We sent the following letter to Gov. Bill Lee today from Hagan Stone, our 2020 President:
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
The Honorable Bill Lee, Governor
Tennessee State Capitol
Dear Governor Lee,
On behalf of the more than 29,000 Tennessee REALTORS®, we commend you for your leadership and the incredible diligence during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We also thank your Administration for their hard work and dedication during this unprecedented time.
The timeline of this pandemic and all the potential repercussions are unknown. In addition to health and safety concerns, our REALTOR® association is concerned about the potential impacts this will have on homeowners and other property owners who are in the process of buying and selling property, and therefore on the overall economy of Tennessee.
With the possibility of shutdowns of local and state government services to come, we respectfully request that you minimize the potential interruptions to the real estate industry by declaring real estate services as essential under the emergency powers declaration. These services include, but are not limited to, title searches, permitting, inspections, construction, and especially the transfer and recordation of ownership.
The ability to close real estate transactions includes certain requirements and deadlines. The impact, both on the lives and finances of property owners, is substantial and can be avoided if essential services are allowed to continue. There will be enough economic harm from this pandemic without adding the shutdown of real estate transactions.
Tennessee REALTORS® is working with our 20 local associations to closely monitor and assist local governments in their efforts to keep these functions proceeding. However, if shutdowns are required by Executive Order, they may not be able to do so. Thus, we implore you to include real estate services provided by the public and private sector as essential services. We also ask that all services you deem essential be exempt from additional or stricter local restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We understand this pandemic will have an impact on the real estate industry and the economy. But if we can keep the processes running as smoothly as possible, we can work together to limit the negative effects on our State and its citizens.
Again, thank you for your service to Tennessee and for your leadership during this challenging time.
2020 President, Tennessee REALTORS®
cc: Joseph Williams, Director of External Affairs, Office of Governor Bill Lee