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Posted by GCAR on March 13, 2020
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At the state level, NYSAR is working with the Governor’s Office on relief for REALTORS®

NYSAR’s government affairs division has been in constant contact with the Governor’s Office and has submitted letters to the Empire State Development Council with the following two requests:

  1. Certain licensed activities by real estate licensees be considered essential.
  2. Provision of clarity on the continuation of the real estate closing process during the shelter-in-place period.

Click here to read more.

The check is almost in the mail for independent contractors

Wednesday night the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 economic relief package with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The bill now goes to the U.S. House, where it is expected to pass, and President Trump has said he will sign it into law.

The measure includes $350 billion for the Small Business Administration 7(a) loan program. Under the terms, eligible businesses (500 employees or fewer) can get up to $10 million toward mortgage interest, rents, utilities, and payroll costs. A portion of these loans will be forgivable.

“We worked with the drafters of this legislation to ensure that independent contractors and those living on a commission-based income will be eligible for the loans as well as the forgiveness provision,” said Shannon McGahn, senior vice president of government affairs for NAR.

The self-employed and independent contractors are also included in a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance that could provide benefits for up to 39 weeks. These workers are not usually covered under traditional state unemployment benefit programs.

In addition, the bill contains:

  • A delay in payment of employer payroll taxes, with half due by the end of 2021 and the other half due by the end of 2022;
  • $500 billion to support large businesses like airlines affected by the virus
  • A one-time payment of $1,200 to most adult Americans and $500 per child

Click here for more information on NAR’s advocacy efforts on COVID-19.

Remote electronic notarizations approved by Governor Cuomo 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing for documents to be notarized virtually using audio-video technology, which those in the real estate industry say is a necessary step to keep business moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the executive order, Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency, any “notarial act that is required under New York State law” is allowed to be performed using audio-video technology if the person seeking the notary’s services, if not personally known to the notary, presents valid photo ID to the notary during the video conference.

For more information and process requirements, contact your firm’s notary.

Get Ready for Your Close Up

Though listing presentations, showings, and other in-person real estate activities may not be conducted, a great deal can be accomplished with a camera. If you need assistance on conducting the client contact portion of your business remotely there are a variety of tools. You might start with a quick review of the two below that many Global MLS members are using.

Facebook Live – Use this in addition to a virtual tour. Remember videos that are too long will not be fully viewed. Click here to learn more.

How to work with Homesnap Stories – The ‘Add Story’ button will appear in the upper-left-hand corner when a listing agent is viewing their own listing. People will then be able to view the story when looking at a listing for which a Homesnap story has been created. Click here to learn more.

If you would like more specifics on using Homesnap, visit Homesnap University to sign up for one of their upcoming webinars.

NYSAR has issued some FAQs that may answer any additional questions you may have.

Click here to view NYSAR’s COVID-19 FAQ’s


Not working or working out today? 

Some GCAR members are getting their fresh air and exercise while delivering Meals on Wheels and other local organizations delivering care packages to the elderly and others who cannot travel to a grocery store.

Click here for the meals on wheels volunteer application.

Important Update from your 2020 NYSAR Leadership Team Regarding Real Estate Activities During the COVID-19 State of Emergency

As of 8:00 pm tonight, March 22, an Executive Order (EO) by Governor Andrew Cuomo effectively restricts real estate licensees from working outside of their homes. Real estate brokerage and many other businesses were not designated as essential by the Governor in the EO.

It has been widely reported that New York State is the most COVID-19 impacted state in the nation. Your NYSAR Leadership Team thanks you for strictly adhering to the difficult but necessary restrictions to our normal business activities. We are practicing REALTORS® just like you and completely understand the impact of this situation.

The EO means that until further notice real estate licensees are precluded from holding open houses, showings and in-person listing presentations for example. You are not precluded from most work that you can accomplish from your home.

One typical activity for licensees that you cannot do, even from home, is cold calling when a state of emergency is in effect such as it is now. Specifically, brokerages and their associated licensees are prohibited from making unsolicited telephone calls to consumers during the current State of Emergency until at least September 7, 2020. Any brokerage or licensee making such calls should immediately cease all such activity.

The EO is unclear about activities related to real estate closings scheduled for March 23 and until further notice. NYSAR is actively working with our industry partners and state officials to get guidance. NYSAR will send updates as information becomes available.

We believe that if closings are deemed essential and able to proceed, licensees should not attend closings unless their presence is essential to the successful completion of the transaction. One of the matters for which we are seeking clarification is a licensees’ ability to participate in a final walk-through and any restrictions that might apply if the walkthroughs are allowed.

NYSAR is working with your local board to keep them updated and to receive from them information on your local situation. We have scheduled a weekly conference call for information exchange.

Please rest assured that NYSAR will continue to do everything it can to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 related business interruption.

NYS is on PAUSE: All Non-Essential Personnel Should Stay Home

GCAR is advising you to follow Governor Cuomo’s executive order mandating that all non-essential personnel are to work from home.

Governor Cuomo will sign an Executive Order mandating that 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks, and related financial institutions.

Learn more here

 Office Closure
The GCAR and Global MLS offices are closed for the time being. Please refrain from faxing documents to the office. The fax machine is not being monitored at this time. If you need to reach a specific staff member, call the main number 518-464-0191 and your call will be directed to the correct person, staff cannot be reached at their direct lines at this time.  All staff emails can be found at www.gcar.com/staff-directory.

GCAR Education
All in-person education classes at GCAR have been canceled through April. We are working with our online education partner, The CE Shop, to offer a 40% discount for online education to our members through April 15th, with the possibility of this time frame being extended. If your license is expiring soon and you need to take a class, use promo code SUPPORT40 at checkout to receive the 40% discount.

Continuing Education and License Renewal
Current law provides for hardship extension waivers when licensees are unable to complete their continuing education requirements for license renewal. We are happy to report that the NYS Department of State (DOS) will grant six (6) month waivers to students who are unable to complete their education due to the state of emergency.

Licensees requiring a waiver must provide evidence of a bona fide hardship precluding completion of the continuing education requirements prior to the time the renewal application is to be filed. A licensee seeking such a waiver shall go through the renewal process using eAccessNY. When filling out the renewal application, the licensee would indicate that they did not complete the required continuing education. Choose the option to upload documents and provide: 1) all documentation demonstrating such hardship and 2) a written request for such a waiver. The DOS will notify you if the waiver was granted.

The DOS is now working on a notification that will be posted on their website and sent via email. Please look for the notification from DOS and further updates from NYSAR.

NYSAR Develops COVID-19 Addendum

The addendum can be found in MLS documents on Paragon.

NYSAR has developed the “COVID-19 ADDENDUM TO RESIDENTIAL PURCHASE CONTRACT.” The addendum is an agreement between the seller and purchaser to permit certain extensions and the rights of the parties to cancel the contract in the event COVID-19 related issues make it impossible or improbable to close. In the addendum, the seller and purchaser agree that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is impacting real estate transactions, transaction-related service providers and consumers. There is a possibility that transaction-related service providers such as lenders, title/abstract companies, appraisers, home inspectors, and attorneys may be providing limited or no services as a result of COVID-19 issues. COVID-19 issues may include, but are not limited to: emergencies declared by the government, travel restrictions, mandatory closures or reduction of staff at transaction-related service providers, quarantine, exposure to or contraction of COVID-19.

To All Members enrolled in GCAR’s Capital District Physicians Health Program (CDPHP) health benefits
In an effort to keep you informed and safe we will be forwarding you anything we receive from our health insurance carrier that will help you stay informed and safe during this very stressful time. If you have any questions please contact our benefits account manager, Cindy Insero, at The Reis Group, at 518-407-2570 Direct or 5182797404 Ext. 665.

Impact of H.R. 6201 “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” on NAR Members 
Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) providing support to American workers, families, and businesses, including the expansion of paid sick leave and family medical leave.  It also includes refundable tax credits for small businesses and self-employed individuals to cover the cost of the leave.

Coronavirus: A Guide for Realtors®
In response to questions from members about the coronavirus outbreak, NAR has released guidance for REALTORS® to help in your day-to-day business, including how to approach open houses, driving clients in your car, and precautions you can take.
Please read the guidance here: https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus-a-guide-for-realtors. Be informed and stay safe!
  • GCAR Office Status

    Open by appointment only

  • Cancelations

    • In-person education classes at GCAR have been canceled until further notice.