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As federal, state and local authorities continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to understand what activities are allowed. In an executive order issued April 1, Governor DeSantis declared real estate to be an essential Florida business, so agents and parties seeking to complete a property transaction are free do to so. However, no one is required to engage in face-to-face meetings if they feel safer using a different method to communicate.

Businesses that provide residential and commercial real estate services within the state must follow the coronavirus safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. If you’re engaged in a property deal already or are looking to buy or sell, here is information that could be useful:

  • Closings using Remote Online Notarization — Florida now allows for remote online notarization, so signers and notaries no longer have to be in the same room to execute valid documents. If you’re interested in completing your real estate closing while avoiding the potential for coronavirus exposure, it’s worth it to see if your notary is properly trained in this new procedure and if the other parties agree finalize the transaction remotely.
    Storey Law is certified to administer Remote Online Notarization.  If you or your clients have a pending closing, or feel this service could benefit your business moving forward, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
  • Proof that you’re involved in an “essential” activity — Some parties and professionals involved in real estate transactions might be concerned about an overzealous officer seeking proof that they’re actually gathering or traveling for an essential activity. Though there’s no legal requirement that someone carry identification, anyone associated with a property deal should have relevant documentation at hand in case they’re challenged.
  • Government employees performing property-related jobs — Completing the sale of a real estate parcel requires searching public records and recording documents and information with government authorities. Accordingly, staffers in government offices dealing with title, notary and recording matters related to real estate and mortgage transactions are considered essential.

The legal ability to develop and finalize the deal is only one aspect of a real estate transaction. Whether you’re talking about a home, office, retail establishment or industrial property, COVID-19 likely will have some effect on the economics or logistics of the deal. Working with a skillful real estate attorney will help you understand the practical aspects of completing a purchase or sale during this complicated time. You can also rely on your lawyer to provide insight regarding what might lie ahead.

Located in Orlando, Storey Law Group advises clients throughout Central Florida on various residential and commercial real estate matters. Please call 800-229-9045 or contact us online to discuss your concerns, whether related to COVID-19 restrictions or anything else.