KIRKLAND, Washington (March 17, 2020) – On Sunday (March 15), Governor Jay Inslee signed an emergency declaration temporarily shutting down bars, restaurants and places of entertainment and recreation statewide, and capping all public gatherings at 50 people. King County officials have taken similar action and have also prohibited gatherings with fewer than 50 people unless specific criteria for hygiene and social distancing are met.
As the news and impact of COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, Northwest Multiple Listing Service (“NWMLS”) made the difficult decision to temporarily disable the public and broker open house features in its MLS system. NWMLS’s decision is strongly supported by the Governor’s office.
Until at least March 31, brokers will not be able to input, search, or view public or broker open house information in the MLS system. Open house information will not be available for display on member real estate broker public websites.
The real estate market in Washington remains strong. Many brokers are conducting virtual showings for clients and hosting virtual open houses for potential buyers. In addition to property photos, many listings have virtual tours where potential buyers can view videos and even remotely “walk-through” the property. Brokers are also continuing to conduct in-person showings, while remaining cognizant of social distancing recommendations.
In addition, NWMLS provides many tools to its member real estate brokers to allow them to continue to conduct business and service their clients during these challenging times. These services include: software to allow property owners and brokers to manage and schedule showings to limit the number of people in the property at any one time; online forms, transaction management, and electronic signatures to allow brokers and clients to complete and sign contracts remotely; and mobile applications and similar tools to allow brokers to keep their clients up to date on new listings, price changes, and other property information.
NWMLS will continue to look for ways to support its member real estate brokers, while at the same time, continue to follow and encourage others to follow the guidelines from public health officials.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a not-for-profit, member-owned organization that facilitates cooperation among its member real estate firms. With more than 2,300 member firm offices and 30,000 brokers across Washington state, NWMLS (www.nwmls.com) is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. While based in Kirkland, Washington, its service area spans 23 counties and it operates 20 local service centers.