GAR COVID-19 Special Stipulation Update

It has been a month since the Georgia REALTORS®’s Forms Committee met, drafted and approved of the COVID-19 Special Stipulation. In the last month, we have received several inquiries to our COVID-19@garealtor.com email regarding the special stipulation and whether the loss of financing by either party to a transaction constitutes a COVID-19 Related Event (“CRE”)*. Due to all of the inquiries, the Forms Committee determined that it was prudent to release an update to the Special Stipulation as follows to clarify the intent of the Forms Committee:

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained herein, in the event the Closing cannot occur when scheduled due to a COVID-19 related event (“CRE”) resulting in the closing attorney, the mortgage lender and/or the Buyer and/or Seller being unable to perform their respective obligations, then the Closing shall be postponed until 7 days after the specific event delaying the Closing has been resolved. If the Buyer or Seller is unable to perform due to a CRE, the affected party shall promptly notify the other party both of the CRE and of its resolution.

Buyer or Seller having concerns about attending the Closing or self-quarantining (in the absence of a quarantine or government ordered lockdown that specifically applies to Buyer and/or Seller) shall not excuse Buyer or Seller from attending the Closing either in-person, virtually or through a power of attorney. Buyer or Seller presently having COVID-19 shall excuse Buyer and/or Seller from attending the Closing until the party is no longer at risk of infecting others. However, in all situations where Buyer and/or Seller cannot attend the Closing, Buyer and or Seller shall use their best efforts to fulfill their contractual obligations through a power of attorney. Buyer or Seller experiencing a job loss, reduction in salary or other financial hardship shall not be deemed a CRE.

If the CRE causing a permitted delay results in the Closing being delayed by more than _____ days from the original Closing date, then either Buyer or Seller may terminate this Agreement without penalty upon notice to the other party.

*For use in commercial real estate transactions where CRE has already been defined in your agreement, please consider writing out “COVID-19 Related Event” throughout the special stipulation.

Please click here for the clean copy of the updated COVID-19 Special Stipulation. (PDF)

What Does This Mean?
For agents representing buyers who are concerned about their ability to obtain financing due to COVID-19, they are encouraged to have the difficult conversation with the buyer to determine if now is the right time to try to purchase a home. Additionally, for those buyers who do need to move forward, they should consider a longer financing contingency to protect their earnest money.

As previously mentioned, this additional language clarifies the Forms Committee’s original intent; it does not reflect a change in the Forms Committee’s position. The use of this special stipulation is completely optional. Although this is language released by Georgia REALTORS®, you are welcome to modify it (with your broker’s guidance and approval) as you see fit for your transactions. Should you have questions as to whether or not you should use this special stipulation in your contracts moving forward, please speak with your broker.