SBA Programs & Unemployment for REALTORS® during the COVID-19 Crisis:

  1. Do I apply for unemployment or a Small Business Administration program?
    1. Thanks to NAR’s advocacy efforts on the CARES Act, you may be eligible for both. Check with your lawyer or CPA to figure out how you should proceed.
  2. How do I apply for unemployment?
    1. In Virginia, the program is administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). Under the CARES Act, workers who previously were ineligible for unemployment (independent contractors and self-employed workers), can now apply for unemployment benefits for the first time; however, as of March 31, 2020, the VEC is waiting on guidance from the United States Department of Labor and will work to implement the changes as quickly as possible. In the meantime, VEC will continue issuing unemployment benefits in compliance with existing state law, which excludes independent contractors and self-employed workers. Continue checking the VEC site for updates.
  3. What programs are offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)?
    1. The SBA offers two programs for small businesses effected by COVID-19:
      1. The SBA 7(a), also known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
        1. The PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons) affected by COVID-19. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can begin applying on April 3, 2020. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin applying on April 10, 2020. The SBA advises that all businesses should apply as quickly as possible because there is a funding cap. For more information visit the SBA’s PPP site.
      2. The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and EIDL grants
        1. The EIDL program provides small business with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide economic support to small business to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. Visit the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance site for more information.

Brokers Cannot Include Payments to Independent Contractors

Latest Guidance from SBA

 

Page 11, item h notes that commissions to independent contractors cannot be included in calculating payroll costs for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Independent contractors will be able to apply for their own PPP loan starting April 1o (Latest guidance as of April 3rd). Please note that SBA guidance is evolving. CPAs and lawyers are the subject matter experts to seek out for advice. 

We encourage you to review the full document linked above. It covers the CARES Act, PPP eligibility requirements, how to apply for the PPP loan, and answers some important questions that impact Realtors.

4/9/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/2/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

4/2/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding Indemnity Waivers and Hold Harmless Provisions

3/26/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette answering some frequently asked questions

3/26/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding the CVR MLS Purchase Agreement

3/19/20: Watch video from RAR and CVR MLS legal counsel, Michael Lafayette regarding Transactions and New Addendums

Submit a question via Microsoft forms below related to COVID-19 for staff or legal counsel. Your submissions will be utilized for our weekly COVID-19 REALTOR Update Videos. You may not receive an individual response.

Regular membership questions should go to membership@RARealtors.com.

Click for MLS support.

The following forms are live in Instanet:

CVR 180 – COVID-19 Addendum

CVR 181 – Notice of Quarantine

CVR 182 – Notice to Proceed to Settlement

It has come to the attention of CVR MLS that some brokers and agents are creating “hold harmless” forms and requesting that other agents/their clients sign these forms to show or inspect properties because of COVID-19. It is the opinion of CVR MLS that such language is of limited use in terms of mitigating risks or shielding one’s self from liability. Nevertheless, if brokers/agents wish to insert a “hold harmless” clause in either the listing agreement or the buyer agency agreement (see also separate language for property management) the following language is recommended:

Hold Harmless Language

Q. Will CVR MLS provide a COVID –19 addendum?

A. Yes. CVR MLS’ Covid-19 Addendum (CVR 180) and related Notices (CVR 181 and CVR 182) form can be found in the Instanet Library.

Q. My buyers still want to go on showing appointments. Is that ok?

A. Please check with your broker for your firm’s current policy on showings. CVR Staff has been told that some listing agents are still allowing live showings, but many have added appointment requirements and scheduling instructions. Some listing agents are also offering virtual or video tours.  Read and follow listing instructions carefully and contact the listing agent if you have questions or concerns.

Q. What if my Seller still wants to show their property?

A. There are many ways to manage in-person showings:

  • You can change your showing instructions to require an appointment.
  • You can block specific time and limit overlapping parties through ShowingTime
  • You can turn off ShowingTime for specific listings

Q. My Sellers have changed their minds about how they want to allow showings. Is this ok?

A. Please make sure that all Showing Instructions and Delayed Showing fields are updated and accurate. You can use the Additional Showing Instructions and Agent Only Comments fields for specific showing instructions.

Q. Can I update my ShowingTime settings to only allow one showing at a time?

A. Yes. In ShowingTime, under the listing setup, you can disallow overlapping appointments by selecting “No, exclusive showings only.”  This can help limit the number of parties at one time.

Q. Can I block time off in ShowingTime?

A. Yes. Under the listing setup in ShowingTime, select “Add New Showing Restriction” and follow the form.

Q: Can I create a virtual showing in ShowingTime?
A:  Yes, click here to see how.

Q: Can I advertise Virtual Open Houses on my listings?

A. Yes; to support virtual open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic, new options are now available in Matrix. After setting up your virtual Open House in Matrix, your Virtual Open House URL will be displayed with your listing so interested home buyers can make plans to attend ahead of time. Click here for instructions on how to set up Virtual Open Houses.

Q. My Seller wants to take their listing off the market right now with everything going on. Which form should I use?

A. CVR 375 – Withdrawal or Release of Residential Listing Agreement (found in our Instanet Library) allows for either a Withdrawal from Market (MLS Status – TEMP WITHDRAWN) or a complete Release of Listing Agreement (MLS Status – RELEASE). If you are unsure of these statuses, please discuss them with your broker or see our Listing Status Cheat Sheet and CVR MLS Definitions for explanation.

Q. If I put a listing into a Temp Withdrawn status, will DOM accrue?

 A. Days on Market do not accrue during the time a listing is in a Temp Withdrawn status.

Q. Can I remove my listing from the internet altogether?

A. Yes; at the direction of the Seller, you can change the Internet Display settings to “No” in Matrix. This will turn off syndication to any IDX enabled sites.

Q. Will CVR MLS continue to provide call and email support?

A. CVR MLS remains open to service member needs by either phone, email, or support tickets (mls@cvrmls.com ).

Q. Can I refuse to show houses to someone who has been in an area with higher numbers of COVID-19 cases?

A. NAR has provided guidance that says you may ask all clients and potential clients if they have traveled recently or are showing signs of respiratory illness; however, you want to make sure that you ask ALL individuals the same question. Refusing to engage with a client or potential client who may be at risk could lead to a potential fair housing complaint. If you are concerned about exposure, you can always take additional precautions if your client has recently traveled to a location where there is higher risk of exposure.

Q. Can my seller refuse to allow access to their house?

A. It depends. If the house is not under contract, the seller can restrict access to their house, but it needs to be done in a uniform manner to prevent fair housing allegations. If your seller has concerns about exposure to Coronavirus, consider withdrawing the property or check your local MLS rules regarding no access to listed property. If the house is already under contract, the seller must allow access as called for in the contract. This typically includes inspectors, appraisers, and a few others. The seller does not have to grant access beyond what is called for in the contract (for example, the seller does not have to allow the buyer into the property to measure for furniture or drapes unless specifically stated in the contract).

Q. If the courts close, does that mean settlement can’t occur?

A. Many settlement providers are able to conduct closings electronically, and some courts are able to accept electronic filings. Speak to your settlement service provider about how court closings will impact your transaction.

Q. What happens if a buyer is unable to attend settlement because they are quarantined?

A. If the settlement agent is able to perform electronic (remote) settlements, settlement can still occur, even if the buyer is not able to be there in person. Speak with your settlement service provider about how this could impact your transaction.

Q. What happens if a seller cannot move out of the house because they are quarantined?

A. As soon as you become aware that this is a possibility, both agents should talk to their clients about the possibility of a post-settlement occupancy agreement. If a seller is under medically required quarantine, it’s unclear how courts would rule about the contractual obligation to deliver possession at settlement.

Q. Does the seller have to do a deeper clean when they move out, prior to settlement?

A. Most contracts in Virginia require the seller to deliver the property in “broom clean” condition. Without additional language in the contract, there is currently no requirement that the seller do any further cleaning before delivering possession of the property. If the buyer would like a deeper cleaning of the property, that should be negotiated and included as a term of the contract.

Updating Your Showing Instructions –  Make sure that you are updating your Showing Instructions on each listing as needed. You can mirror these instructions and add showing restrictions in ShowingTime. Buyer’s agents, please be sure to double check showing instructions before going to showing appointments. Click the link for instructions.

Virtual Open Houses To support virtual open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic, new options are now available in Matrix. After setting up your virtual Open House in Matrix, your Virtual Open House URL will be displayed with your listing so interested home buyers can make plans to attend ahead of time. Click the link for instructions on how to set up Virtual Open Houses.

CVR MLS will only be providing lockboxes under limited circumstances. If you have a specific need and do not have any lockboxes in your inventory, or all of your lockboxes are assigned to other properties, you may email lockbox@cvrmls.com. Staff will contact you directly to assist in meeting your lockbox needs. Brokers: If you have available lockboxes in your inventory, SentriLock Support or CVR MLS lockbox staff can assist in transferring a box to your agents for their use during this time.

To submit your MLS payment online, visit RARealtors.com/account or click Member Account on your Clareity Dashboard.  Then click on “Pay Now” to submit payment.

All updates regarding licensure by the Virginia Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation and the Real Estate Board can be found here.

The REALTOR® Store will be closed at this time.

VHDA offers a variety of affordable home mortgages. All are 30-year fixed rate loans. Some don’t require any downpayment; some allow for lower credit scores; and some offer a federal tax credit for homebuyers to help reduce federal taxes.

Click the Home Loan Options eBook below for a quick overview of all VHDA mortgages, grants and programs for homebuyers.

Home Loan Options eBook

Monday, March 30, 2020 | 4:30PM

Earlier today, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 55 and reiterated the importance of Executive Order 53.

As this relates to the real estate community, REALTORS® may continue to operate real estate businesses, but must do so in accordance with Executive Order 53 and CDC guidelines.

  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited
  • Open houses should only be virtual
  • Do as much work as possible remotely/virtually
  • Interact directly with clients or colleagues only when necessary, and maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet between individuals

Now is the time to be leaders in our community and demonstrate that REALTORS® will collectively do their part to flatten the curve.

Monday, March 23rd, 2020 | 4:30 pm

Earlier today, Governor Northam banned all gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 30 days. He also indicated that later today his office would post a list of what are considered “essential” businesses. Both VAR and RAR staff have been working diligently over the past several days to impress upon both state and local leaders how essential the real estate industry is to the economy of the Commonwealth. For now, we await further word from the Governor’s office; following that, we will provide further guidance to all members regarding the conduct of your daily business.

Please note: to protect the health of both the RAR/CVR MLS staff and the health of our members, RAR/CVR MLS headquarters is now closed to all walk-ins. Staff will be available to support you online and over the phone during this time. If you have questions related to COVID-19 specifically, please submit them at https://bit.ly/covid19question. Regular membership questions should go to membership@RARealtors.com. MLS Support can be accessed from the Support and Knowledge Base icon on your Clareity Dashboard at cvrmls.com.

CVR MLS will only be providing lockboxes under limited circumstances. If you have a specific need and do not have any lockboxes in your inventory, or all of your lockboxes are assigned to other properties, you may email lockbox@cvrmls.com. Staff will contact you directly to assist in meeting your lockbox needs. Brokers: If you have available lockboxes in your inventory, SentriLock Support or CVR MLS lockbox staff can assist in transferring a box to your agents for their use during this time.

We also ask that you submit payments online or mail a check postmarked no later than April 1st due to the closure to foot traffic. To submit your MLS payment online, visit RARealtors.com/account or click Member Account on your Clareity Dashboard. Click on Pay Now to submit payment.

Be well and stayed tuned to RARealtors.com/covid19 for regular updates, also available on the Clareity Dashboard.