The Pennsylvania Department of State has issued new guidelines for real estate transactions initiated on or before March 5, 2020.  Under the new guidelines, a real estate transaction for the sale of an existing home may proceed with in-person inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs and title insurance activities if the home was under a signed contract as of March 5, 2020.  For new construction, the same in-person activities are permitted if a contract entered on or before March 5, 2020, provides for closing and delivery of the home to the purchaser on or after March 6, 2020.  The new guidelines reiterate that all remote real estate business is permissible, including virtual or telework operation for desktop appraisals and any appraisal that does not require entrance into a physical location.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, all in-person real estate activities listed above are subject to certain limitations and restrictions.  Under the new guidelines, permitted in-person inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs and title insurance activities must be arranged by appointment and are limited to no more than two people on-site at any one time.  Further, all State mandated social distancing guidelines must be followed in connection with any in-person activity.

With respect to residential real estate contracts entered into on or after March 6, 2020, all in-person inspections, appraisals, final walk-throughs, and title insurance activities are prohibited until the Governor’s Office lifts the Emergency Disaster Declaration.

While the new guidelines expand the scope of in-person activities that may occur in connection with pre-existing real estate transactions (i.e., those contracted on or before March 5, 2020), they do not alter existing residential construction guidelines.  Residential construction is still limited to activities necessary to stabilize the site, temporarily prevent weather damage, or make emergency repairs.  In line with existing guidelines, residential construction projects that have been issued a final occupancy permit may continue such construction as may be necessary to complete delivery of the new home to the purchaser.

Please feel free to contact any member of the McNees Wallace & Nurick Real Estate Group if you need assistance with a real estate transaction or have any questions regarding this post.