Reinstate the ban on real estate touring during the pandemic

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On Monday, March 23rd, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, which requires all Washingtonians to stay at home except for a small number of allowed activities, one of which is going to work at an essential business. 

As part of the order, his office published a detailed list of businesses that were deemed essential. Title and escrow companies and mortgage lenders were on that list, meaning that the thousands of real estate transactions that were already under contract would be allowed to close (albeit without final walk-throughs, which give buyers the opportunity to walk through the house one last time as a courtesy but don't give them any opportunity to exit the contract). Real estate agents and home inspectors weren't on that list--meaning that as soon as the order went into effect at midnight on Wednesday, March 25th, touring in person with clients became illegal.

As a residential real estate agent and a Realtor in Seattle, I was glad to see that this was the case. Real estate isn't an essential business in my opinion, and the nature of the business means that if we're out touring with buyers we're going to be spreading the virus no matter how careful we are, and people across the state will die unnecessarily as a result. 

On Saturday, March 28th, after intense lobbying by the Washington Realtors, Governor Inslee made an about-face and classified real estate as an essential business, meaning that in-person touring is now allowed with minimal restrictions (tours have to be arranged in advance, and only two people can be in the home at the same time). I strongly believe that this was the wrong choice--for buyers, for sellers, for real estate agents, and for our fellow Washingtonians. If the order had been amended solely to allow final walk-throughs and clarify several unanswered questions about closing pending transactions (whether stagers allowed to remove furniture from a home, for example), I would have been fine with it; but that's not what happened.

If you agree that buying and selling homes isn't an essential business during the worst pandemic of the last 100 years, and that new real estate transactions can wait until after the statewide social distancing restrictions have been lifted, please join me by signing this petition.

After you sign and share, I would also encourage you to email Governor Inslee (https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact and the Washington Realtors (https://www.warealtor.org/contact-us directly, especially if you're a Realtor yourself.

-Sol

Sol Villarreal

Realtor, Windermere Real Estate