Are real estate appraisers "essential services" during virus crisis?

by Steve Randall27 Mar 2020

Five organizations representing professional real estate appraisers in the United States have asked mayors and governors to allow them to keep working during the current coronavirus pandemic.

With many businesses and individual workers facing ‘stay at home’ orders due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the associations want their members to be designated as providing “essential services” which are exempt from the orders.

The Appraisal Institute, the National Association of Realtors, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers believe their will be unintended consequences if their members cannot operate.

"We respectfully request that state and local governments minimize the potential interruptions to the real estate markets, and more specifically interruptions to the provision of appraisal services, by declaring real estate services as 'essential services' under any emergency powers declaration,” they urged in a letter to the National Governors Association, the National Association of Counties, the US Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities.

While the organizations acknowledge the importance of keeping people safe and well as the virus spreads, they say that protecting the “infrastructure that supports and protects us all” is also important.

"Appraisers are performing critical and timely services for real estate-related transactions, many of which will continue to take place during this crisis, and that will help to keep the economy functioning," the letter states.

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