HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Real estate sales agents perform an “essential” service and should be exempt from the Harris County stay-at-home order, says Bob Hale, president and CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors.
The Harris County Commissioners Court agreed and included Realtors in the list of businesses and workers who may continue to operate during the stay-at-home order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“I am Bob Hale, President & CEO of the Houston Association of Realtors, better known as HAR.com,” Hale told county officials.
“The ability for Harris County individuals and families to secure shelter is “essential.” Last year consumers bought and sold 103,000 properties worth $30 Billion through the HAR MLS. 14,000 families in the greater Houston area currently have signed a contract to buy or sell and are waiting to close. We cannot leave them in limbo,” Hale said.
“41,000 sellers currently have their homes listed for sale with a Realtor and 11,000 listed for rent. Many must sell. 3,000 families have listed their homes for sale in the last seven days with Realtors.
“$2.4 billion in residential transactions are currently pending in Harris County. $800 million are scheduled to close in just the next 10 days, while the current order is in place,” Hale said.
“Please allow Realtors to continue to assist and serve their clients and customers so real estate does not come to a grinding halt. Please consider that other states like Connecticut, Ohio and Illinois have deemed real estate as an essential service, Hale said.
The county rules went into effect Tuesday at 11:59 PM and will last through April 3.
Included with Realtors on the exempt list are hospitals, clinics, dentists, grocery stores, plumbers, electricians and many others. Realtors will continue with sales activity, although open houses are discouraged.