The following information is intended to provide general guidance. Please note, DMAR encourages its members to comply with the Division’s guidance, but it cannot provide members with advice concerning specific circumstances. If you have specific questions regarding your activities, we encourage you to contact your own legal counsel.
Can I practice real estate under Colorado’s stay-at-home order?
Real estate has been classified as a “critical business” under Colorado’s stay-at-home order and, as such, REALTOR® and Industry Partner members can continue offering services to clients as long as they comply with social distancing requirements and safety guidelines mandated by local and state officials. According to a bulletin published by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) on April 9, 2020 "Real estate appraisals and closings are considered critical services to complete real estate transactions. Further, home inspections and final walkthroughs after a buyer has signed a purchase contract, and is therefore a condition precedent to the actual transfer of property, is also considered to be an essential part of the real estate transaction. Elements that are fundamental to the real estate transaction are deemed essential to support market activity. However, showing a property or conducting an open house in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be avoided as it violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders." Read the full message, here.
Can I hold open houses right now?
No. According to DORA, “showing a property or conducting an open house in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be avoided as it violates the specific mandates of recently issued executive and public health orders.”
Can we get a letter or card indicating that, as real estate brokers, we are exempt from the Order?
Neither CAR nor DMAR intends to issue a “card” or “letter” to support REALTORS® categorization as a “critical business” under the Order. To the extent individual brokerage firms wish to create something for their brokers to proffer in the event they are stopped by law enforcement, that is exclusively within the purview of a brokerage firm. In place of a card or letter, a broker may be advised to carry a copy of the amended Public Health Order and refer any law enforcement officer who may inquire as to the movement of the broker to the applicable language referenced above (Section III.C.7).
Are real estate closings still happening in Colorado?
Yes. Title companies have been instituting social-distancing measures and work-at-home measures for staff who can do so. Many title companies are trying to take advantage of remote online notary services and some are offering drive-thru closings to home buyers.
Can I use a remote notary to make my closing happen?
Yes, Colorado has adopted a temporary rule to allow Remote Online Notarization (RON) as a response to the current stay-at-home order and social distancing recommendations at the state and federal level. For an unofficial copy of the notary rules as adopted and effective March 30, 2020, please click here. If you have any questions concerning these rules please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. View Remote Online Notary Providers
Can either party terminate the contract based on anything related to COVID-19, such as illness, exposure, quarantine, etc.?
CAR worked with the Colorado Bar Association to approve a COVID-19 Addendum to address the practical implications of COVID-19. The addendum addresses real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by shutdowns of title offices, government agencies, lenders and/or appraisers; and real estate transactions that are impacted and/or delayed by mandatory or voluntary quarantines. Download the COVID-19 form, here.
We also recommend you contact an attorney with any contractual or legal questions or the REALTORS® Legal Hotline provided by the Colorado Association of REALTORS®, which has temporarily extended its hours to accommodate an increase in calls. The REALTORS® Legal Hotline is currently available 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM through Friday, April 3, 2020.
Are REALTORS®, including independent contractors, eligible for unemployment?
Yes. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides relief to families, small businesses, and individuals who are self-employed and independent contractors, including REALTORS® and brokerages. According to NAR, “Real estate professionals will be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits, under the new “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” temporary federal-state program if they have been fully or partially unemployed due to an inability to work as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes self-employed individuals and independent contractors. The CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week (for up to four months) on top of the amount provided under a state’s compensation law through December 31, 2020. Typically, states base compensation amounts on an individual’s wages from their most recent tax year and net income from all self-employment that was reported on an individual’s tax return. However, if an individual is eligible to telework with pay, or has paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, they are not eligible for unemployment assistance. These new benefits will be carried out through agreements between each state and the federal government, where states will be fully reimbursed for the compensation paid out, plus administrative costs. Therefore, individuals should check with their state labor department or employment commission to determine their options for unemployment.” See the SBA’s tool to find eligible lenders and learn more about qualifications.
Are there other sources of money for individuals?
According to NAR, “The CARES Act provides resources for REALTORS®, their families, and their clients, as well as most Americans, with incomes below certain thresholds in the form of cash payments of $1,200 per adult plus $500 for each child under the age of 17. These payments should be sent out starting in April, based on your 2018 or 2019 filing, whichever is more recent.”
Can real estate brokerages access the small business loans?
Yes. Congress passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus package called the CARES Act. It includes resources to help Colorado’s small businesses experiencing economic harm. A key portion of this Act is the Paycheck Protection Program, which allocates $349 billion in forgivable loans to help small businesses, independent contractors and nonprofits meet payroll and rent needs. Businesses can begin applying for the loans, which will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. We strongly encourage you to review this federal program to see how this important economic resource can help your business.
According to NAR, “Real estate brokerages that employ 500 or fewer people are eligible for SBA loans. Sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed also qualify.” To access the Paycheck Protection Program application, click here. Small Business Development Center representatives are available to answer your questions through the COVID Economic Hotline at 303-860-5881.