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With so many states ordering residents to stay at home unless they work in a business that provides an essential service, many people are left wondering, “what counts as essential?” Real estate might not seem as essential as industries like healthcare and food, but at the same time, it is quite important for people to have a safe place to stay.

The good news is that most government agencies agree that real estate is an essential service. According to the Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines, residential real estate is an essential service that should remain operative during the outbreak. Their reasoning behind this is that people will need the ability to find a home, even during the pandemic.

Even though the real estate market has slowed down a little, there will always be people who need to move. In addition to helping others find homes, agents do the essential work of assisting with complicated legal contracts. Without their help, millions of dollars of property would end up in limbo as homes in pending status cannot properly transfer ownership. To further ensure that the real estate market continues to function, realtors need appraisal, title, mortgage, insurance, and document recording services to remain open.

This reasoning is supported by the National Association of Realtors, who emphasizes that the real estate market is both a major part of the economy and a key factor in keeping people safe and healthy during this critical time. To ensure that they can perform their essential service without endangering anyone, NAR has released a guideline that addresses how real estate agents can do their job during the coronavirus.

Many people in the real estate industry are taking steps to make sure their clients needs are met safely. This has led to a massive increase in online video tours, which let clients check out homes without visiting for an in-person showing. Realtors can also accommodate clients by getting documents signed electronically instead of meeting up for paperwork. Fortunately, most of the work of a real estate agent or a person involved in the market is paperwork that can be done at home. Though the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way realtors do things, it is not completely stopping the real estate industry.