As of the afternoon of April 1, 2020, Governor DeSantis just released a statewide order effective tomorrow (Thursday, April 2, 2020) at midnight. I am delighted to report that Residential and Commercial Real Estate Services, including settlement services, are considered essential in the Governor’s Executive Order.

As we anticipated this statewide order, your Leadership Team has worked around the clock with the Management team to ensure this outcome. I am so incredibly proud to serve as your Florida Realtor President.

An all membership message is going out shortly and we want to ensure members understand, although they may continue to operate, they are not required to stay open. Their health and safety is our first priority and anyone who continues to work to provide this essential service in providing shelter to our citizens must abide by the CDC guidelines to protect themselves and their customers and clients. Tragically, we lost our first Realtor to this horrible virus and are aware of several more who are infected. Easy to follow prevention steps may be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

As we continue to walk through these unprecedented times, we need to remember that we are all in this together. Florida Realtors has built a Covid-19 Resource center that is updated daily https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2020/03/latest-information-coronavirus-realtors-florida. We will continue to keep you updated.

Stay safe, stay healthy and I pray that I will see all of you soon.     Barry Grooms, MRP, President , Florida Realtors®, Direct: 850.443.1942

3/31/20 - NAR UPDATE - Treasury Releases SBA 7(a) Paycheck Prot'n Program loan application; Applications open 4/3 and 4/10

Good afternoon:  Today, the Treasury Department released the application for the SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which you can access here.  [If that link is not working, please check back - there seems to be a technical issue at the moment.]  It also released a summary guide of the program for borrowers, here.

Small businesses and sole proprietors can apply beginning this Friday, April 3; independent contractors and the self-employed can apply beginning next Friday, April 10.  Applications go directly to SBA lenders, which you can find through the SBA site here.

This is a new program created by the CARES Act to provide small businesses (500 employees or fewer), sole proprietors, and the self-employed/independent contracts who are impacted by COVID-19 with loans of 2.5x their average monthly payroll expenses (up to $10 million) to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities for an 8-week period during the crisis.  Employers who maintain payroll levels of at least 75% of their average and the same number of employees are eligible for loan forgiveness.  You can learn more about the loan program in NAR's CARES Act FAQ document and the CARES Act Summary.

There are still some questions as to if a small business should include independent contractors in its employee numbers and payroll costs; what we know for certain is that independent contractors can apply for their own 7(a) PPP loans.  We are seeking clarity on that question from the Treasury and the SBA and will have the answer soon.

NAR will be posting a SBA-Program specific FAQ focusing on the 7(a) PPP loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which you can apply for here.  (Businesses can apply for both, but the funds cannot be used for the same purposes, and the $10,000 advance grant is not forgiven if you also receive a forgivable PPP loan.)

Please stay tuned for more information and resources! Joseph M. Ventrone
Vice President, Federal Policy and Industry Relations | Advocacy Group



Orange County has enacted a mandatory “stay home” order which will require us to temporarily close the physical headquarters in Orlando. Please be advised we anticipated this and therefore planned accordingly. 100% of our Orlando staff are prepped and trained to work from home. We actually moved the call centers for both legal and tech to a work from home status over a week ago in the event this occurred. Form Simplicity is able to function with staff oversight offsite as well.

The remainder of staff moved to work from home status yesterday thanks to internet phone service, call forwarding and an incredibly talented Technology Service Team who spent countless hours equipping all employees with the tools to work remotely without fear of spyware or other problems impacting our efforts. If, or when, Leon County follows our Tallahassee Team is equally as ready.

All “stay at home” orders in place currently are similar and our local boards are advocating to ensure that they include that real estate is an essential service and real estate related business will remain open statewide. The Orange County Order is under review but we believe all orders adopted will allow real estate business to continue. We will keep you updated. We wish everyone health and safety in the coming weeks,

Margy Grant, CAE RCE - CEO - Florida Realtors®

3/20/20 - Small Business Bridge Loans: SBA Updates Criteria on States for Requesting Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

WASHINGTON – As part of the Trump Administration’s aggressive, whole-of-government efforts to combat the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s 30 million small businesses, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.

FGCAR EDUCATION AND LUNCHEONS:   Suspended for 90 days


PITCH SESSIONS:  Watch for emails regarding new virtual pitch sessions - emails are coming from Pitch Session hosts inviting members to join the ZOOM virtual sessions.  Watch for your invite.