GRAR Member Update
Friday, April 10, 2020
Dear GRAR Members,

Thursday evening, NYSAR issued additional guidance on how real estate services can be delivered during the Governor’s "NYS on PAUSE" executive order. This guidance severely restricts the activities that are permitted during this time of crisis. Below are the items that were updated on NYSAR’s FAQ yesterday, but please review the entire FAQ so you are clear on what you can and cannot do. As we have been advising throughout this crisis, the overriding goal is for all of us to work together as an industry and as a part of the larger Rochester, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier communities to do what we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There is a new item on the FAQ that clearly sets the standard by which should all be living until the Governor changes his executive order. The question is “Can I have in-person contact with a member of the public?” The answer is “No. ESD has issued guidance that "real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions." Licensees must utilize alternative methods of conducting business to avoid person to person contact with members of the public. NYSAR is unaware of any scenario where a licensee would be "legally necessary" to have in-person contact.” This statement should inform all of your decisions on what activities you perform. You may still take a listing, but “must make every effort and explore every alternative to avoid person to person contact with members of the public.” This includes all activities involved in taking or showing a listing.

There is also an update to the question on whether a licensee is allowed to promote "unaccompanied showings", i.e., sellers allowing buyers into their houses without an agent. The NYSAR guidance is now very clear that the licensee “should not be involved in coordinating an unaccompanied showing.” This is far more specific and restrictive than the previous guidance from NYSAR, so if you have been allowing "unaccompanied showings", you should read the full FAQ answer and adjust your activities. Additionally, there has been clarification that during a home inspection, the purchaser cannot be present. Previously this was left up to the inspector, but now the inspector may only communicate with the purchaser virtually.

Finally, we have been receiving a number of questions regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Unfortunately, GRAR does not have any information beyond what is coming out of NYSAR and the NYS Department of Labor. We realize that it is not always clear and getting through to the Department of Labor has been difficult. What we are hearing is that the Department of Labor is upgrading their systems and bringing in additional staff to assist with the massive increase in calls & applications. See below for a press release from the Department of Labor dated April 9. We encourage you to keep trying to get through if applying by phone and look at the online filing option , as well. We included the PDF guide for online filing in yesterday's GRAR Update. We will share any additional information we find on the PUA program.

We would like to, once again, thank you for your attention to our updates. Things are still subject to change dramatically at any moment, and the GRAR leadership and staff are continually monitoring all new information and sharing what we're able to verify with you in a timely manner.

If you have any questions on the updated guidance from the Governor’s office or NYSAR, please reach out to Jim or me, or email grarhelpdesk@grar.net and the appropriate staff member will get back to you.
Andy Kachaylo,
GRAR President
Jim Yockel,
GRAR CEO
Important NYSAR FAQ Updates
NYSAR
As stated above, we are highlighting the FAQ's that were either added or updated yesterday.
Can I have in-person contact with a member of the public? (added 4/9/20)
No. ESD has issued guidance that “real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions”. Licensees must utilize alternative methods of conducting business to avoid person to person contact with members of the public. NYSAR is unaware of any scenario where a licensee would be “legally necessary” to have in-person contact .
Can licensees still take a listing? (updated 4/9/20)
Yes. ESD has issued guidance that that “real estate services shall be conducted remotely for all transactions”. Licensees must make every effort and explore every alternative to avoid person to person contact with members of the public. This can be done a number of ways including utilizing alternate means such as virtual listing appointments, electronic transmission and signing of documents. A licensee may also mail or use a courier (UPS, FedEx, DHL) to deliver documents to a consumer to sign.
Are we allowed to list properties and post them as "unaccompanied showings only"? (updated 4/9/20)
NYSAR recommends that licensees should not be involved in coordinating an unaccompanied showing.  If the seller demands that buyer’s be permitted to view the property the licensee should not be involved in the process. If the seller instructs the listing agent to provide their contact information to the buyer, then the listing agent should do so. This should be the only activity the listing agent performs. The listing agent should not be coordinating anything between the seller and buyer except for providing contact information.
Can the purchaser be present during the inspection? (updated 4/9/20)
No, ESD has provided guidance that the inspector can perform the inspection but may only communicate with the purchaser virtually.
Virtual Showings Tips
GRAR staff, on behalf of the New York State Alliance of MLS's (NYSAMLSs), a regional joint venture of the Multiple Listing Services in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, have put together the following tips for how to handle Virtual Tours, Virtual Open Houses, and Virtual Showings and how to enter the information in Matrix.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
NYS Department of Labor Press Release
The New York State Department of Labor issued a press release yesterday regarding steps being taken to handle unemployment claims.
Albany, NY (April 09, 2020) - Facing an unprecedented spike in unemployment insurance applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Office of Information Technology Services today announced a “Tech Surge” in partnership with Google Cloud, Deloitte, and Verizon to improve the reliability of the state’s online and telephone-based unemployment insurance application systems. The Tech Surge will include critical upgrades to the Department of Labor’s technology systems that will increase its capacity to accept and process applications, making it easier for New Yorkers to apply for benefits. Read full press release
GRAR will be sending updates each weekday until further notice.

Please visit the GRAR Coronavirus page for all updates, other related information, and links to NAR, NYSAR, and the New York State Coronavirus pages.
Also, please join the GRAR Members Only Facebook Group to get updates from GRAR as well as view and participate in discussions. GRAR Members Only Facebook Group .
Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® | grar.org