The Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate Transactions

This article has been superseded to some extent by Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement that the real estate industry in Pennsylvania may conduct limited business-related activities commencing May 19, 2020. Read more about the Governor’s announcement.

Realtor Sold Sign

By James L. Goldsmith, Esquire

I would imagine that you are focused on little more than a single issue these days. I will therefore keep this short.

There are more questions than answers. This will change and I suggest that you continue to monitor the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®’ online publication JustListed. PAR is working tirelessly to provide you with the latest, consider forms solutions and to provide other answers. I suggest you go to parealtor.org/coronavirus to view frequently asked questions and whatever else may be published there.

The transactions that are pending may or may not settle and much depends upon the cessation of business, including the closure of the recorder of deeds in the counties of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an order calling for the closure of the common pleas courts and all functions except those that are deemed essential. The Supreme Court’s order does not define the functions of the recorder of deeds as essential for purposes of closure. Information about the local courts can be found at http://www.pacourts.us/ujs-coronvirus-information.

Many if not most of you make your living off of sales. A sale and purchase, however, may not be the best for your client at this difficult time. Clients having to move may consider renting and those having to sell may even consider installment sales contracts if their finances permit. No real estate licensee should draft an installment sales contract and should not ever have a client commit to it without their client having consulted legal counsel. In fact, clients wondering what their options, rights and alternatives are should be directed to their legal counsel. Your expertise is the marketing of real property and no doubt you are expert at it. Don’t extend yourselves and provide information that you cannot be certain of. And today, who can be certain of anything?

There is no doubt we will get through this and life will resume with the normalcy of past months. Stay safe, be well.

Copyright © James L. Goldsmith, Esquire, 2020. All Rights Reserved