Lots of people are currently asking this question, including both those that were already actively shopping for a new home and those that were thinking about it. Given the legal orders given by various levels of municipalities, the question fundamentally boils down to one question: Is real estate considered an essential business? The answer to that question depends upon who you ask, and specifically, at what time you asked the question.
Executive orders from the State of Texas supersede executive orders issued by any municipalities underneath it, such as cities or counties. On March 31, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that, among other objectives, clarified which businesses are considered “essential businesses” for the State of Texas. Real estate activities were included in this executive order (EO-GA-14), superseding all prior executive orders at the state, city, and county levels that may have excluded real estate from the essential business list. While real estate activities, such as brokerage activities of showing houses to prospects, are now classified as an “essential business”, telework and online work is still strongly encouraged by the State of Texas, and in person contact is discouraged as much as possible as per the current CDC guidelines.
Given this, we know that real estate showings in person are permitted but discouraged in favor of other online methods. Virtual showings, video walkthroughs, and group video chats such as Zoom or Skype are now being employed by many brokerages around the state. Which methods any given brokerage uses is up to that brokerage’s internal policies on showings during the current pandemic.
DFW First Realty is continuing to show property to clients and interested parties, with virtual showings via the interface of your choice (i.e. Apple FaceTime, Zoom, etc) highly preferred. Only in extenuating circumstances will we show property in person with the client currently, in order to observe CDC/federal guidelines and do our part to help mitigate the spread of this potentially deadly virus.