Realtors in Austin are being told they can show properties again across the metro under a new statewide coronavirus order.

After Central Texas' first shelter-in-place orders were announced March 24, the Austin Board of Realtors strongly discouraged its members from in-person showings in certain locations.

"It's our interpretation that showing activity may be allowed in Williamson County, but it's clearly not allowed in Travis County and the city of Austin," ABOR said in a March 25 update.

But now ABOR says things have changed after a March 31 executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott on the state's efforts to contain COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"Realtors can show property across the market but should exercise great caution in doing so," ABOR said in an April 1 update.

Abbott's order relies on a federal advisory memo to determine what "essential" business activities are allowed to continue. Realtors point out that memo considers "residential and commercial real estate services" and workers responsible for property management as essential to critical infrastructure.

They also argue that the statewide order supersedes local orders that are stricter about essential services.

But that doesn't mean Realtors should rush out to book as many showings as they can.

"Even for essential services, telework or online work should be used as much as possible, limiting in-person contact unless absolutely necessary," ABOR said. "While we understand there will be circumstances that require showing activity, you should continue to take extreme caution in any in-person interaction to protect yourself and discourage the spread of COVID-19."

ABOR told members to stay in close contact with brokers and potentially legal counsel "on any changes to your contracts, current business practices and policies."

Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on
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