As 48 of the nation’s states were beginning to allow the cautious practice of certain forms of in-person real estate services, Michigan REALTORS® were looking forward to their own return to working face-to-face with clients.
“It’s a delicate balance,” says Amy Taylor, the West Michigan Policy Director of Michigan REALTORS®, noting that the association’s 34,000 members understood the need for social distancing, but the complete lockdown was having an adverse effect on the state economy, its citizens, and the livelihood of many in the real estate industry. Even before the statewide Stay-at-Home order took effect on March 23, association staff and leadership had been advocating the governor’s office to keep REALTORS® working in a safe and responsible manner. When the time came, Michigan REALTORS® was ready to be part of the re-opening solution.
Behind the scenes, CEO Robert Campau and association lobbyists had been working closely with the governor’s office to determine how a return to in-person business should be structured, and crafting a comprehensive set of best practices specific to the industry.
During the first week of May, Michigan REALTORS® mobilized its membership: a call for action (CFA) generated an overwhelming response of more than 8,600 messages to the governor’s office. The intent, notes Taylor, was all positive: to create an opportunity to let members express their support for a careful re-establishment of in-person real estate practices. Although the message was a form letter, each one sent represented the will of a constituent, demonstrating professional engagement and a united voice.
Just one week after the CFA’s conclusion, Governor Whitmer was joined at a press conference by 2020 Michigan REALTOR® President Maureen Francis, and together they announced the careful re-opening of in-person real estate activity.
In her remarks, Francis thanked the governor and her team, recognizing their trust, cooperation, and thoughtful approach to putting the real estate industry back to work safely: “As we reengage with clients, it requires significant planning and forethought to help prepare for this new normal. We understand this pandemic is impacting every Michigan citizen uniquely. REALTORS® are grateful to resume work by operating intelligently, compassionately, and responsibly to best serve those clients who wish to call Michigan home.” She also spoke to the ongoing strength of Michigan’s real estate market despite the pandemic, and enumerated the list of best practices that are to serve as guidelines in addition to the general mandates of the governor’s Executive Order.
Taylor reports that although the state’s REALTORS® abided by the Stay-at-Home restrictions and embraced online operating standards in the interests of safety, shifting to virtual tours, online negotiations, and even closings, they are thrilled to be able to get back to work out in the real world. “We are lucky to have a strong positive relationship with the Governor,” she says, “and the support of the REALTOR® Party!”
To learn more about how Michigan REALTORS® are advocating for the safe and active operation of the real estate industry in uncertain times, contact Michigan REALTORS® at 517-372-8890.