VAR Asks Scott Administration to Include Real Estate Services as Essential

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020 Vermont Governor Phil Scott ordered all non-essential businesses to close their physical workplaces and facilities until at least April 15, 2020.

Prior to his announcement, VAR President Stephanie Corey sent a letter to the Governor asking for real estate services be considered essential services and added to the list. Read the letter here.

This request was not included in the initial list of essential services. However, as instructed, VAR will be in contact with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) with our request immediately.

Over the past week, VAR has been working with the Vermont Bankers Association, Vermont Land Title Insurers, Vermont Bar Association, Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Town and Municipal Clerks’ Association and the Secretary of State’s Office to address our concerns and to provide alternative ways to conduct safe and legal real estate transactions. We need to help prevent the certain disruption of Vermont’s economy if real estate transactions come to an abrupt stop and are advocating vigorously to be issued “essential services” status.

What does this mean for now?

All real estate offices must close for the required period. However, Realtors® may continue to conduct business remotely within the guidelines of public health and safety officials. Please note that COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines are updated daily on the ACCD website. Until we have further information stating otherwise, we believe the Executive Order effects real estate as follows:

  • All public-facing, physical real estate offices must close for the duration of the Order
  • Real estate agents and office staff may still work remotely and continue to conduct non-face-to-face business
  • Real estate agents may still have remote, non-face-to-face interactions with clients, customers, and members of the public (including by phone, email, video-conferencing, etc.)
  • Until further information states otherwise, all in-person public contact shall cease for the duration of this order to include showings, open houses, and other meetings with clients, customers and members of the public
  • Office staff and/or agents should limit going to physical office locations except for absolute necessity