MNR Discusses the Implications of Gov. Walz's Stay-at-Home Order for Realtors®

Today, Minnesota Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home.

Realtors® and their clients may still conduct the activities necessary to facilitate real estate transactions in Minnesota during the time period covered by the order as long as they comply, to the maximum extent possible, with COVID-19 Guidelines including social distancing and hygiene and other requirements in the order. 

OPEN HOUSES Refrain from conducting open houses during this period. It is counterintuitive to be conducting an open house activity during the “Stay at Home” directive.

SHOWINGS Please consult with your seller clients regarding their wishes for showings. If you will be conducting showings, limit your showings until the consumer expresses interest, and prioritize virtual showings and other non-person-to-person activities. Utilize the virtual tours and photos available to prescreen homes you personally visit. 

UNDERSTAND The Governor can pull this essential services tag at any time. If we don’t act within the spirit of the Order, we will be in jeopardy of not being able to service our Minnesota real estate clients and customers. 

PLEASE NOTE You must conduct business within the COVID-19 MDH social distancing guidelines. Minnesotans may leave their homes or residences to engage in the following activities, provided that all persons follow the guidelines set forth and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH Guidelines”), including but not limited to social distancing, to the maximum extent possible. This list of Activities may be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans. Clarifications are available here.

Watch Chris Galler discuss the Governor's order and its implications for Realtors® below. 

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Overlapping Showing Appointments and Showing Trend Charts

Many of you have already changed the Showings settings on your listings to not allow overlapping appointments. Starting 8:00pm Wednesday March 25, ShowingTime is automatically setting the default to "No Overlapping Showings." Here is their message:

Due to overwhelming agent demand and a desire for the safest possible showings for all concerned, ShowingTime will be updating all current listings and the default for new listings to be “No Overlapping Showings” so that by default two showing agents won’t be scheduled to be in the same property at the same time. Agents and offices can change their defaults later when or if they deem it appropriate, but we want to make sure that the default assumption on any listings in the ShowingTime system is “no overlap” unless specifically designated by the listing agent or listing office. 

Local and National Showing Trends Chart
Do you wonder how the current pandemic situation is affecting showings activity? ShowingTime has created charts showing the Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings. All charts are updated daily.

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Below are several measures we have taken and communicated earlier this week. We have gathered them here together in one posting for your convenience, and as a reminder for those who may have missed the earlier posts.

We hope you are all continuing to be safe and healthy. The spring real estate market is here, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. NorthstarMLS is operating business as usual to support you and your clients. We urge you to stay informed with how the situation is affecting the local real estate market.  

  1. Open Houses Suspension: Effective now and until further notice, the scheduling of Open Houses in NorthstarMLS has been suspended. Any currently scheduled Open Houses in the NorthstarMLS system have been cancelled and removed from the MLS. This decision was unanimously approved by the NorthstarMLS Executive Committee of its Board of Directors in the interests of public safety during this crisis. Please click here for more information
  2. Coming Soon Status Extension: NorthstarMLS has extended the maximum allowable time in Coming Soon Status from 21 days to 60 days. This is an extraordinary measure during extraordinary times that we hope will not be necessary for long; however, we will consider further extension of the number of days permitted while in Coming Soon as circumstances may dictate. All listings currently in Coming Soon status will retain the current Availability Date you set when you entered the listing. Please click here for more information on this temporary rule change. 
  3. Waiver of Showings Reqirement for Active Status: NorthstarMLS has temporarily waived the requirement to allow showings for Active status listings as long as you disclose it in Public Remarks.
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Effective immediately and until further notice, the scheduling of Open Houses in NorthstarMLS has been suspended. Also, any currently scheduled Open Houses in the NorthstarMLS system have been cancelled and removed from the MLS. This action will remove publication of Open House dates from IDX feeds and syndication to public-facing websites, as well.

This decision was unanimously approved by the NorthstarMLS Executive Committee of its Board of Directors in the interests of public safety during the emergency COVID-19 crisis. The health and well-being of the Realtors who rely on NorthstarMLS for the tools and data that enable your businesses is our paramount concern. Your families, colleagues and clients are all vulnerable and at risk during this uncertain time and we strongly support the best practices that state and federal authorities recommend; particularly, those concerned with social contagion.

This pandemic is at a critical phase and it is our responsibility to look after each other by being careful, considerate and by exercising every prudent precaution to protect our Realtor community and the public at large.

We'll keep you informed as new developments unfold. Thank you and stay well.

John Mosey, CEO

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Addendum or Amendment to Purchase Agreement: Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19)

Minnesota Realtors Association has released this new form for its members, now available in TransactionDesk/Instanet (MNAR-2020 Forms folder).

This addendum or amendment to the Purchase Agreement is to assist you and your clients in creating an extension of the Purchase Agreement deadlines for those circumstances where there is a COVID-19 related event that inhibits a party's ability to perform under their current purchase agreement.

If you utilize this new form as an addendum to the current Purchase Agreement, please make sure to add a reference in the Purchase Agreement that the Addendum or Amendment to Purchase Agreement: Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is attached and made a part of the Purchase Agreement.

Full letter from Minnesota Realtors Association regarding this form.

Minnesota Realtors Main Site for COVID-19 Updates

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NorthstarMLS has extended the maximum allowable time in Coming Soon Status from 21 days to 60 days.

This is an extraordinary measure during extraordinary times that we hope will not be necessary for long; however, we will consider further extension of the number of days permitted while in Coming Soon as circumstances may dictate.

The rule of no showings allowed while in Coming Soon status has not changed—only the amount of time you may leave a listing in that status. If you want to accept showing appointments, the listing still must be in Active status by the time of the first showing.

All listings currently in Coming Soon status will retain the current Availability Date you set when you entered the listing. You may go in and edit that date if you would like to take advantage of this extension.

Please note: For your existing Coming Soon listings, if you choose to take advantage of the extension, be sure to notify the showing agents (for any already approved showings during that period) that those showings are canceled.

Also, a reminder that earlier this week, we temporarily waived the requirement to allow showings for Active status listings as long as you disclose it in Public Remarks.

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. NorthstarMLS is operating business as usual to support you and your clients.

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Do you wonder how the current pandemic situation is affecting showings activity? ShowingTime has created a chart showing the Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Showings in North America.

This chart is updated daily and is based on their top 100 markets, including NorthstarMLS. They plan to eventually post regional versions of the chart. But according to ShowingTime, so far the indicators are pretty even nationwide.

Reminder, our rule requiring availability for showings on Active listings has been suspended until further notice (as long as you disclose it in Public Remarks).

NorthstarMLS continues to operate at full availability and support.

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Effective immediately, we are temporarily suspending NorthstarMLS’s rule requiring availability for showings in Active status. If your seller is not comfortable scheduling showings for their property because of the COVID-19 threat, you may decline showings but leave the property in Active status. However, we do require that you disclose in Public Remarks that you are not accepting showings at this time. We also ask that you revise the showings calendar in ShowingTime to block scheduling for the property and notify any already confirmed appointments if you wish to cancel them. This rule suspension will remain in effect indefinitely. We will post here when the situation improves and the rule is put back into effect.

Update: If you continue to allow showings, you may want to consider not allowing overlapping appointments on your listings so that agents and their clients may show homes without concern that others will be there. When setting up your listings, you can choose “No” for “Allow Overlapping Showings” in the Appointment Restrictions. The Set Up Listings in ShowingTime user guide can help you with this.

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NorthstarMLS is monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, as you no doubt all are for your businesses and clients. During this uncertain time, we want you to know that you can depend on NorthstarMLS business as usual.

We are equipped to provide our usual 24/7 availability for all our MLS systems that you depend upon to do business. Help Desk and Rules/Reg support hours remain 8:00 to 5:00 M-F, with on-call support available off-hours for any MLS access issues.

There are no doubt changes to how you are all doing business. Showings availability is no longer required on listings in Active status as long as disclosed in Public Remarks. While there are no immediate further updates to our MLS rules, our rules staff (same as always) will work with you on any issues where there are extenuating circumstances to agree upon a reasonable solution.

We are also very mindful of our responsibility to our staff’s health and safety, and also those with whom we come into contact. We are taking advantage of technology to allow our staff to continue to perform their duties both from our office and from home as needed.

Our leadership will continue to monitor the situation and notify you of any changes. We hope you all stay safe and healthy. Thank you for your support.

John Mosey, President & CEO

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