Winderemere Legal:
(Rather than links to individual forms, we are linking to a folder, with the understanding that forms will be modified as time moves forward)
SUMMARY OF WRE FORMS CONCERNING CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19
WRE Form 62 - “Stay Home Order” Addendum
This addendum to purchase and sale agreements permits the parties to enter into a purchase and sale agreement but delay in-person activities such as a walkthrough and inspection until the Stay Home Order is canceled or expired. This form was created prior to Governor Inslee modifying the Stay Home Order on March 28 to permit certain limited real estate activities such as walkthroughs and inspections. However, there may be some buyers that have an interest in making an offer but do not want to risk in-person contact so the form still has potential use in those cases.
WRE Form 62R - “Stay Home Order” Response is a companion response form.
WRE Form 63A - Coronavirus/COVID-19 Advisory to Buyers and Sellers
This document notifies parties of the limited real estate activities permitted by the Governor’s modification to the Stay Home Order. It also warns parties of the risks associated with in-person real estate activities while the Stay Home Order remains in effect. This form will help to protect firms and brokers from liability if a buyer/seller are exposed to coronavirus/COVID-19 while working with a Windermere broker. However, the form will have little effect if a broker or firm are engaging in activities outside of what is expressly permitted in the Governor’s modification. Any broker or firm who is engaged in real estate activities beyond those identified in the Governor’s modification would be engaged in illegal activity and exposed to great risk of legal liability and discipline from the Department of Licensing. Since the conduct would be patently illegal and intentional there likely would be no insurance coverage.
WRE Form 63B - Coronavirus/COVID-19 Notice
This document is a notice to all parties who enter a property about the restrictions on real estate activities and the risks of viewing properties at this time. This form is intended to be posted on the front door of a listed property so all occupants can readily see it prior to entering a home.
WRE Form 63C - Showing Appointment Questionnaire
This document allows a listing broker to require all persons viewing a listed property to complete a questionnaire prior to doing so. The National Association of Realtors has approved broker use of health questionnaires such as Form 63C to help in reducing the likelihood of exposure to Coronavirus/COVID-19 in real estate activities. Brokers and firms using this form should ensure that all responses are held strictly confidential and maintained in a responsible and safe manner.
WRE Form 21B - Authorization to Record Video Tour of Property
This document allows a broker to take photos and videos of a property so that potential buyers can view the property even if they are unable to attend an in-person showing of the property. This document is helpful in addressing the Governor’s restriction on the number of people who can view a property at one time. The form can be used for buyers who do not want to risk in-person contact or for when only one buyer can view the property in person.
WRE Form 58 - “Sight Unseen” Disclosure Statement
This is an existing form that has been revised. The previous version included a line that indicated “the buyer has the opportunity to see the property.” In this revised version, that line has been removed due to the fact that this may not be a viable option for a buyer in light of the COVID-19 crisis and the Stay Home Order