The Impact of COVID-19 on Local Real Estate Practices

Yesterday, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order called “Safer at Home” in which Wisconsinites are instructed to remain at home with the intention to stop the spread of coronavirus, aka COVID-19, from 8:00 am Wednesday, March 25th until 8:00 am Friday, April 24th.

follow this link to read the full order by the Wisconsin Governor: Order #12: Safer At Home

Local businesses are to remain closed for the next 30 days, unless they’re considered an “essential service.” Thankfully real estate was declared essential, as were many businesses that support and serve our industry. However, the way we practice and participate in real estate transactions has transformed.

follow this link to see a full list of essential businesses here’s the full list of business allow to continue operations, although most with new restrictions, read the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation © 2020 article here

REALTORS® and their clients may still conduct the activities necessary to buy and sell real estate in Wisconsin during the time period covered by the order as long as they comply with the social distancing and other requirements in the order.

Michael Theo President & CEO of Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Conversely, while I and my fellow realtors are allowed to work, we are NOT required to. This is a HIGHLY contagious, and sometimes deadly, virus. We must continue to work remotely (while accessible, if necessary, we cannot work out of our office), maintain social distancing from others (6+ feet), wear PPE when going to public places, wash your hands/use hand sanitizer.

Restrictions, Options & Opportunities for

Sellers and Buyers


Real estate agents are being told by all sources (“Safer at home,” the WRA, NAR, and brokerages) to do work from home (instead of office). There are no more open houses, but virtual showings/tours are highly encouraged. When we go do out, we’re still supposed to follow ‘social distancing,’ and CDC prevention guidelines.

Be aware: some sellers are being forced to self-quarantine: you must protect yourself as well. This virus can live on surfaces, and they may not know whether or not their COVID-19 positive.


If you have a pre-approval from a lender, and have a secure job (not at risk for losing your job), continue to look online. Any new listings are likely serious sellers, whether trying to cut losses in the stock market by selling second homes, or moving). Write contracts with deadlines pushed further out. VA and even some FHA buyers (with jobs in “essential businesses”) are very secure in that they are government vs. mortgage broker backed.

Please note: President Trump did not cut mortgage interest rates to 0%, but rather treasure rates.


You can require virtual tours only. Of course, you could also pull the property off of market until the pandemic ends. We’ve been told to do virtual open houses, and to not open the open house to the public.

Please note: if you do not want to sell your home, you could look into refinancing your home loan given the recent cut in interest rates (not mortgage rates). ** I have heard from a couple folks that it took longer than normal to hear back from their lender, the refinancing process may take some time. If you decide to refinance, lock in your rate.

Under Contract

If you’re currently under contract, expect delays from loan processors, home inspectors, loan appraisers, and even the title company (due to register of deeds closing). Lenders are still up and running, just working from home, writing pre-approvals using today’s interest rate (I’d give you that % but I am not a lender – regulation Z), however, market instability causes mortgage rates to constantly change, plus they’re overwhelmed with the sheer volume of people re-financing their existing home.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy weekend. Have a great Weekend in Wisco! ❤ , Annie Z.

PHONE 262.348.3253   |   262.215.1982

During this time of pandemic panic, it is crucial to stay properly informed. THE source of accurate information, prevention and treatment of the corona virus can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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