Bipartisan effort underway to reopen Pennsylvania’s real estate industry


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Senator Scott Martin says Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that still has real estate shut down. There is a bipartisan effort to get the industry back up and running across the Commonwealth.

Martin’s legislation would require the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue a waiver to the business closure order for real estate sales and services.

Social distancing practices would still be in place, and agents would need to follow guidance from the CDC. There is also a mirroring bill in the house urging for the same changes.

“Housing is a huge deal,” said Martin. “It’s neverending and it’s key to our revenue sources to actually pay for a lot of these programs that we force people into now, now that you have 1.7 million Pennsylvanians that are out of work.”

Earlier this month, the Governor said a few real estate activities, like settlements, are allowed, but only for transactions that started before the pandemic.

A bill recently signed into law allows remote notarizations of documents, making it easier to complete real estate transactions.

Martin says the industry is a source of tax revenue, and he believes sheltering and someone’s ability to have a home is life-sustaining.

“If you were selling your house Priscilla, and you wanted to list it, you could reach out to real estate agents, start getting it listed, get some offers online or people do a virtual tour, and guess what? If your house sells, they can go to settlement,” said Martin. “They can have the appraiser, who typically works by himself, go off and do his checklist.”

Both bills still have committee processes to go through.

Martin says the fastest route would be to skip those and for the Governor to make the change himself.

Governor Tom Wolf has repeatedly said the restrictions the state has put in place are to protect Pennsylvanians from the deadly coronavirus.

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